WHEN TO PLANT: Spring or fall planting, is often debated, but I believe that fall planting wins everytime. It seems for many reasons that garlic does best when it is in the ground for 8-9 months. So for most parts of the country, this means garlic should be planted between late September through the end of November. October is probably the best planting time for states south of the Canadian border to St. Louis. States south of St. Louis could postpone planting until November and early December.
Garlic needs 40 or more cold days below 40°F in order for the clove to split into a bulb—a process is called vernalization. Otherwise, the grower will end up with a plant looking like a green onion with no bulb. For spring planting, seed can be stored in the refrigerator for 6 weeks under 40°F. This also forces the clove to split into a bulb.
WHERE TO PLANT: Anywhere you have good humus-rich soil at least 6" deep with good drainage and a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight. Flower pots (best set into the ground to keep them moist and cool), planters, raised beds, or a well drained garden area. Garlic likes moist cool spring weather but it can't take constant wet conditions, dry conditions or conditions that are too hot. It does not grow well at 85-90°F. A constant supply of moisture with good drainage will go a long way to ensure large bulb size.
WHAT TO PLANT: You have many choices. Hardneck garlic takes a little more care than softneck do, but they offer more varieties of garlic with different flavors and heats than softnecks. Choose a couple of different varieties and see how they do for you. Sometimes it takes a few years accumulating before a strain does well. Local seed stock will be a good choice. Make sure to plant enough for yourself, friends, and neighbors! Two bulbs this year will give you 15 next year. Softnecks can store up to a year. Hardnecks store 6-8 months. Plant some of each and you'll have garlic year around, including scapes to eat in June.