I planted my garlic late in Spring, I didn't have the garden ready. I'm in zone 6. I am not expecting anything worth harvesting.
Can I just leave it all in the ground for next year's crop?
IME I get better results with a harvest as is and replant at the proper time method. The cloves, as is, won't be very large but they will be big enough for re-planting this fall. Stick them in the fridge until planting time as that cool storage really gives them a kick. And the really tiny ones can be used now.
When left in the ground - like when I overlook pulling one - they don't do much at all. Max bulb growth given the soil temps has already developed and they just tend to rot.
Thanks Dave, when would you suggest planting them? Frost in mid October.
Depends on your garden zone and you don't indicate yours and the type - hard or soft neck.
In my zone I plant in mid to late Oct. as my ground doesn't freeze. If you live where the ground freezes then the general guideline is after the first frost but 6 weeks before the ground freezes.
You can Google 'when to plant garlic in zone ____' for specific planting dates or ask the folks over on the Garlic (Alliums) forum who live in your same zone when they plant..
In zone 5 I plant in late October. So, for zone 6 I assume it's somewhat similar.
The OP said they were in zone 6 in the first comment. I plant my garlic, both hardnecks and softnecks, in mid-October. Sometimes it sprouts before the soil freezes, sometimes it doesn't. When it does sprout it's short and the worst that happens is the leaf tips might get a little freezer burnt.
I agree that it's best to harvest and replant.
The OP said they were in zone 6 in the first comment.
oops! Sorry I missed that. Eyes not corrected to brain yet.
The real reason for pulling and replanting is that if not pulled and re-distributed they will form thick clumps in spring 2015. The clumps are both harder to pull next year and make smaller bulbs. I have seen no significant differences when planting in September or November. I generally plant the tomato beds after the tomatoes are done (so after first frost) but have also planted other beds (say, after butternut squash, so early, or after cabbage, so late).
Another reason to dig & replant garlic is nutrient depletion. That (and crowding) results in the clumps of smaller bulbs mentioned by Glib. It is recommended that garlic not be planted in the same place in consecutive years.
I generally plant some time after the first freeze, when I can dig up a row where the plants have died. Weather permitting, this is usually some time in October... but there have been years when Fall rains made that impossible. I've planted even after the soil surface had frozen in November, digging holes with a cordless drill & a big auger bit. The bulbs from that planting were just as big as those grown from October plantings. IMO late plantings are less likely to have problems than garlic planted too early.
It has been a bad year for my garlic. Surprisingly little was lost to the deep cold of last winter's Polar Vortex... but much of what survived the cold was done in by our abnormally heavy rainfall. My garden flooded three times, and the soil was waterlogged for much of May & June. Couldn't even get it all weeded between rains. The garlic sprouted normally, but much has died since. I dug up a few artichoke types whose tops had fallen over, and the bulbs are very small - even some rounds. Hopefully next year will have less hostile conditions.
This post was edited by zeedman on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 0:32