I Forgot to Plant Garlic! My Winter Sowing Experiment

This past summer, I ordered my garlic from Annie’s Heirloom Seeds.  I ordered a hard neck sampler which included Metechi, Armenian, Chesnok Red, and Music garlic.

I have a whole list of excuses as to why I didn’t plant my garlic before winter.

At the time the garlic came in,

  1. I was in full canning mode with apples and tomatoes.
  2. Then we went on vacation.
  3. Then I took another trip.
  4. Then we were getting into the holidays and I started crafting up a storm.
  5. Then I forgot.

Actually, I would say that I kept forgetting throughout the last 3 months and now here we are, January 10th in the dead of winter.


I have been scoping out the weather for the past month or so, hoping for the perfect window to get the garlic in the ground.

We’re super fortunate to be in such a mild area in western South Dakota. Throughout the winter we get many days that are well above freezing, which is so completely unlike the North Dakota weather I grew up with.

We get cold snaps here as well and just last week we had multiple days in a row that it was below 0 degrees F.

But here is our forecast from today…

Not great, but not too shabby either right?  So I decided today was the most opportune time to try to get that garlic in the ground.

When I took my bulbs apart, I noticed that some of the garlic had softened.

Even with all these barriers, I figured what can it hurt to try to plant these babies.

I set to work on this patch of ground.

Now mind you, we’ve had milder weather the past few days but the ground a couple of inches down was still frozen.

I watered the area pretty well to soften/melt the ground and broke up the ground.

I covered the ground with quite a bit of leaves and watered those down as well.  I may put some straw down and I have some greenhouse vinyl that I can place over top, just in case.

In summary…

  • I did everything wrong.
  • I have no idea if this will work.
  • I’m not going to stress about it.
  • This is one big fat experiment.

If I start to see signs of life or I end up with garlic shooting up this spring, I will update you all for sure!

Have any of you ever planted garlic in the winter?  Or have you ever broken some other big gardening rule and it worked out in your favor?  Would love to hear from those of you who overcame a “rule” and were rewarded!



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