When To Plant Garlic In Colorado: Discover Best Time!

Garlic plant


Garlic is a flavorful culinary addition that works in different dishes. Besides the flavor, it offers many health benefits. The herb is easy to grow but requires timing in diverse climates. That’s why you need to know when to plant garlic in Colorado. The state has different climatic conditions, which include low humidity levels,  winters, and summers. 

The timing is key, as it will determine your harvest. When to plant garlic in Colorado? Plant it in the fall, between early September and mid-October, depending on the region. That way, you will expect a harvest in mid-summer (July). To understand better, let’s look at Colorado’s diverse climatic conditions.

Colorado’s Climate

The state of Colorado has diverse climates depending on the region. According to the Colorado Encyclopedia, the area is mountainous, which impacts the region’s environment. The elevations range from below 7,000 ft to 14,000 ft. Expect diverse temperatures, wind, humidity, and rain in this range. Colorado experiences freezing winters and warm summers. Also, the region has low humidity levels. This diversity affects gardening. However, it is favorable to some crops like garlic.  

When To Plant Garlic In Colorado

Planting garlic in Colorado requires a specific time, usually in the fall. The critical point is to grow your cloves before the winter freezes the ground. This reasoning can perplex you and cause queries about why not wait until the winter is over. 

For garlic to flourish in the garden, it must grow roots before the winter dormancy period (4-8 weeks). So, plant the cloves at the beginning of October so that they can grow the foliage in the early spring when the ground is warmer. 

Due to the diverse locations and climates in the area, the exact timing for planting your garlic garden is crucial. Here’s a guideline to help you determine when to plant garlic in Colorado’s diverse regions:

  1. Front Range 

This area includes Denver, Boulder, Pueblo, Fort Collins, and the surrounding areas. It is a mountainous region and rises to 10,000 ft. Some mountains include Mt. Evans, Mt.Richthofen, Longs Peaks, and Pikes Peak. 

In the Front Range, the winter is severe and requires a good planting time. The best time to lay your garlic garden in the Front Range is late September to early October. With the timing, your garlic will establish roots and grow before winter.

  1. Western Slope

The Western Slope includes the Grand Junction, Durango, Telluride, and Palisade. This area’s thrilling features include mountains, lakes, river valleys, and deserts. But that doesn’t discourage you from growing your garlic herb. The area is favorable as it has a milder climate for your crop. You can time your garlic planting a bit later in garlic slightly later in mid-October. And because of the moderate temperatures, the frost arrives much later in winter. 

  1. Eastern Plains

The eastern plains are east of the Rocky Mountains and stand at 3,500 to 7,000 ft. They include the Sterling and Lamar and have a harsher and colder climate. Like the Front Range areas, the best time to plant your garlic crop is in late September and early October.

  1. Mountain Regions 

Colorado mountain regions include Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge. These are at higher elevations, thus harsher weather than the Front Range and  Western Slope. Since the winter sets in early, plant your garlic earlier than in other regions. Mid-September is perfect as the area experiences colder temperatures earlier in the fall.

Planting The Right Garlic Variety

Now that you know when to plant garlic in Colorado and various regions in the state, the suitable varieties will be followed. Here are some of the most common types that are well-suited to this geographic condition;

  • Elephant Garlic Varieties: The elephant variety is enormous, hence the name. It has a mild flavor, is less spicy, and is sweeter. This variety loves warmer and humid climates. The best place to grow elephant garlic in Colorado is in the Western Slopes.
  • Hardneck Garlic Varieties: The hardneck varieties include Rocambole, Persian Star, Porcelain, German White, Spanish Roja, and Northern Quebec. These varieties survive in harsh climates like the Mountain, Eastern Plains, and the Front Range.
  • Softneck Garlic Varieties: The softneck varieties thrive in moderate (warmer) climates because they stay longer. So, the types are a significant consideration if you plant garlic in Colorado’s Western Slope. They include Inchelium Red, Artichoke, Nootka Rose, Silverskin, Middle Eastern, Italian Loiacono, and Viola Francese. 

Growing Garlic: Step-By-step

Now that you know when to plant garlic in Colorado and have the varieties, here’s a step-by-step guide to planting garlic:

  1. Choose the suitable garlic variety to suit the region: For colder areas like the Mountains, Front Range, and Eastern plains, consider the hardneck varieties. The softneck and elephant varieties are a good choice for the warmer Western Slope regions.
  1. Prepare the medium: Once you select the suitable garlic variety, it is time to prepare the soil. Garlic loves well-drained soils. To ensure the proper drainage, add good organic matter. You can add compost manure to the soil. In addition, raise the beds if the area has clay soil to enhance drainage.  
  1. The planting period: Planting your garlic depends on the region. Your cloves will thrive if you plant them in the fall. However, the Colorado region had diverse geographic areas. 
  • Front Range: Late September to early October
  • Western Slope: Mid-October
  • Eastern Plains: Late September to early October.
  • Mountain Regions: Mid-September
  1. Planting Depth and Spacing: Spacing and depth are crucial. You shouldn’t go too deep or plant too far apart. The vice versa is also not ideal. Plant your cloves 2 inches deep and space them in rows four to six inches apart. The spacing between rows should be a foot or 12 inches.
  1. Mulching: Mulching is crucial in all aspects of farming. After planting, you must apply a layer of mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Use straws or chop leaves to insulate the soil.  
  1. Watering: Do not forget to water your garlic cloves after planting. The key is to settle the soil and also provide moisture. Keep watering the soil throughout the fall, but do not waterlog the seed bed.  
  1. Nutrients: Your garlic needs nutrients for early growth. So, you must provide the cloves with a balanced fertilizer in the fall to facilitate rooting and growth. For proper fertilizer application, follow the package to avoid overdoing or undergoing it.   
  1. Winter Protection: Winter is here. It is very cold in Colorado, yet your garlic must survive the dormancy period. Do not leave your garlic bed bare. What to do? Easy! Cover the seed bed with a layer of straw or leaves to protect your crop from extreme weather and temperature fluctuations during the winter. Also, remember there is no need to water the garlic bed in winter.
  1. Spring Care: After the dormancy period (about eight weeks), spring arrives. It is all smiles as your garlic will now resume growing. Keep watering to maintain the soil moisture. Weeds will also begin growing. Do not let them choke your garlic. Remove them any time they sprout to prevent any competition with the garlic.
  1. Harvesting Garlic: After the spring’s growing period, your garlic is ready for harvesting. In Colorado, it will be around mid-summer or in July. How do you know the harvest is ready? The lower leaves will begin turning yellow while the top will start to fall. Dig up bulbs for curing. Be careful not to damage them.  
  1. Curing and Storage: The curing step is crucial before storage. It takes a few weeks and lets the garlic to dry until the skin shrinks. The outer cover turns papery, thus creating a barrier against moisture, worms, and mold damage. Curing involves spreading bulbs on a flat, cool, well-ventilated area for several weeks. After harvesting, let the garlic bulbs dry in a cool, well-ventilated place for a few weeks to cure. Once the garlic is dry, store it in a cool and dry environment, ready for sale or use.  


The first step to a bounty harvest is knowing when to plant garlic in Colorado. The reason is the diverse climates in the state. You are set for planting once you determine the regions and choose a suitable variety. Care for your crop throughout its growth cycle from fall to mid-summer. Watch out for our next guide, When to plant garlic in Indiana. Happy gardening!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *