Garlic Growing Guide

Blossom Turban Garlic

All garlic ships in the fall: September - November. We ship to northern-most areas first. Shipping surcharges apply - $2 for one item, $4 total for any two or more fall shipped items (including onion bulbs and woodland medicinals).

For more in-depth growing information, see our Garlic & Perennial Onion Growing Guide, which will also be included with your shipment of bulbs.

7 Quick Tips for Beginning Garlic Growers

1. Plant at the right time in the Fall. In the mid-Atlantic (PA to NC) and large areas of the Mid- West (roughly climate zones 5 -8) we plant mid-October to mid-November. Adjust for your climate zone. Planting too early results in too much fall leaf growth which is damaged by winter cold. You can plant later but will get a lower yield.
2. Get your seed garlic from a reputable source, such as Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Don't plant garlic from the store; it may have been treated.
3. Plant unpeeled cloves root side down at proper depth approximately 6" apart. In the mid- Atlantic (zones 5-8) plant 1" to 11⁄2" deep. Plant deeper in colder zones. Larger cloves from larger bulbs will do best. Larger cloves from smaller bulbs will do better than smaller cloves.
4. Plant in well-drained soil with lots of organic matter, a neutral pH, and good fertility. Fall, not spring, is the best time to add compost or other fertility amendments. Incorporate lots of organic matter. Check your soil acidity; strive for a pH of 6.5-7.0. Too much moisture can be a problem in the winter garden. Raised beds may help.
5. Mulch thickly. Mulch protects from winter cold and suppresses weeds
6. In late winter, uncover growing leaves from the mulch, if necessary. As the weather warms, control weeds and maintain even moisture. Garlic doesn't compete well with weeds. Keeping the weeds down is easiest if you cultivate early and often. Late winter and early spring is when your garlic is starting to really grow. Irrigate if you don't get enough rain. Even one very dry spell will reduce yield and bulb size. Maintain mulch.
7. Harvest at the right time and cure properly. Harvest when the lower 1/3 of leaves turn brown. Curing is very important for good storage. Cure under well-ventilated, warm, dry conditions for 1-2 months.

Softneck (Braiding) Garlic

Allium sativum var. sativum

Characteristics: Softneck garlics are more domesticated and have evolved from hardneck garlics. They have lost the ability to produce topsets, hence the center of the bulb has a soft braidable neck. Softneck garlics are more productive, more widely adapted, have better storage quality, and are easier to grow than hardneck garlics, but they are slightly less cold-hardy in extreme northern areas. Clove count per bulb is much higher but many varieties have small interior cloves. We have had yields (by weight) as high as 16:1, but 5 or 8:1 is more typical. There are two horticultural groups of softneck garlics: The artichoke type and the silverskin type. Artichoke types are the largest, most widely adapted, and most productive, typically with 3-5 layers of cloves that give the bulb a lumpy appearance. Silverskin types have smooth, usually white bulb scales. They produce the most uniform and attractive bulbs, and are therefore popular for braiding. Cloves tend to be held tightly in the bulb and do not separate as easily as those of the artichoke type. Silverskin types are popular in western and southern states, but they also perform well in eastern states.

Hardiness Zones: Recommended for zones 3 to 9.

Starter Package: Softneck garlic is sold by weight rather than clove count. Bulb size varies according to crop conditions. Bulbs usually weigh an ounce or more.

Softneck (Braiding) Garlic varieties

Hardneck (Rocambole, Topsetting) Garlic

Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon

Culinary Notes: Rocambole garlics are enjoying a renaissance: gardeners and gourmet restaurants are discovering the merits of many varieties previously unavailable. We especially enjoy using the fresh green tops as an ingredient in salads. The cloves of rocambole are large and easy to peel, and as a rule they are more diverse in flavor than those of softneck garlics.

Characteristics: Rocambole garlics do not yield as heavily as softneck garlics and they require better soil and slightly more care to maximize yields. They do best from Virginia northward (north of latitude 37 degrees), but some widely adapted varieties can be successfully grown in southern areas. Rocambole garlic produces bulbs that divide underground to produce cloves in the same manner as softneck garlic, but unlike softneck garlic, rocambole sends up a scape (flower stalk) which coils into a 360-degree turn, then straightens out to produce a cluster of bulblets (topsets) at the top of the stalk. Coiled stalks can be removed and dried for use in flower arrangements. The bulblets emerge under the cover of a paper-thin "night cap." Though the bulblets can be planted it can take 2 years to produce mature bulbs. Best results are obtained by planting large cloves.

Harvest and Yield: Yields (by weight) may range from a low of 3:1 to a high of 8:1 depending on growing conditions. For highest yields, remove the scape (or "seed stalk") at the junction of the highest leaf as soon as the scape has uncoiled from its 360 degrees turn. Each week the scape remains after this stage causes a yield reduction of approximately 5%. Bulbs are harvested about 4 weeks after the 360 degrees turn stage, when leaves begin to yellow but while 6-8 green leaves remain. Most varieties store well for 3-6 months.

Hardiness Zones: Widely adapted varieties are recommended for zones 3-8, otherwise zones 3-6.

Starter Package: Rocambole garlic is sold by weight rather than clove count. Bulb size varies according to crop conditions.

Hardneck (Rocambole, Topsetting) Garlic varieties

Asiatic & Turban Garlic

Allium sativum

Characteristics: Asiatic and Asiatic Turban garlic are tentatively identified as an artichoke subtype. Unlike most artichokes types, the stems are hardneck; however, in warm climates, they may revert to softneck. Very early maturing, they size well even without the removal of scapes (flowers). Asiatic garlic often has a striped skin. It matures suddenly and should be harvested as soon as the first leaves begin to turn brown, otherwise the bulbs may split open before harvest. Long scapes. Stores 4-6 months. The flavor is rich and creamy when lightly baked, and very hot and spicy when raw. Asiatic Turban is the earliest maturing garlic. Doesn't store for long – usually starts to sprout before fall planting. Pretty purple-striped wrappers, turban-shaped bulbs, very short scape.

Hardiness: recommended for zones 3 to 9.

Starter packages: Asiatic garlic is sold by weight rather than clove count. Bulb size varies according to crop conditions.

Asiatic & Turban Garlic varieties

Elephant Garlic

Allium ampeloprasum

Culinary Uses: Elephant garlic is mild and sweet enough to be sliced raw and served in salads or steamed as a vegetable with butter and bread crumbs. Use it to impart garlic flavor to meats, vegetables, and salads without concern about excessive garlic flavor. The large cloves are easy to peel, grate, dry, and prepare.

Storage: Withstands temperatures well below freezing and has a shelf life of at least 10 months when properly stored.

Elephant Garlic varieties

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