Few vegetables are as universally loved as garlic. From aioli and sauces to risottos and bruschetta, it’s hard to deny the flavors and complexity garlic brings to our dishes.
If you live in Colorado and want to grow this crop for cooking, you’re in luck. The state’s colder climate suits the vernalization requirement of garlic, allowing it to enter dormancy in winter before resuming growth in spring.
So, when to plant garlic in Colorado? It’s best to sow this bulb in the fall during September and October. Usually, October 14 is the last optimal date for planting.
When to Grow Garlic in Colorado
Now that you know the garlic growing season, narrow down your seeding dates with these tips:
- To start with, the best time for planting garlic in Colorado is four to eight weeks before the first frost.
As you mark your calendar, note that September is the latest month for buying bulbs, though it’s ideal to finish your ordering by June or July to enjoy a wider crop selection.
If you don’t do this and wait too long before purchasing, seed companies may have sold out their entire stock already, and you will have to wait until next year to start planting.
- In addition, ensure that the soil temperature is 32 to 50℉ from the time of sowing until the first frost.
This range facilitates root development and allows the garlic to enter dormancy with enough bulb growth. If this requirement is not met, you can end up with fewer, smaller, or cracked cloves come harvest.
With that out of the way, here’s an example to help you calculate the planting dates.
- Denver, Colorado, has its first frost on October 6.
- Count backward four to eight weeks from this date, and we get August 11 to September 8 as the time for growing garlic in Colorado.
- Wherever you live, simply look up the first frost and do the same calculation.
Read more: The best time to grow garlic in other US states such as New York or Pennsylvania.
Best Garlic to Grow in Colorado
There are two types of garlic: hardneck and softneck.
You may have heard of elephant garlic as well, but despite the name, it’s actually a type of leek and doesn’t possess the same flavor as actual garlic. So, plant elephant garlic only if you want something less pungent but still herbaceous. This type of vegetable will taste nice in roasts, salads, and purees, making them quite versatile.
As for hardneck and softneck garlic, the former will grow better in Colorado, since they’re more cold-tolerant. These are also the varieties to go for if you want something different from supermarket offerings, which tend to be softneck bulbs.
Now that we’ve gone over the classification, here are the best garlic cultivars for Colorado:
- Hardneck garlic for planting – Spanish Roja, Bogatyr, Creole Red, Purple Glazer, Killarney Red, Persian Star, Romanian Red, Polish Hardneck, Chesnok Red
- Softneck garlic for planting – Chilean Silver, Sicilian Artichoke, Italian Late, Polish White, Silver White, Inchelium Red, Kettle River Giant, Sicilian Silver, Early Red Italian
What happens if you plant garlic in the spring in Colorado?
It’s possible to plant garlic in the spring. However, spring temperatures are too warm to facilitate vernalization. As a result, the garlic will not form multiple cloves, and you’ll end up with fewer bulbs to cook with.
The only way to avoid this problem is to refrigerate the garlic bulbs for four to eight weeks prior to planting them. During this period, a temperature of 40 to 50℉ will trick the garlic into thinking it’s winter.
Once the ground warms up and frost disappears, you can remove the stratified bulbs from the fridge and sow them outdoors.
How deep to plant garlic in Colorado?
We recommend planting garlic at a depth of three to four inches for in-ground plants. For those who grow garlic in pots, a seeding depth of two to three inches in six-inch-deep containers will do.
While you’re at it, make sure to space the cloves six inches apart, whether they’re in pots or in the ground. Note that the bulbs’ pointed ends should be facing upward as well.
When to harvest garlic in Colorado?
In Colorado, garlic is often harvestable in the summer, around July. If you see a large swath of brown foliage on the plant (or the bottom three or four leaves have died), that indicates garlic is ready for digging.
It’s crucial to know when to plant garlic in Colorado. All things considered, timely seeding will not only protect your bulbs from harsh winter temperatures but also enable them to produce bigger, healthier cloves.
Still, regardless of when you grow them, remember to satisfy garlic sun requirements and soil demands. Give your plants eight hours of sunshine per day and light, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.