Planting Garlic in Ontario: Your Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

When it comes to planting garlic in Ontario, timing is everything. I’ve learned from my years of gardening that garlic loves the cold, and a chilling period allows for stronger growth come springtime. Planting in the late fall – typically in October or November – gives your bulbs a chance to set roots before the ground freezes.Ontario’s climate works well with hardneck varieties like ‘Music,’ ‘German Extra Hardy,’ or ‘Russian Red.’ These types are durable, can handle our harsh winters, and offer robust flavors that many cooks crave. But no matter what variety you choose, planting garlic requires some basic steps: selecting high-quality seed stock, preparing your soil properly, and understanding how to plant each clove right-side up.

As an Ontario gardener myself, I’m here to guide you through this process. From choosing your garlic variety to tucking those cloves into their winter beds, we’ll explore the ins and outs of growing flavorful garlic right here in our home province.

Understanding Garlic Varieties in Ontario

When I first ventured into garlic farming, it quickly became clear that understanding the different varieties of this pungent bulb is key. Specifically in Ontario, there are three primary types you’ll likely come across: Hardneck, Softneck, and Elephant.

Hardneck garlic, known scientifically as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, is particularly popular in Ontario due to its robust flavor and large cloves. This variety also produces a flower stem or “scape” which can be harvested for an additional culinary treat.

Next up is Softneck garlic, or Allium sativum var. sativum. It’s not quite as hardy as Hardneck but it does fare well in warmer climates and has a longer shelf life post-harvest.

Lastly, we have Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum), which despite its name isn’t true garlic at all! It’s actually more closely related to leeks but still packs a garlicky punch albeit milder than the other two varieties.

Here’s a quick snapshot of these varieties:

VarietyScientific NameClimate SuitabilityFlavor Intensity
HardneckAllium sativum var. ophioscorodonColdHigh
SoftneckAllium sativum var. sativumWarmMedium
ElephantAllium ampeloprasumMost ClimatesMild

Choosing the right type of garlic for your garden comes down to personal preference and climate compatibility. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Having said that, I’ve found that Hardnecks do exceptionally well here given our colder winters.

In conclusion – alright let me correct myself – my final thoughts on this matter are simple: know your options before planting. You wouldn’t want to invest so much time only to realize you’d prefer another variety better suited for your taste or climate conditions!

Remember folks, knowledge is power – especially when it comes to growing great garlic in Ontario!

a man kneeling down in a garden bed planting garlic.

The Best Time to Plant Garlic in Ontario

I’ve often been asked, “What’s the best time to plant garlic in Ontario?” Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. It largely depends on the variety of garlic you’re planting and the specific weather conditions in your area during different seasons.

Typically, I recommend planting garlic in mid-October. Why? Because this allows for enough cool period before the ground freezes completely. Garlic needs this chill phase to divide into cloves and grow effectively.

Now let’s take a look at some important dates that you need to keep in mind:

Mid-OctoberLate April
Planting SeasonHarvesting Season

However, these timings aren’t set in stone. If the fall has been exceptionally warm, you can wait until early November to plant your bulbs. On the other hand, if spring arrives late or is unusually cold, harvesting might extend into May.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Don’t rush: Wait for temperatures to drop consistently below 60°F (15°C) before planting.
  • Be patient: Avoid digging up your bulbs too early – they need time to mature.
  • Watch out for pests: Protect your plants from common threats like nematodes and bulb mites.

Remember that each growing season is unique and requires flexibility. The most successful gardeners are those who adapt their practices based on local climate conditions and their specific crop varieties.

So don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it perfect right away – gardening is as much an art as it is a science! Keep trying different strategies until you find what works best for your garlic crop in Ontario!

Curb Wise