Several years ago, my neighbor with the great vegetable garden gave me a head of hardneck garlic to plant that fall. Hardneck garlic is not usually the kind you find at the grocery store here in Massachusetts, but it is the kind that likes the cold winters. (Grocery stores usually carry the softneck variety)
So by the end of September, I break apart a garlic head or 2 that I have saved and plant the individual cloves a few inches down – pointed end up! The cloves need time to start roots and send up some green shoots before the colder weather kicks in. Now that it is March, the shoots continue to grow (see photo). I make sure to water them during dry spells in summer and fertilize them with fish emulsion every 2-3 weeks.
Some stalks grow a scape at the top, which is an enclosed “flower” of baby bulbils. You can leave the scapes on so the bulbils grow and plant these tiny bulbils individually in the fall to see if they will grow into more garlic heads (I just tried this last fall and I haven’t seen any sign of stalks where I planted the bulbils) or you can cut off the scape so the energy will go to enlarging the head of garlic growing in the soil.
Then around the beginning of August, when the stalks have turned yellow/brown and are pretty much laying on the dirt, it’s time to pull out your garlic. You can hang them together from the stalks in a cool, dry place for a week or two but sometimes I just leave them on the counter in a cool dry corner of my kitchen and that seems to work fine.