Frequently Asked Questions
How much seed do I need?
A 6-inch spacing is usually sufficient for garlic seed, you could go 8" to ensure the very largest bulbs. So, a 4' x 4' bed will hold up to 64 plants.
Figure on Softneck varieties averaging approximately 24 seeds to the 1/4 pound. Hardnecks will average about 14 seeds per 1/4 pound. Remember, these are averages so if you want to ensure that you fill your space order just a tad more than your calculated estimate. You can always eat the leftovers!
When will my garlic ship?
Spring garlic seed orders ship out from the farm weekly.
Fall seed garlic begins shipping from the farm beginning the first week in September. Orders made prior to September 1st ship in the order received. It takes about 2-4 weeks for us to get through the backlog of orders. After we have gotten through our backorders we ship new orders within just a few business days. Priority is given to cold climates. You will receive a USPS tracking number via Paypal when your order has been packed and is ready to ship.
It is recommended to fall plant your seed garlic around six weeks before the ground freezes. This will give the garlic time to get its roots established, but no top growth should be evident. (Once the ground thaws in the spring and the soil begins to warm, green shoots will emerge.)
While planting in the fall is optimal, you can spring plant garlic seed as soon as your ground can be worked. The spring garlic seed we offer is pre-vernalized. This means that we have exposed it to a period of cold that helps ensure the best possible growth for spring planting.
When planting, separate your garlic bulbs into cloves. We plant our garlic cloves 6-8 inches apart, and about three times deeper than the clove is tall. Depending on the moisture content of the soil, you can either water the seed in or rely on natural moisture. Mulch well with 3-6 inches of weed-free straw, hay, or cut grasses.
Garlic does not compete well with weeds. A couple of thorough weedings during vegetative growth will ensure the largest possible bulb size at harvest.
Garlic likes moist but not soggy soil. If you can count on occasional spring rains until July and you have mulched well, this should be sufficient to grow large, pungent bulbs. If it’s a dry spring or you live somewhere that you can’t count on mother nature for occasional moisture, pull back some mulch and pinch some soil between your fingers. If it feels moist and holds together it is sufficient. If the soil feels dry and falls apart it is time to water. Garlic appreciates consistent moisture so pay attention to that soil!
Hardneck garlic produces scapes. This is a flowering shoot. You will want to remove the scape once it curls around 1-2 times, before it becomes woody. Scapes have a nice garlic flavor and can be used in the kitchen with great success! Be aware that Softneck garlic can produce scapes if stressed and you should remove those scapes as well. Removing scapes helps the plant put it's growing energy into the garlic bulb, helping you grow bigger garlic!
Taper watering off in July in preparation for harvest in mid-July/August depending on the variety. Garlic harvested from ground that is too wet will not store as well as garlic allowed to dry down for a few weeks prior to harvest.
To see how we plant our garlic by hand, here on the farm, check out our YouTube video:
Which Way Is Up?
Unlike most seeds that you plant, garlic seed has a top and a bottom. The easiest way to explain it would be, to plant with the pointy end up. The basal root plate to the bottom.
When do I plant my garlic seed?
In most regions of the U.S. you can plant your garlic seed anytime between September and December. Here in the extreme Northwest, we start planting our high elevation plantings in mid-September. Our lower elevation plantings are usually completed by mid-October. If your ground isn't frozen it probably isn't too late to plant your garlic.
Planting near your first frost date isn't a bad idea. Find out your first frost date here. Just enter your zip code.
Hardneck or Softneck?
Nearly 100% of commercially available garlic is of the Softneck variety. Softneck garlic has great storage characteristics, is relatively easy to care for, and can be braided for decorative charm and functionality.
Hardneck garlic as the name implies, retains a stiff neck or stem when dried. Hardneck garlic also produces a scape a few weeks before harvest. The scape is a wonderful edible flower shoot that curls in a whimsical curly-q of flavor.
While Hardnecks don't store as well as Softnecks their flavor more than makes up for it!
Softneck garlic is more suited for regions without sub-zero temperatures but can be grown in these areas if proper precautions are taken. Softneck garlic thrives in warmer regions. A thick layer of mulch will do wonders for protecting Softneck garlic and makes it possible for even extreme Northern gardeners (LIKE US) to enjoy these terrific varieties.
Hardneck garlic on the other hand loves cold winters. We would venture to say that there are few places in the U.S. that are too cold for it to grow. Growing Hardnecks in southern areas can be challenging. We have heard that south of the Mason-Dixon line Hardnecks can struggle. One trick to try if you do want to grow Hardnecks in the South is to refrigerate your seed (in the coldest part of your fridge) for several weeks prior to planting. This will aid in the vernalization process that is essential for Hardnecks to properly form large bulbs.
What is #2 garlic seed?
#2 seed garlic is simply garlic that is slightly smaller than our jumbo seed and didn't size up as we would have liked. The garlic has the genetics to get really large but because of the less than ideal precipitation it didn't quite get there. The seed, if taken care of next year, will produce great garlic. We just feel compelled to offer a discount on it since it is smaller than we like. It's priced at a 25% discount -- an excellent value.
Are your seeds chemically treated?
We never treat any of our products with chemicals. All of our seed garlic is certified organic by both the WSDA and the USDA.
What is dry land garlic?
Dry land garlic is garlic that is not irrigated throughout the growing season. Garlic can be grown this way! By utilizing mulch and the natural moisture your site receives you can grow large pungent garlic bulbs with minimal or no irrigation. Our high altitude semi-arid gardens produce sturdy, flavorful, gourmet garlic varieties without irrigation.