The rush is on to get all the gardening chores done. But remember you should plant some garlic.
It's not too late. Garlic planted now will stay dormant all winter, grow up at the first sign of warmth in spring and be ready to harvest in summer.
If you've never grown garlic before, it's a snap. But there are some considerations to be successful. First, purchase garlic varieties adapted to our climate. The garlic in grocery stores tends to be varieties from California that won't grow well here. Choose hard neck varieties, such as 'Russian Red', that produce those curly-cue tops called scapes, or soft neck varieties that are used for making garlic braids, such as 'New York White'.
Create a small raised bed area for garlic planting when cleaning up your veggie garden. Amend the soil with compost. Raised beds are perfect for garlic because the soil is well-drained. Avoid poorly drained, heavy clay soils where the cloves will sit in cold water and rot in winter.
The evening before planting, break apart the garlic bulbs into individual cloves and let them sit in a bowl overnight. This will initiate stronger roots to form. Select out the largest cloves to plant and eat the smallest cloves. The bigger the clove you plant, the bigger the garlic bulb next year.
Plant cloves 6 inches apart, a few inches deep. Cover with chopped leaves, hay or straw and leave all winter. In spring once you see signs of new shoots, remove the mulch, water, fertilize and keep weeded. By early July you should be harvesting fresh garlic to eat.