When is the best time to plant garlic in the home garden? The answer is, "it depends".
In the USA and Europe, garlic can be planted either in the early spring
or late fall / early winter.
Poor weather conditions often mean that spring planted garlic
produces smaller bulbs. In addition the seed garlic must be chilled before
planting in order to cause it to break out of its dormancy. That said,
spring garlic planting can produce good results in the warmer Southern
areas where it is often planted in late February or March. It also
removes any possibility of the plant being damaged by the winter
Autumn / Fall Planting
In more Northerly areas it more common to plant garlic towards the end of
the year. In Europe there is a tradition of planting garlic on the
shortest day of the year, however this is probably more for symbolic
reasons than horticultural ones.
The usual advice to gardeners is to plant fall garlic soon after the first major
frost of the year, usually between mid-October and late November
depending on your local climate. Garlic is generally winter hardy,
however can be damaged if the temperatures are very cold and the
snow cover thin. If this is the case, cover the garlic with straw
to protect it.
If all is well then the shoots of fall planted garlic should emerge from the ground in
early spring. If not then you still have the opportunity to
plant a spring crop.