Joel In The Garden

Time to plant garlic

Time to plant garlic

Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays

EUGENE, Ore. — Not all garden veggies need heat and sun to grow.

Fall is an ideal time to plant both onions and garlic.

At the end of the season, I've got my garden plot mostly cleaned out.

And before I lay down a layer of mulch, I'm saving room for some garlic and onions, which both need a few cold months to get started.

“Onions generally don't have to be in the ground as long,” Adam Cole said. Cole is a purchaser at Down to Earth in Eugene. “You can plant onions now for late spring harvest or you could plant onions in the spring for a mid-summer harvest.”

Cole said so far, October has made for a good planting month - if you can find the garlic. Gardeners have bought up most of the supply, leaving places like Down to Earth with just a few varieties remaining. 
“We had a lot of people come in early this year. We had the garlic ready earlier this year,” Cole said.

Garlic comes in two varieties, soft-neck and hard-neck.

“The hardnecks have to be planted now,” Cole said. “They generally don't last until the spring planting time.”

A softneck is what you'd find in the grocery store.

Elephant garlic, which is a hardneck, is a garlic in name only.

“Elephant garlic is a leek masquerading as a garlic,” Cole said. “It's not technically a garlic, though it does have some similar flavor components and it looks like a giant garlic.”

That can also be planted right now. Cole says garlic, onions and shallots prefer loose soil mixed with compost that gives them room to expand.

“For garlic, we like to recommend a little bit of gypsum. It supplies calcium and sulfur. Sulfur tends to make slightly more pungent garlic,” Cole said.

A few steps that'll give you a head start on next spring. Once you've got your bulbs in the ground, Cole says you can cover them with newspaper and a few inches of straw. He says that'll keep the weeds away, and the newspaper will break down by the time the plants begin to sprout.