I ordered California Early Softneck Garlic bulbs and got them earlier than I expected. They said mid-Sept through early November....fall hasn't even started in my neck of the woods either officially or actually and it's not mid-Sept YET, but the bulbs arrived today. I have never grown Garlic but I want to start using it in cooking more and I have a wonderful garden bug spray that requires it too. The planting guide that came with the bulbs says a raised bed is best, at least 12 inches deep. And since we have heavy black clay, they recommend lots of compost and loamy soil. But first a stupid question...is 'top soil' the same as loam? Or should I stick with filling the bed with compost. We will be building the raised bed this weekend. One of the really 'cute' recommendations they make for properly storing the bulbs until they can be planted is to put them in an unheated room or garage....they obviously haven't been to Texas in Sept/Oct...where there are no such places as unheated rooms, even with the AC on full blast. The closest I can come to is on the window sill next to the AC window unit in our bedroom, that should be cool enough. From what I have read, mid-Sept is way too early to plant them...they say 4-6 weeks before the first frost. Our average date of first frost is Nov 17 and 6 weeks prior to that date is 3 weeks away from now. Also, apparently refrigerators are not in the proper cool temp range to keep them happy while waiting. So I will be storing them in the bedroom (ought to smell especially 'foody' in there after a few days) ...or I could hang them in a bag in front of the AC here in the side room. So to recap....12" raised bed (there are approx 30 cloves on the bulbs so the bed should be oooooooh, I don't know how about 65 feet x 15 feet) not really but a 2'x4' should be good ...filled with compost or a compost/top soil combo mixed with a helping of 5-10-5 fertilizer...keep the bulbs in front of an AC...plant the bulbs sometime the week of Oct 8th...wiggle a soaker hose along the soil surface to keep soil moist...cross fingers, toes and eyes in hopes that they actually do grow and produce something edible, preferably garlic. Any other ideas, suggestions, recommendations will be willingly accepted.