Frequently Asked Questions about choosing garlic planting stock, planting garlic, how to grow garlic, harvesting garlic and much more.
General Garlic Seed FAQ’s
A question from a customer about plants starting to sprout in late October, early November…
“I have a Turban question. We’ve planted our Turbans and the ones that were planted 2 weeks ago are already up. Is that unusual or normal? I’m fearful we are going to have a mild winter. How do you grow such awesome Turbans? Joanne. ”
My answer to Joanne…
That is totally normal, especially for the Turbans. The Turbans are the earliest varieties to start to sprout and they often sprout and start to grow before winter.
If you want, you can put an extra layer of mulch on and between the green plants. Just be sure to pull some away in the spring.
They are very hardy plants and can handle cold winters. Just be careful that the little plants don’t get stepped on.
Good luck! Terri”
What are the best garlic varieties to grow in a warm climate?
Answer: Growing garlic in warm climates, Zones 7 through 10, the softneck garlic varieties are the best choice. The Softnecks include: Artichokes and Silver Skins. Artichokes: California Early, Chet’s Italian Red, Chinese Red & White, Early Italian Red, Inchelium Red, Polish White, Red Toch, Siciliano, Susanville and Transylvanian. Silver Skins: Nootka Rosa and Silver White. If you want to try a hardneck variety, the Creole group is your best choice. The Creoles are Ajo, Rojo, Burgundy and Keeper. The Marbled Purple Stripe group is another good choice, Marbled Purple Stripe varieties include: Bogytar, Brown Tempest, Kahbar, Metechi and Siberian. For early harvesters, you can try the Turban group varieties. As early harvesters, they will be harvested before the extreme summer heat sets in. The Turban varieties to choose from are: China Stripe, Chinese Purple, Morado Giant, Red Janice, Shantang Purple, Thai Fire, Thai Purple, Tuscan and Xian.
What are the best garlic varieties to grow in a cold winter climate?
Answer: Growing garlic in cold climates, Zones 1 through 6, the hardneck garlic varieties are the best choice. The Hardnecks include: Asiatics, Creoles, Glazed Purple Stripes, Marbled Purple Stripes, Porcelains, Purple Stripes, Rocamboles and Turbans. A few sub-varieties that thrive in extremely cold winter climates are the Purple Stripes [Chesnok Red, Persian Star and Shatili], Marbled Purple Stripes [Bogytar, Metechi and Siberian] and the Porcelains [Leningrad, Romanian Red and Premium Northern White]. There are also a few Artichoke softneck varieties will do well in cold climates, they are: Polish White, Red Toch, Susanville and Transylvanian.
What are some spicy/hot garlic varieties?
Answer: Here are a few ideas for spicy garlic.
- Asiatic, hardneck garlic [Korean Mountain, Pyong Vang]
- Glazed Purple Stripe, hardneck garlic [Purple Glazer, Velek]
- Porcelain, hardneck garlic [Georgia Fire, Romanian Red]
- Purple Stripe, hardneck garlic [Chesnok Red, Persian Star, Shatili]
- Silverskin softneck garlic [Nootka Rose, Silver White]
- Turban, hardneck garlic [Shantang Purple, Thai Fire, Thai Purple]
- What are some mild garlic varieties that are not too hot?
Answer: Here are a few ideas for mild garlic that is not too hot.
- Artichoke, softneck garlic [Early Italian Red, Red Toch, Susanville]
- Creole, hardneck garlic [Ajo Rojo, Burgundy, Keeper]
- Marbled Purple Stripe, hardneck garlic [Siberian]
- Rocambole hardneck garlic… see below [German Red, Russian Red, Slovenian, Spanish Roja]
- For a sweeter garlic flavor and the best garlic to eat raw are the Rocamboles [German Red, Russian Red, Slovenian and Spanish Roja and the Creoles [Ajo Rojo, Burgundy, Keeper]
What is the difference between hardneck garlic and softneck garlic?
Answer: Here are some of the different characteristics of hardneck garlic and softneck garlic.
- Hardnecks grow well in cold climates. They are characterized by a hard woody stem in the center of the cloves. They tend to be hotter in flavor than softnecks. They are more desired by chef’s because of their exceptional flavor and large easy to peel cloves. In general, hardneck garlic has a shorter shelf life than softneck garlic, but there are exceptions: the Creole hardneck varieties [Ajo Rojo, Burgundy, Keeper,] have exception storage qualities. The hard woody stem will develop a flower (or scape) if not it is not removed. If the scape is not removed, the garlic plant will put energy into growing the flower rather than bulb development. Therefore the scape must be removed, we call this “popping scapes” (see The Garlic Calendar) and it requires more labor than growing softnecks. These garlic scapes are edible and chefs love them. See Garlic Recipes for garlic scape recipes.
- Softnecks grow well in warmer climates. They are more common and easier to grow than hardneck garlic, therefore they are typically the garlic that is sold in super markets. They have large outer cloves surrounded by smaller inner cloves. They have a soft stem and are used for braiding garlic. Softneck garlic has a longer shelf life than hardnecks. They have milder flavor and heat. They do not develop a scape, so the “popping scapes” step is not required.
How many cloves per bulb in each variety?
- Asiatics: 60 – 65 cloves per pound.
- Creoles: 35 – 45 cloves per pound.
- Glazed Purple Stripes: 50-60 cloves per pound.
- Marbled Purple Stripes: 35 -45 cloves per pound.
- Porcelains: 35 -45 cloves per pound.
- Purple Stripes: 50 – 60 cloves per pound.
- Rocamboles: 45-60 cloves per pound.
- Turbans: 60 – 65 cloves per pound.
- Artichokes: 60 – 75 cloves per pound.
- Silver Skin: 60-75 cloves per pound.
How much garlic seed will I need to plant?
Answer: You will plant your garlic seed 6 inches apart. So whatever your square footage is, multiply it by 2. For example, for a 5 X 5 plot. You will plant 2 cloves in each foot, so that equals 10 plants in 10 rows. Multiply 10 x 10 and you get 100 cloves. For 100 cloves you will need approximately 1 & ½ to 2 pounds of garlic seed. (See chart above for approximately how many bulbs per pound in each sub-variety .)
- For a 2.5 x 2.5 plot you will need 50 cloves
- For a 5 x 5 plot you will need 100 cloves
- For a 10 x 10 plot you will need 400 cloves
- For a 20 x 20 plot you will need 1600 cloves
- For a 1/8 acre you will need approximately 40-65 pounds
- For a ¼ acre you will need approximately 75-125 pounds
- For a ½ acre you will need approximately 150-250 pounds
- For 1 acre you will need approximately 300-500 pounds