Fall is traditionally the best time to plant garlic. A good rule of thumb is to wait until after the autumn equinox to plant. Prepare your planting area by ensuring your soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter and gets full sun. Be sure to plant 6-8 weeks before the first frost of the season. Break apart cloves from bulb keeping the papery husk on, and plant them 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up). Place leaves or straw over the planting area to overwinter. Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (Young shoots can’t survive in temps below 20°F on their own. Keep them under cover.) Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size. Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly and water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June). Harvest time depends on when you plant, but the clue is to look for yellow tops. Harvest when the tops begin to yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry. To harvest, carefully lift the bulbs with a spade or garden fork. Pull the plants, carefully brush off the soil, and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks. The bulbs are cured and ready to store when the wrappers are dry and papery and the roots are dry. Bulbs should be stored in a cool (40 degrees F), dark, dry place, and can be kept in the same way for several months. Don’t store in your basement if it’s moist! If you plan on planting garlic again next season, save some of your largest, best-formed bulbs to plant again in the fall.