California Early Garlic Plants: When To Plant California Early Garlic

California Early Garlic
california early
(Image credit: Amarita)

California Early garlic plants might be the most popular garlic in American gardens. This is a softneck garlic variety that you can plant and harvest early. Growing California Early garlic is a snap if you know the basics. Read on for information about this type of garlic, including tips on how and when to plant California Early.

What is California Early Garlic?

If you have never heard of California Early garlic plants, you are in for a treat. This is one garlic plant to remember. California Early garlic is an easy-to-grow softneck with great flavor. On top of that, it stores well after harvest, up to six months or more.

California Early garlic plants, sometimes termed “Cal-Early,” grow garlic heads with lovely ivory skins just flushed with a little purple. This dependable variety produces 10 to 16 cloves per head.

When to Plant California Early

With a name like “California Early,” this variety of garlic naturally has an early planting date. If you are wondering when to plant California Early, gardeners in mild climates can get started at any point from October through January (fall through winter).

If you are interested in growing California Early garlic for a spring crop, plant in the fall before the first frost. In colder climes, plant this heirloom garlic variety in the spring for a summer harvest.

Growing California Early Garlic

Growing California Early garlic is very easy. Before you begin, be sure you work the soil first, cultivating it down to 3 inches (8 cm.) and blending in organic compost. Select a full sun location.

Separate the garlic cloves and plant each, point up. Plant them 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm.) deep and 4 inches (10 cm.) apart in rows that are 12 inches (31 cm.) apart.

From spring planting to harvest, count on 90 days. If you opt to plant Cal-Early in the fall, it will require some 240 days. In any event, harvest the garlic when the foliage begins to yellow. Leave the plants spread out to dry in the sun for a few hours.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.