Like all other cold-hardy plants, garlic also flourishes well in zone 6 states since they provide chilly winters that satisfy the cold requirements of this cultivar.
But although these crops match the region’s climate, planting them at an unfortunate time will only make them suffer and affect their yields.
Thus, knowing when to plant garlic in zone 6 will allow you to grow them well and produce desirable harvests by summer.
Therefore, grow them in around middle to late October, when the air temperature is around 40°F, for the best planting results.
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Best Time to Plant Garlic in Zone 6
1. Plant Garlic in October
Whether you live in zone 6a or 6b, the best time to plant them is during mid October because the ground is still warm.
In general, the zone 6 planting calendar for garlic is to grow them at least four weeks before the wintry period affects the soil.
- Fall planting in October
Planting garlic in the fall is ideal because this period allows them to have their roots established first. At the same time, the planting bed is still workable.
Afterward, the chilly winters of the region will allow the bulb to undergo a freezing phase to support the proper development of cloves. This process will help them produce desirable high-quality yields once harvest time comes.
However, planting garlic in Michigan southeast in zone 6b will need you to refrigerate them for at least two weeks before sowing them on the ground.
That is because the southern part of the zone may experience unideal temperatures that will not meet their need for long cold exposure of about 4-8 weeks.
- Spring planting
Planting garlic in spring is possible, as long as you set them at least four weeks before the last frost. However, it’s not the best time to sow them, as they will only have a short time to grow.
Yields will need a proper bulb formation. As a result, you cannot expect the garlic crop to develop separate cloves.
Although springtime is unideal for planting and producing the best bulbs, it is a reliable time to grow green garlic instead.
So, if you want to harvest the greens instead of bulbs, the planting garlic zone 6 window is to sow them in April and expect a harvest around May.
2. Plant garlic once the temperature is 40°F
The zone 6 growing season for garlic starts when the air temperature hits at least 40°F. It will help the plants have the ideal growth and will allow them later on to survive too-low temperatures reaching -30°F.
However, it is necessary to avoid planting them ahead of time, as it will allow the top foliage to develop. They will only compete for moisture with the clove, leaving it withered.
Contrariwise, planting them too late will not give them enough time to establish a robust root system to endure the freezing period.
The Best Garlic to Grow in Zone 6
Hard-neck varieties are suitable for planting in zone 6 and other lower areas like zone 5. They can endure wintry temperatures compared to the soft-neck ones that are more adaptable to warmer conditions.
One of the ideal garlic bulbs for planting is Garlic Red because it is adaptable and has a flavorus taste, perfect for many dishes.
Planting garlic in Utah with this hard-neck variety is well-suited for most parts of the state because it can grow well not only in zone 6 climates but in zone 7 as well, of which the land is a part.
Spanish Roja variety is also ideal for growing in the zone because it can handle well its cold months. It also has a mixture of sweet and hot tastes that are great for cooking.
Chesnok Red is another best option to plant because it can withstand a wide range of temperatures, even the mild climate in zone 8. Also, it is excellent for growing because you can store them for a long time.
Where to Grow Garlic in Zone 6?
1. Plant in well-draining soil
Garlic needs a planting bed with good drainage to thrive. Tilling the compacted soil first before planting is ideal for fixing it. But you can grow the plants in raised beds instead since they have more loose soil than the ground.
Alternatively, you can apply mulches or composts to fix the ground and provide sufficient nutrients.
2. Plant in a soil pH of 6.0-8.0
A slightly acidic to alkaline soil is what garlic requires. Therefore, you can mix lime on the planting bed to increase the soil pH. However, if it is too alkaline, you can lower it by applying dried leaves or manures instead.
3. Plant in a site with full sun
The best place to grow garlic from a clove is someplace where they can get a maximum of 8-hour sunlight to grow massive healthy bulbs.
How to Harvest Garlic?
- Step 1: Keep your garlic dry for a week after you notice that some of its foliage has turned brown. It is a sign that your bulbs are ready for harvesting.
- Step 2: Prepare a trowel and dig the soil around the bulb.
- Step 3: Using your hand, gently pull out the bulb by holding the neck of the plant.
- Step 4: Once you’ve lifted it, clean the dirt from the outer surface of the bulb by wiping it and keep it dry.
Is it too late to plant garlic in Zone 6?
No. Although the first frost may have passed in your area, it is still possible to plant garlic as long as the freeze has not affected the ground.
In fact, gardeners can still plant garlic in other zones 6 areas like those in California from January through February. Just make sure your bulbs have enough time to go through the cooling process.
Can you plant garlic anytime of year?
You cannot plant garlic crops any time of the year because they need a cold period to grow well and produce fine cloves.
Ideally, planting them in the fall and making them flourish until the wintry temperature of February will allow you to harvest the best bulbs.
How deep to plant garlic?
It is crucial to plant your garlic deep enough to protect them from the harsh wind that is common during the winters. Plant them at 5 inches depth in the ground to ensure they will not get carried by the wind.
Is garlic a perennial?
Yes. Garlic is a perennial plant that will return eventually and yield crops yearly. The rewarding thing about leaving them on the ground and just letting them sprout later is that they produce plenty of crops and allow you to sow more efficiently.
Unlike most plants that thrive well in mild climates, garlic is an interesting cultivar because it develops well during the cold winters.
Remember to plant them in October, before the ground freezes, to produce the best garlic at harvest time. And ensure to sow them when the weather is cold enough to allow proper root growth and bulb formation.
More so, prepare to sow them in a sunny spot to help them bear healthy and large yields. Hopefully, you learned a lot about when to plant garlic in zone 6 and be able to grow them on time.