A staple ingredient in a wide variety of dishes, garlic is, without a doubt, a valuable crop to have in your garden. This crop can be easily grown in garden soil, raised beds, and in containers. However, for it to successfully grow and thrive, you must first know when to plant garlic in Virginia.
Garlic is traditionally planted in the fall, but the specific dates could vary depending on where you live. In west Virginia, for example, the best time to plant is from 3rd to 20th October. Still, in eastern Piedmont and southern regions, planting can be started from 10th November to 10th December.
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Best Time to Plant Garlic in Virginia
The ideal time to plant garlic in VA is in the fall, from early October to early December, depending on your location.
This crop is traditionally planted in cold weather conditions because garlic, especially the hardneck variety, needs vernalization or exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5°C) for about 6 to 8 weeks to encourage the formation of bulbs.
Planting at this time of the year also allows the bulb to develop roots and have top growth before the plant becomes dormant in winter.
To accurately determine the dates to plant garlic in your location, it is best to check your local weather forecast and get the estimated date of the first fall frost. It is also recommended to get your garlic bulbs in the ground at least two weeks before the first frost.
See some examples of how to calculate the estimated planting dates for certain cities in Virginia below:
- Virginia Beach – The first frost in this city is estimated to be on November 07. Counting two weeks back, you should start planting by October 24.
- Lexington – Residents can plant garlic by October 03, as the first frost in this city is estimated to arrive on October 17.
- Charlottesville – Planting can commence by October 17 for residents of Charlottesville as the first frost in the area is estimated to fall on October 31.
While the garlic planting season is traditionally in the fall, you can definitely plant garlic in springtime.
However, due to the significantly shorter growing time left before temperatures begin to warm up, garlic bulbs have to be chilled 8 weeks before planting and you have to plant them as early as possible in the spring.
Types of Garlic to Plant in Virginia
The different types of garlic are generally classified as either hardneck or softneck varieties. Here are some of their characteristics:
1. Hardneck Garlic
These garlic types produce garlic scapes, which are edible stalks that resemble chives or scallions. Hardneck garlic is characterized by a firm stalk that grows from the center of the bulb. They have fewer but bigger cloves in one bulb and are deemed to have more flavor.
However, they have a shorter shelf life of 3 to 5 months post-harvest compared to softneck types.
Among Virginia’s most popular hardneck varieties are Music, Spanish Roja, and Carpathian.
2. Softneck Garlic
This type is the one you commonly see in supermarkets. Instead of a stem, softneck varieties have leaves, and they produce more but smaller cloves in each bulb. They store extremely well and can last up to 9 months after harvest, provided that correct storage conditions are followed.
Softneck varieties that do well in Virginia are Inchelium Red and Idaho Silverskin.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after you plant garlic is it ready?
Garlic growth time often takes about 9 months, from planting in the fall or spring to harvesting in the summer. You will know it’s ready to harvest when the leaves have dried and discolored.
Why can’t you plant supermarket garlic?
Planting garlic bulbs sourced from supermarkets is often discouraged as these products are usually sprayed with growth inhibitors and might carry diseases that might affect the plant’s development.
It is recommended to purchase garlic bulbs for planting from reputable sources like your local nurseries or garden centers to ensure that your plants are healthy and of good quality.
Can you plant onions and garlic together?
Even though they come from the same family, planting onions and garlic together is not recommended, as garlic is susceptible to most diseases and pests that affect onions.
Can you grow garlic inside?
Growing garlic inside is possible, albeit a little more difficult compared to growing it outdoors. However, the crop will still grow and produce bulbs provided that garlic planting instructions and requirements are met. Softneck varieties adapt better to indoor garlic growing conditions, as hardneck types prefer colder temperatures.
Is there a garlic and onion hybrid?
A garlic-onion hybrid is not likely to happen due to the fact that while they’re from the same Allium genus, they are from different species. Moreover, garlic reproduces by vegetative reproduction rather than by sexual reproduction.
Garlic is a wonderful crop to plant in your home garden as aside from the culinary and medicinal benefits, they are also good companion plants and deter pests. And depending on the specific frost date of your area; you can plant them near the end of October, in November or early December.
In order to grow them successfully, you have to give them the best-growing conditions and know the appropriate timing on when to plant garlic in Virginia.
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