It’s not too late to plant garlic bulbs but better get them in soon. I usually plant my garlic towards the end of Oct but this year I got them in last weekend (Nov 7). I get my garlic from Filaree Garlic online but they don’t have much of a selection left now but there are other garlic sites that still have garlic or you may find some locally at the nurseries or at the farmers market. The main thing you need to do is get the bulbs in before the ground freezes hard here in Santa Fe which is usually in early December. If you plant in the fall, the bulbs will be bigger when you harvest next summer rather than if you wait till next spring to plant but you can plant either way.
The last two years I have been disappointed with my garlic harvest. I know they say to rotate the beds each year. I haven’t done that, using the same bed but don’t feel the problem lies with the soil. Having said that, I refreshed the soil this year with about 2 inches of homemade compost and 1 inch of mushroom compost and I did loosen the soil and lightly turn the whole bed.
Trying to find out what else I could do, I read online to put 1 tablespoon of bone meal, and 1-2 tablespoons of an equal mix of azomite and kelp meal in each hole about 3 inches deep mixing all three ingredients up in the hole before adding the garlic cloves pointy side up. I’ve never added anything but compost before so hope this helps get bigger bulbs.
But I really feel my problem was watering too much especially later in their season which, if you planted in the fall, harvest would be sometime in late June next year. I have the garlic bed on the same drip system as some other plants that get daily watering and definitely over watered them-many started to rot or separate when harvesting. But I did get some garlic. What I want is nice dry garlic during harvest time. So I will turn off the drip system (it already is off for winter) and will hand water them 1x/month through winter and continue hand watering next spring, cutting off the water about 2 weeks before harvest. Hopefully all this will make a beautiful big harvest next year. Gardeners are generally optimistic and I try to learn from my mistakes. Garlic is usually a very easy crop to grow and doesn’t attract bugs or 4-legged varmints.
This year I’m growing Russian Red and Purple Glazer–both are hardneck garlic which do well in our colder winter climate. I didn’t really choose them but it’s what Filaree had left so, advice to myself next year is to order my garlic earlier then in October. I’ll order next year in early September to try other varieties. I usually like to put both hardneck (more flavorful) and softneck (longer shelf life) varieties. Hardneck is good for colder climate and softneck in warmer climate but both do well here.