It’s hard to believe it, but it’s time for planting fall garlic and onions!
Both garlic and onions are perfect crops to plant in the early fall for a great harvest next June. Planting now allows a good 4 to 6 weeks for each to become established before the chill of winter. The plants then go dormant, and come back with a fury of growth in the early spring.
Before you know it, you will be harvesting an incredible crop early next summer. And both store well – so they can last the whole year around.
We simply love garlic! From making our homemade oven roasted artisan garlic bread, (see Garlic Artisan recipe) to creating our homemade pasta sauce, (see Grandma’s Pasta recipe) we use garlic almost everyday in the kitchen.
We even use it the garden as well! Our homemade garlic and hot pepper spray is an excellent all-natural control against a whole slew of garden pests.
And onions? Well they find their way into everything at our house as well! From homemade picante and salsa, to salads, soups and more!
We have been planting fall garlic and onions in our Raised Row Garden for the past 7 years. Over that time, we have found that just a few simple tips can really be the key to a great crop and harvest every single year. In honor of our own garlic and onion crops going into the ground this past week, we thought we would share 4 of those tips today.
4 Simple Tips For Planting Fall Garlic and Onions
Plant Closer Than You Think
Both garlic and onions are planted in rows, but they can be grouped closer than you might think. In our 18″ wide raised rows, we plant both crops 3-wide down each row. We space each bulb about 4 inches apart, and each row about 4 inches apart.
This closeness not only helps conserve space, but also helps to keep weeding and maintenance to a minimum. In a single 20′ long bed, we can grow close to 80 head of garlic or onions.
For our garlic, we plant each seed 3″ deep, while the onions go in at 2 inches. And remember when planting – always plant with the pointy tip of the bulb facing up.
Add Compost Before Planting!
Both garlic and onions need good fertile soil to grow to their maximum size. Before planting, add in a generous amount of compost to the bottom of each planting furrow.
We first dig our furrow, and then add about an inch of compost into the bottom of the trench. Then we plant the bulbs down into the layer of compost. This allows the seed to be surrounded by life-giving nutrients as it sprouts and grows. The compost also helps to keep moisture around the bulb, which is critical to its early growth.
Soak Before Planting
One of the best things you can do to get your onion and garlic crops off to a great start is to soak them before planting. Soaking allows the bulbs to absorb moisture before heading into the ground. Without moisture, bulbs simply won’t sprout.
No need to soak overnight, simply out your bulbs in a bucket of water for 2 to 3 hours right before planting. This simple task can speed up sprout times by a week or more.
Mulch! First Light – Then Heavy
Proper mulch is a huge key to the success of any overwintering crop.
After planting, layer on a thin 1″ mulching of straw on top of your crop. This light mulch will help conserve the soil moisture, and help to keep any weed seeds from finding their way into bare soil.
Once crops have emerged from the ground in late fall, and before the frigid cold of winter, apply an additional 3 to 5 inches of mulch on top of your beds and around the sprouting plants. This will help to protect each of the crops from the harsh winter temperatures and winds.
All that is left now is to wait! Once spring arrives, simply add a bit of fresh mulch to top of the rows, and get ready for a great early summer harvest!
Here’s to growing your own incredible crop of garlic and onions! – Jim and Mary. If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, you can sign up via email at the very bottom of this post. You can also like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to receive all of our latest tips and articles. This article may contain affiliate links.