When and where should I plant garlic?
Grow garlic in well-drained, fertile soils that are high in organic matter. Amend heavy, clay soils with compost or well-rotted manure before planting to prevent misshapen bulbs. Garlic does not grow well or reliably from seed. Plant cloves obtained from garden centers or mail-order companies in fall (October to early November). Do not plant garlic cloves purchased from grocery stores as these are usually softneck cultivars from warmer regions that are not well adapted to Iowa’s climate.
Plant large cloves 1 to 1.5 inches deep with the pointed side up, 3 to 5 inches apart within rows that are spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. Start with large cloves as they produce larger bulbs. Fall-planted garlic should be mulched in November with a 4- to 6-inch-layer of weed-seed free straw to help prevent winter injury. In early spring, move the straw to between the rows to allow the garlic foliage to emerge.