Organic Seed Garlic Growing Guide
When your garlic arrives
Open your package immediately and inspect it. If you have any questions or concerns, now is the time to contact us! Leave bags open, store your garlic in a dark and cool place until you are ready to plant. Don’t store in plastic or the refrigerator.
Plant garlic 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes solid. (Not your first frost!) This will enable the cloves to establish some roots while minimizing the amount of top growth prior to winter. If your ground does not freeze solid, plant 2-4 weeks before the coldest time of year. Break the bulbs apart and use all cloves that are plump and firm. It is not necessary to peel each clove. Plant root end down, 2” deep. Space cloves no closer than 6” apart with 9” between rows. Mix some form of nitrogen (compost, manure) into soil before planting. Plant in full sun and rich, well-drained soil, though garlic will tolerate many soil types. If you have clay soil, improve structure with organic matter, not sand. Apply a few inches of mulch such as chopped hay, leaves, or grass clippings and water in.
Provide nitrogen during vegetative growth in the early Spring and deep watering as needed. Keep water in the root zone, not around bulbs. Hardneck varieties will send up a flower stalk called a scape. When the scape has formed one curl, they should be removed so growth is directed to the bulb. These are a tasty treat, too!
Cut off water about 2-3 weeks before harvest.
Harvesting & Curing
Harvest garlic when the top 4-5 leaves are 50% green and the lower leaves are completely dry. Each green leaf equates to one bulb wrapper that will remain on the bulb once harvested. Fewer bulb wrappers result in shorter storage. Brush off excess dirt and hang bundles of 5-10 plants out of direct sunlight where there is good air circulation. In wet climates, a fan might be needed. Let bulbs cure for 3-4 weeks. Softnecks take longer as there are layers of cloves. Trim roots and cut the neck ½” above bulb.
Store in netted bags or ventilated crates. Ideal storage temperatures are 55-65 degrees and 45%-60% humidity. Refrigerators are too humid, and garlic will begin to sprout. Asiatics and Turbans are the first harvested and shortest storing (4 months). Rocamboles and Purple Stripes (4-6 months), Porcelains (6 months), Artichokes (10 months), and Silverskins and Creoles can store up to a year.