My thought is that it won’t hurt to go ahead and plant it. Typically garlic, if grown without our interference,
won’t sprout until it has had enough chill (or at least, that’s my understanding.) And if it does sprout the only growth will be below ground, and it will take right off in the spring when the soil warms again.
But I can imagine that software garlic planted too early -i.e., when the soil is too warm- might be more inclined to send up seed stalks. But let’s wait for someone who knows to tell us!
I received my garlic from grow organic end of September and planted first week of October. It was four varieties for a total of 180 cloves in a 10’x2’ raised bed. I checked on the bed during my day off this past week and about 70% of them have sprouted. My understanding is garlic is pretty hardy, so I’m thinking seeing all these sprouts will make it thru the winter. It is also nice to know that the cloves have taken root, as my first attempt at garlic a couple of years ago was a big failure. Good luck to you.
I plant my garlic around labor day most years. They will get about 6 to 8 inches tall before the ground freezes. Once warm spring temps ahow up, they bounce right up and keep growing. No negative impact on the garlic.
This ideal time to grow garlic is when the ground is cold enough for garlic not to grow the top but still warm enough to grow the roots so the energy stored in the garlic bulb will not be wasted in growing leafs that might be damaged by freeze during the winter ( this depends on how cold that particular winter temperature will be , some garlic leaves bounce back after the freeze, some don’t. But you will never know how cold it is till you go through the winter). However, for a home gardenr, it really can’t tell the difference in planting time as long as you have some garlic bulbs to harvest because the size of the garlic bulbs depend on other facts too (such as amount of /time of / type of fertilizer, water, spaces, weeds etc. in the spring) in the entire growing season. So the ideal garlic planting time is more useful for those commercial garlic growers who have large enough sample data to be collected and analyzed and can see the overall result
I grow garlic every year and I just follow the common sense. I plant my garlic after the trees drop most of leaves from mid Oct to mid Nov. The temperature is cold enough but the ground is still workable. The most important thing is that I get time to plant it
I planted mine in September the first year, October last year, and September again this year. The soil is too warm for spinach seeds to germinate, if that helps you any.
It’s already in several leaves. I like it to get some growth before we start having hard freezes. In the picture, our local heirloom elephant garlic is first, and behind the cage is creole. My garlic usually pops up within a couple of weeks, except Creole. Creole takes a while.
FYI our soil does not freeze here, or at least it doesn’t freeze deeply. We also do not get snow. I did have issues with side sprouting (suckering?) this year, but I think that was due to warm weather, then hard freezes. Aka normal Texas Hill Country Spring. Our hard freezes do not appear to hurt the foliage, but I’m still learning, and I may have missed something.
One thing I do to my garlic is pre-chill it. I’ve been playing with this to see if it makes a difference.
I like to push it as late as possible, following the after frost but before the ground freezes principle. In the community garden in Kansas, that would usually be almost to Thanksgiving, sometimes later. In Massachusetts, that would be more like the end of October, even though it was the same hardiness zone. My garlic would never be smaller than what other people harvested, and it was usually much bigger. If nothing else, this approach makes sure you can have a prime spot open, as only a few things will still be growing that late.