gourmet organic seed garlic

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Frequently Asked Seed Garlic Questions

About planting, harvesting and storing

We have whole pages devoted to how and when to plant, cutting scapes, harvesting, curing and storing garlic. This page is adressing questions that didn't fit on those pages.

What varieties are recommended for my area?

We recommend Porcelains for growing anywhere in Canada. However, they do require an extended period of cold and do not do well in hot climates. The other true hardnecks (Rocamboles, Purple Stripes, Marbled Purple Stripes and Glazed Purple Stripes) are almost as hardy and with a little care can be grown anywhere in Canada.

In wet areas we recommend Porcelains grown in raised beds.

We are in zone 4, at the limit of where some of the weakly bolting hardnecks and softnecks will grow and some of them are smaller here than they would be where it is warmer. In moderate climates, zone 4 and higher, anything we can grow you can grow.


Tropics
We cannot advise growers in tropical countries. Our links page points towards some websites that may be helpful.

Are green shoots through the mulch/soil before winter a problem?

Fall planted garlic sometimes shows green shoots before winter. While not ideal, this is not a serious problem. The tops will die off with winter and grow again in the spring.

Does planting eating garlic work?

The main problen with planting table garlic is that you do not know if it is carrying diseases. And, of course, the plants you grow won't taste any better than the garlic you planted.

Where can I find garlic for spring planting?

We sell all our seed garlic in the fall and so do most other seed sources and so it is very difficult to find seed garlic in the spring. If you prefer spring planting you need to keep your own seed garlic over winter.

Do you have Elephant garlic?

No, we only grow true garlics of the species Allium sativum. Elephant garlic is in the leek family and wild garlics belong to other allium species.

Why are the leaves of my garlic yellow?

Too much water and not enough sunshine is a common cause. If this is not the case then use the resources on our links page to help identify a pest or disease that may be causing the problem.

Is washing garlic all right?

Some growers wash their garlic. We prefer not to unless the bulbs are already very wet and muddy when they come out of the ground. Then a quick wash before beginning curing probably does no harm.

Can garlic be grown in pots?

We have heard many reports of growing garlic in pots. Usually the pots are brought into an unheated garage for the winter. Extra care is needed to maintain an even moisture level during the growing season and to prevent the soil from overheating.

How much does it cost to plant a large area to garlic?

A conservative estimate of the number of plants in an acre is 40,000 or about one per square foot. This allows generous spacing and paths. How much seed garlic you need depends on the varieties you choose and the size of cloves you plant. The most important thing is the quality of the bulbs, not their size. You can increase the size through extra fertilization. If the bulbs are diseased or of poor vitality they will not produce well, if at all.

Porcelain garlics often average four large cloves per bulb and there can be anywhere from five to twelve bulbs in a pound of planting quality garlic.  All the other garlics have more cloves per bulb. Marbled and Glazed Purple Stripes have 4 to 7 cloves per bulb and most of these will be big enough to plant. Standard Purple Stripes have 8 to 12 cloves per bulb  with great variation in size and you need to decide how small is too small. The Rocamboles also have lots of cloves (8 to 12) ranging from huge to tiny. Artichoke variety of softneck garlics can be large with 20 cloves of which about ten are recommended for planting. Other softnecks and the weakly bolting hardnecks vary considerably in the number of plantable cloves per bulb and the expected bulb size.

Our recommendation is to start small with excellent quality seed garlic and multiply up your planting stock over a few years. This allows you to learn the business and your garlic to adapt to your conditions.

Another option to consider is growing from bulbils.

What is your favourite garlic?

We have many, and we have tasted less than half the garlic we are growing. Our favourite Porcelains are Dan's Russian, Leningrad, Susan Delafield, Northern Quebec and Rosewood - each for a different reason and purpose. Among the various Purple Stripe varieties Persian Star, Chesnok Red, Kostyn's Red Russian and Red Rezan stand out. French Rocambole and Spanish Roja we find particularly delicious. Thai and Tibetan are weakly bolting hardnecks at opposite ends of the hotness scale and our only Creole, Burgundy, has an unbelievably rich flavour. Sicilian Gold and Western Rose are softnecks with tastes that appeal to us. And then there are all the others we love almost as much or that we haven't tasted yet.


 




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