Wait to separate garlic cloves until planting in the fall, keeping them in their papery wrappers. Plant individual cloves, about 1 to 2 inches deep, about 6 to 8 inches apart with tip of clove pointing up. Garlic should be planted in the fall, approximately mid September through November in most areas. For colder regions, planting under mulch may be necessary. Mulch can also provide good weed control and moisture retention both of which are important for large bulb development. It is important that garlic be allowed to go through a chilling cycle (known as vernalization) in order for the bulb to form and differentiate into separate cloves. Planting any time before ground freezes is okay so long as the garlic clove has some time to grow and develop some roots.
For harvesting, when the bottom two leaf blades have browned and the remainder of the plant has begun to yellow, test dig some plants - if the bulbs appear full and plump then the crop is ready to harvest. Do not leave the bulbs in the ground too much past this stage as you risk the deterioration of additional papery wrappers. These wrappers are important for shelf life.
Some garlic varieties will develop a flower stalk called a "scape". This stalk will grow in a curly shape initially and then as it matures it will become erect. This scape can be harvested when it has completed a full curl and sautéed and served as a side dish or used to make pesto or diced and used fresh. When harvesting, do not pull the garlic up....instead, "lift" the garlic using a spade or a digging fork. Pulling the garlic can damage the neck and reduce shelf life. Shake and gently brush soil from the roots at this time being careful to not damage the roots. Some growers prefer to wash their bulbs at this time but it is important to get the bulbs drying immediately. Hang the garlic to dry for several weeks in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight. Make sure to allow for good air-flow around the bulbs. If garlic braids are to be made, do so when garlic is first harvested and not after leaves have dried. After garlic is fully cured it can be left to hang and used as needed or, if it is intended for market it can be trimmed. To trim, use a scissors to clip the roots to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, clip the neck to about 2 to 3 inches long and remove any loose and dirty wrappers. Save the largest bulbs for replanting. We cannot ship garlic outside of the U.S.