Halloween is time to start thinking about garlic—and not just as vampire repellent. Planting garlic in early November ensures strong root development before the first freeze. Hardneck garlics have large, easily peeled cloves, and edible scapes (the curlicue flower stems that appear in farmers markets come June). Milder softneck garlics store well. Both types demand little more than rich soil, good drainage, consistent water, and a sunny spot. Don’t plant cloves bought at the grocery store—some commercial producers spray bulbs with growth suppressant to discourage green sprouts. Buy heads at a nursery, and choose from a dozen culinary varieties, such as Early Italian Red, Spanish Rojo, or Thai Purple. Break cloves apart just before planting; place the larger cloves three to four inches apart with tips up; cover with one to two inches of soil; water. Harvest by mid-July.
Find more monthly gardening tips by visiting Kate’s Plantwise blog.