Garlic comes in two basic types: softneck and hardneck. Softneck varieties are what you get at the grocery stores; you can braid their tops together and hang the bunch to dry. Hardnecks have fewer cloves per bulb and don't keep as well but are said to have stronger flavor, as well as better cold-hardiness. They also have stiff stems topped with twisty flower stalks called scapes, which are delicious and a great source of garlicy taste early in the season.
Plant in late fall, a few weeks before freeze, 2 to 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart in soil enriched with organic material. Mulch to a depth of 4 inches. Harvest in summer when 30 percent of the tops are brown; dry in a cool shady spot for a few days, then store in dark, mild conditions (50° according to one source, above 64° per another).