Garlic has many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and boosting our immune system. As an ingredient, it also enhances the flavor of many dishes, whether we sauté, bake, roast, or eat it raw.
If you live in PA and want some home-grown garlic cloves for cooking, it’s necessary to know when to plant garlic in Pennsylvania. Generally, the best time for this task is from early October to around Columbus Day, though you can go for late October as well.
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When to Grow Garlic in Pennsylvania
The best time to plant garlic in Pennsylvania is after the first frost. Since the state welcomes freezing weather in September and October, we get the recommendation in the intro.
Aside from noting down said recommendation, look up the frost date where you live to know the exact day for growing garlic in PA.
- For example, Scranton in northeast PA has its first frost on October 13. As a result, residents here can plant garlic seeds on October 14.
- Meanwhile, people in Pittsburgh should wait until October 22 to grow garlic, considering the area’s first frost falls on October 21.
But why garden in cold weather? Garlic will produce more cloves if they experience at least one month of 40℉ or 4℃. The plant can withstand temperatures as low as -30℉, so you don’t have to worry about frost damage.
If you start garlic bulbs for planting per our recommendation, they will undergo vernalization and then form seedlings in spring. The timeline above will also help plant roots develop and prepare for winter.
Can you plant garlic in the spring in Pennsylvania?
Yes, it’s possible to plant garlic in PA in the spring. However, each plant will produce a small head only instead of multiple large cloves, which is not ideal if you’re after high yields.
On the bright side, you can work around this problem by subjecting the garlic to stratification. Get some garlic cloves and put them into a zip bag with soil. Make sure the soil covers the cloves to protect them against frost damage. Then, close the bag and put it in the freezer.
Wait for three to four weeks before removing the garlic from the fridge and planting it.
How long does it take to get garlic to grow?
You can add eight months to your fall planting date to determine the harvest time. Alternatively, check the garlic leaves frequently. The plant is mature if 30 to 50% of them have died off.
How late is too late for planting garlic?
Below are the latest months for planting garlic. You can use these guidelines to prepare garlic bulbs for growing in a timely manner:
- Zone 3 and under – Late September
- Zone 3 to 5 – Early October
- Zone 5 to 7 – Late October
- Zone 7 to 9 and zone 9 to 10 – November and December, respectively
As you can see, the estimates above apply to fall gardening in most US hardiness zones. For areas farther in the south, late February or March is the latest planting period.
When to harvest garlic in Pennsylvania?
You can harvest garlic in the summer, usually in July or August for a spring planting period. As for fall garlic seeds, they should mature by July, so the timing for the two gardening seasons is similar in this regard.
An exception to this rule is if you want green garlic instead of garlic bulbs. In this case, you can collect your spring crops eight weeks after planting.
Which garlic variety to plant in Pennsylvania?
There are two main garlic types: hardneck and softneck.
The hardneck type is more suitable for Pennsylvania, since fall planting here will expose the plant to extreme cold from December to February. Plus, during October and November, temperatures in PA can reach 40℉, which is perfect for vernalizing hardneck garlic.
Still, if the weather is warm enough, such as in spring, you can also grow softneck varieties.
Below are some cultivars to consider when you plant and harvest garlic in Pennsylvania.
- Hardneck garlic for planting – Rocambole and German Extra Hardy.
- Softneck garlic for planting – Burgundy, Silverskin, and Ajo Rojo.
As with other crops, check the hardiness zones on seed packages before ordering them. Rocambole garlic, for instance, will grow in zone 6 and any other part of Pennsylvania, since it’s suitable for hardiness regions 5 to 9.
Meanwhile, the Ajo Rojo cultivar needs zone 7 or higher, so it’s not a plant garlic zone 5 growers can choose.
Related post on planting calendar in Pennsylvania:
Hopefully, you now know when to plant garlic in Pennsylvania. With our tips above and the right crop variety, it’s possible to have healthy allium bulbs once summer comes.
Whether you plant hardneck garlic or softneck ones, we hope you find this article helpful. Have fun gardening!