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*Update to post:
Well, my garlic grew just fine.  And so did some garlic that I planted in the Spring! Who knew?  Well, I'm sure some experienced gardeners did.  Anyhow, don't feel down if you didn't get your garlic in the ground in the Fall; go ahead and plant some bulbs as soon as you can work the ground in the Spring.  Good luck!

If I could have only one condiment/spice/flavoring for the rest of my life it would be garlic.  I put it in everything and have more than once been told to tone it down a bit (my brother was once eating some shrimp scampi that I'd made and had to put his foot down about my allium love when he brought a scoop of scampi to his mouth that was 90% minced garlic).

The problem is, I just can't seem to get it to grow.  Well, that's not totally true- one year I planted it too early and it sprouted, but then it died after the first frost.  Another year I planted it too late and we also had a harsh winter and none of those sprouted.  This is my last-ditch effort to grow garlic this year and I'm determined to get it right.

No sources that I could find could give me anything more specific for Iowa garlic planting than "___ weeks before first frost".  I don't know if those people have ever been to Iowa, but "first frost" could happen any time from late September to November and even then it could get warm again or freeze earlier than that or later- who knows.  In fact, just last week I was outside working in a t-shirt on Sunday and it was 20'F and snowing on Monday; we haven't even gotten to the craziest weather of the season.
So, this year, I'm using the trees as a guide and the frosty weather, too.  I figure that if the trees have lost all their leaves, then it's time for everything to go dormant and the garlic shouldn't sprout early.  I'm using the temperature as a gauge, too.  Now that it's November and they're predicting highs in the 20s for the next week, I think I'm safe planting garlic.  The ground is cold but not frozen, so the garlic should stay cold and dormant until Spring.

I'm planting the cloves as deep as they are "tall" and putting a layer of mowed leaves over them to prevent them from heaving out of the ground during the freeze and thaw of spring.  I'll just make sure to remove it as soon as the snow melts to avoid fungus or rotting of the bulbs.

Anyone else have experience with growing garlic in Iowa?


  1. They are suppose to sprout and grow awhile before the first frost comes. Then next spring they are off to a steady growth.

  2. Oh my, mine didn't sprout - I guess I'll see how they do this Spring! Thanks so much for the advice!