How do South Californians grow garlic?

I’ve been reading a lot about how to plant garlic because it’s such a weird plant to me. If my understanding is correct, south California and Florida folks shouldn’t be able to grow garlic successfully, unless I’m misunderstanding something.

From what I read here in GA, garlic needs to be planted in the fall, allowed to grow some before frost. Then it goes dormant. University of Gerogia says “Garlic cloves requires a period of 6-8 weeks of cool
weather after planting (below 40 degrees F) to undergo vernalization”. It doesn’t elaborate how long each day the temperature needs to be below 40. I am more confused than I started out with.

I’m upset that I wasn’t able to plant some here in GA (lack of knowledge) and it’s too late now (according to what I’m reading), which inspired all this reading and research, so I can be ready for next fall.

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In warm climates, they plant varieties that don’t require much if any cold period, like California Early, C. Late, and Creole garlics. The acclaimed Rocambole and Porcelain hardnecks (most of what’s written about for home gardens) need vernalization. You can fake this by storing them in the fridge for a couple months. Are you in North Georgia or South Georgia? I would think N Georgia would have enough of a winter for the hardnecks, at least away from the coast, but I don’t know. I’d check out the varieties at Southern Exposure to figure out what might do well for you.

In the north, I prefer to plant it late enough that it doesn’t put out any top growth until spring, but it doesn’t seem to hurt it much if it comes up in the fall. Really, you should think about growing garlic like you think about growing tulips. The timing and needs are pretty much identical, with the exception that you treat them like lettuce in the spring (lots of water and a little extra Nitrogen if you have it handy).

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Here’s some info on the categories that should do well for you:

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I’m in the North. But Since it’s January, I assume it’s too late this year.

Actually, the store bought garlic I planted last year in the fall, put out top growth, and that top growth was very hardy, and I was successful in growing garlic.

This summer (not knowing garlic is a cool season plant), I planted garlic. 90% of them failed, but some barely put out top growth. The tops survived down to 20F (our lowest temp this winter). So I’ll have three garlics this year, lol.


If you can dig the ground, it’s probably not too late. Your bigger challenge would be sourcing good seed garlic. That tends to become available in August and sell out by mid September. Once you have it though, you can set aside a few of your biggest bulbs for seed.

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