Frequently asked questions
When should I plant my garlic?
Garlic is typically planted in the fall, about 2-4 weeks before your ground freezes for the winter.
Planting is dependent on your location, however in North America October is a good baseline for planting as long as there is neither frozen ground or high temperatures. North or very cold growing climates may plant in September and Southern climates with warm winters can delay planting until November and as late as December.
Garlic planting guides for different growing zones:
Zone 3-5: plant garlic in late September to early October - hardneck garlic will grow best in these colder growing zones.
Zone 5-7: plant garlic middle to late October
Zone 7-9: plant garlic late October into November
Zone 9-10: plant garlic late October through December - softneck garlic will grow best in these warmer growing zones. Vernalization may be a good idea in warm growing zones (placing garlic in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks to artifically simulate winter's cold)
How many plants will I get in a pound of garlic seed?
Hardneck garlic has approx. 50-55 seeds (or cloves) per pound. (22-28 plants from 1/2 lb, and 12-15 in a 1/4 lb)
Softneck garlic has approx. 60-65 seeds per pound. (28-33 in 1/2 lb, and 16-20 in a 1/4 lb)
How many bulbs of garlic are in a pound of seed?
A typical pound of seed could range from 4-12 bulbs, depending on the variety and size. All seed garlic bulbs will be 2+ inches in diameter.
If you are limited on space we suggest planting the largest cloves and eating the smaller cloves. Typically the largest cloves will produce the larger bulbs at harvest, although this can change depending on your growing conditions.
Is garlic seed small or is it a bulb?
Garlic seed comes as a bulb which you will break into individual cloves prior to planting.
All of our seed garlic is a minimum of 2 inches in diameter. Garlic is basically a clone, when you plant the large cloves you should grow large bulbs in return. If you have more seeds (cloves) than you can plant, we suggest planting the largest cloves and eating the smaller cloves.
Are you organic?
We are Certified Naturally Grown. We do not use herbicides or pesticides. All of our garlic is hand weeded. You can view our farm on www.cngfarming.org
Certified Naturally Grown farms are peer-inspected annually. This means that organic and CNG farmers inspect the farm. Farmers are held to the high standard that organic farmers follow.
When do you ship garlic?
We begin shipping garlic each year by September 1st. We ship all early season pre-orders first and then ship orders as they come in.
We suggest ordering early, as some varieties are limited and sell out quickly. Pre-orders begin in April each year.
What is the difference between hardneck garlic and softneck garlic?
Hardneck garlics are cold hardy and grow well in colder climates. Hardnecks have a shorter storage life, ranging from 4-6 months. Hardnecks also produce a scape, which is the flower stalk that grows from the center of the garlic plant approx 3-4 weeks prior to garlic harvest. Scapes can be removed from the plant once they have curled. Garlic scapes can be eaten, pickled, grilled, and made into pesto. Removing the scape allows energy to direct to bulb development, which allows the bulb to grow larger. Hardneck garlics will grow well in zones 3-8.
Softneck garlics store longer, and typically grow larger bulbs. Softneck garlic grows well in southern or warmer climates, but they can also grow well in colder climates with a thick layer of mulch for added protection from the cold. Softneck garlics tend to have more cloves (seed) per bulb and can be displayed as a braid. Many softnecks will store for 9-10 months. Softneck garlics grow well in zones 5-10
When do you harvest garlic?
Garlic is harvested in late spring to early summer. You want to have approx. 40% of the leaves to be dried and falling to the ground, and 60% of the leaves are still green and starting to brown at the tips.
Each leaf above ground represents a layer of paper around the bulb. If the majority of leaves are down then the bulb may begin to split with will expose the inner cloves.
How do you cure garlic?
You can tie garlic with twine, yarn, or rope into bundles of 5-10 plants with the roots and leaves still attached and hang in a well ventilated area. Softneck garlics can be braided prior to curing.
You can also cure garlic by laying it flat on racks or shelves, make sure the garlic bulbs are not covered and can get plenty of air.
Make sure there is NOT direct sunlight, as garlic can sunburn and this will deminish shelf life. A basement or cool garage / outbuilding are good places to cure garlic. Fans are helpful to help move air.
Garlic should cure for 3-4 weeks, at which time you can remove the stalk, roots, and outer layer of paper - which will clean the bulb. Store garlic in a mesh bag (recycled onion or orange bags work well). Do NOT store in plastic. Do NOT store in the refridgerator, the cold will cause the garlic to sprout.
Why should I pre-order garlic seed?
Some varieties of garlic are very limited and sell out quickly. While we typically have plenty of seed stock available during peak season, some varieties (such as Korean Red and Rossa Di Sulmona) are in high demand and sell out quickly. Once a variety is sold out it won't be availble until the following year. We start taking pre-orders in April each year.