This is the ideal time to plant garlic from cloves and onions from seed. I have grown perhaps 25 or 30 different varieties of garlic and about as many sweet onions. I have not found a garlic or onion yet that has not done well in our climate. Both long day and short day onions do well here, from Washington’s Walla Walla to Georgia’s Vidalia sweet onion. Garlic as well from softneck types to hard neck.
|Walla Walla onion grown at the UNCE orchard in North Las Vegas|
It is too late to order garlic for planting or onion seed. You can still find onion seed in some stores. Most of the garlic is imported and not all that interesting but you can find some specialty garlic at the farmers markets or specialty stores like Whole Foods you can use for planting.
|Garlic planted with drip tape and mulched with straw now harvesting scapes (flower stalks with unopened flowers)|
Break down the garlic bulb into its cloves. This will leave tiny wounds on the fat end where they were attached. Select only the largest cloves for planting and the rest for cooking. Inspect the cloves very closely and if any have tiny brown spots on the skin of the clove then use them for cooking as well and do not plant them.
Leave the separated cloves out overnight and let the wounds heal. The day you plant garlic cloves, soak them in tepid water for a couple of hours first. This will speed up their emergence from the soil.
Plant these cloves in prepared garden soil about two inches deep and four inches apart with the fat end down. At this time of year, I would water these cloves daily if the soil drains easily. If your soil does not drain easily, then irrigate every 2 to 3 days. Once they have emerged you can water less often.
|Volunteers separating the cloves out from the bulbs for planting. These were purchased as certified disease free planting stock but you can use store bought garlic in a pinch.|
Broadcast onion seed on top of good garden soil. The seed doesn't need to be spaced far apart since you are just going to grow them into transplants and move them next March. When you move these transplants they will be planted about 4 inches apart into rows or blocks. That is when proper spacing is critical.