Exceptional quality garlic for eating or planting Order now for fall 2013 delivery
Storing Garlic for eating or planting:
After you purchase your garlic, make sure you protect your investment. Improper storage will reduce shelf life of garlic. Whole bulbs of garlic will keep for 6-12 months or more when stored at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Keep in mind, however, that garlic's lifetime decreases once you start removing cloves from the bulb. Storing garlic uncovered, such as in a wire-mesh basket inside your cupboard or beneath a small overturned clay pot, is ideal. You can also store garlic in a paper bag, egg carton, or mesh bag. Just be sure there is plenty of dry air and little light to inhibit sprouting. To avoid mold, do not refrigerate or store garlic in plastic bags. Garlic stores best long term when it is stored at between 55F and 65F and between 40% and 60% humidity. A normally air conditioned house seems to do pretty good.
Every farmer will have their own specialty that works for them and their farm. You can see our other web pages for what we do. Here are instructions provided by the Garlic Seed Foundation with some of our own comments.
There is a positive correlation between the size of the clove planted and the size of the bulb harvested. Some growers grade their cloves by size/weight and plant the largest. Large cloves yield large bulbs, as long as there are no limitations in the environment. Medium size cloves offer the largest percent increase of growth while still reaching a market size. Small cloves produce small bulbs but can be used to multiply an attractive garlic strain. For example, I purchased 1lb. of small Yugoslavian garlic bulbs, and planted them. I ended up with a nice crop of about 8 pounds with medium size bulbs. I planted only the large bulbs and ate the rest! That resulted in approx. 12lbs. of large bulbs, 25lbs. of medium size bulbs, and 8 lbs. of small bulbs.
When to plant:
Planting should be done 6 weeks prior to ground freeze. In South Central Wisconsin, that is about the 2nd week of October. Planting too early will allow the clove not only to root but to send up a green shoot. Shoot emergence is not desirable since winter kill would waste plant energy. Planting late, may not allow the clove sufficient time to initiate its roots and anchor itself in the soil which may result in winter injury and heaving out of the ground in the spring.
Cloves are separated from the bulb just prior to planting. For clove separation, we use an old fashioned potato peeler. Put the curve of the peeler down the stem of the hard neck. Then pull the peeler to the right to break the bulb is half being careful not to damage any cloves. Then separate each clove. You may choose to plant only the large cloves and eat the smaller ones.
Prepare the soil to ensure a balanced incorporation of organic matter and fertilizer, and to loosen the planting bed. You may choose to have a soil test. These are done by local county extension offices and provide great information. Our organic mentor farmer, Davy Varney from One Sun Farm in Viroqua, recommended putting the garlic to sleep for the winter with a blanket of horse manure over the garlic. It provides great organic matter, it continues to compost through the winter, and provides nitrogen without burning the garlic.
Row and clove spacing:
Rows should be placed about 18” apart. Although some grows use only 12” row center. Row spacing is dictated by the grower’s preference or by the size of cultivation equipment. We use 30” on center due to our planting, cultivation and harvesting equipment. They need all the nutrition they can find, and to avoid competition they should not be crowded.
Select cloves should be planted three to four inches apart and the top of the clove twice the depth of the clove height. You may choose six inches apart for very large size cloves.
Mulch and moisture:
Garlic has a better survival rate when mulch is applied. Mulch insulates and prevents the freezing/thawing action which can heave cloves out of the ground. If snow cover can be assured, that is adequate mulch. Otherwise, straw can be applied four inches deep. An organic mulch should be loose enough so the garlic shoots can emerge through it in the spring. Another idea, which we use, is to plant the garlic into 6-9” of green oats that was planted about 6 weeks earlier. The oats will be winter killed and provide some protection as mulch over the winter and in early spring. Mulch will also provide conserve soil moisture.
1. Plant Garlic in the Fall 6 weeks prior to freeze.
2. Seperate the cloves from each bulb.
3. You may choose to do a fish emulsion soak
After the cloves are seperated, put them in a bucket of warm water with a tablespoon of Baking Soda and a tablespoon of Fish Emulsion. Soak for an hour or so. Drain. Then put cloves into a bucket of Vodka, so they can soak for 10 minutes. This gives them a fertilizer boost and reduces diseases that could be carried with the garlic. I highly recommend this step!!!!
4. Plant into prepared soil about 3" deep and 3-4" apart with the tip of the clove up and the root side down.
5. Put mulch over your garlic and wait until spring!
6. In the spring, weed.
7. In June, keep weeding, but also pick the scapes off the hardneck garlics. Eat them! They are delicious.
8. Harvest when the bottom leaves are dying off.
9. Cure garlic out of the sun until they are dry - about 3 weeks.
10. Eat and enjoy!
We sustainably manage our soil to ensure that we have the proper balance of nutrients and minerals to produce the healthiest GARLIC BULBS!