Fall is fast approaching, which means garlic season will soon be starting again. From October 1 to November 15, garlic would have great conditions to thrive in our garden and soil pots, as these months are the chilly season for the state of Massachusetts, a perfect period for growing cool-weather vegetables.
Soon enough, these bulbs would be perfect for our summer harvests! If you want to learn more about when to plant garlic in Massachusetts, read below.
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Best Time to Plant Garlic in Massachusetts
1. Plant in the fall
Autumn is the ideal planting season for garlic because of the chilly weather that begins to occur during this time. In Massachusetts, the temperature goes from 68°F down to 35°F during the fall, which is the perfect time to grow them.
Planting garlic during this season will satisfy their growing requirement of getting exposed to cold winter temperatures of 40˚F for around eight weeks.
And growing them this early will encourage them to establish a robust root system before the ground freezes, which will help them survive winter.
Once the temperature gradually rises in the spring, these cloves will soon emerge, develop to become mature plants, and soon produce their bulbs for harvesting.
When reaping time comes, ensure to harvest garlic by July, as picking them at the improper time will affect the bulb form and size. One indication to know that they are ready for harvesting is when part of their foliage starts to turn brown.
2. Plant in October through November
The first freeze is the best sign to know when to sow your garlic plant. However, the ideal planting dates for Massachusetts will depend on where you live, as frost dates will differ across various areas.
In general, the best months to plant them in the state are in October and November. However, regarding your specific growing time, sow cloves right after the first hard frost (when temperatures dip below 28 degrees F).
For example, if you live in Boston, you can experience your first hard freeze around October 21. Therefore, you can grow your garlic on October 22.
Take note not to plant garlic too soon, as their foliage will quickly grow before winter. When this happens, they will not survive the cold. So, the best way to avoid this situation is to sow cloves just before the ground freezes.
Garlic Planting Guide for Massachusetts
After knowing the garlic planting time frame, the next step is to sow them. Here’s a guide you can follow to properly plant garlic cloves:
- Loosen the soil to ensure that bulbs will emerge well.
- Create rows with 18 inches of distance between them.
- Sow each clove at least 2 inches deep into the ground. Ensure their tips are facing upward and that there’s a distance of around 6 inches between each clove pair.
- Cover them with soil and give adequate water to keep them moist.
- When planting garlic in Massachusetts, ensure to surround the soil with six inches of mulch once the temperature drops to help them survive frost, especially since the state has very cold winters.
Best Garlic Varieties for Massachusetts Climate
For those who live in the Northeastern region, which includes Massachusetts, hardneck garlic types will thrive best because they grow well in colder climates that meet their requirement for winter temperatures.
Meanwhile, softneck garlic (though cultivable) is not the best garlic for planting in MA because it prefers mild temperatures and doesn’t require the long freezing process.
One of the best hardneck garlic to plant is the German Extra Hardy. It adapts well to cold climates, which are common in Massachusetts. But the great thing about this variety is it produces massive bulbs with up to 8 cloves.
The Russian Red variety is also a fine choice. True to its name, it has a pure red color and produces large bulbs that have a strong flavor. It naturally grows well in MA, since it is hardy to chilly temperatures.
Other varieties you can grow are Montana Giant, New York White, and Silverskin.
Tips for Successful Garlic Planting in Massachusetts
There are several garlic growing conditions that we must meet to ensure that these bulbs will grow healthy when we plant them. Here are some garlic planting tips you can refer to:
- The soil requirements for garlic plants include acidic soil. So, plant them in a ground with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0.
- Use well-draining soil with an inch of compost to save garlic bulbs from rotting.
- Consider using a balanced fertilizer in spring.
- Water garlic often if their planting bed is not loamy and drains fast. Note that the usual rate is an inch of water per week.
- Keep your bulbs dry two weeks before harvesting time to protect them from diseases.
Now that you know that hardneck varieties are the ones that thrive the most in the chilly climates of Massachusetts, planting them in the fall, around October to November, will help them grow successfully and undergo the vernalization process they need.
And to develop fine bulbs, plant them in acidic soil with good drainage. Feed them with fertilizer in spring, which they prefer.
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