Browse F.A.Q. Topics
How Long Will My Garlic Keep?
This question is hard to answer, because not everyone stores their garlic the same way, under the same conditions. You will want to store your garlic somewhere dark and cool with good ventilation. DO NOT store your garlic in the fridge or in an airtight container. Different types of garlic store for different lengths of time depending on the tightness of the bulb wrappers and when it was harvested.
Generally speaking, here are the average storage times for our different cultivars:
- Asiatics (3-5 months)
- Rocamboles (4-5 months)
- Turbans (4-5 months)
- Purple Stripes (6-7 months)
- Porcelains (6-7 months)
- Creoles (7-8 months)
- Artichoke Softnecks (8-10 months)
When Is My Garlic Ready To Harvest?
Garlic is usually ready by Mid July, or whenever around half of the leaves have turned brown. The exception to this are our Asiatic and Turban cultivars. They tend to mature a few weeks earlier than the rest of our garlics and can go from 'not ready' to 'past ready' in a matter of days! With these, you will want to harvest when just a few of the bottom leaves have turned brown. Make sure you do not water heavily during the last two weeks, as you want little moisture to help the garlic dry and cure faster and with less chance of mold/spoilage.
Once you have determined that your garlic is ready, loosen the soil around each bulb and gently remove the bulb, shaking off excess soil. Garlic needs a period of time to 'cure', usually somewhere between 2-6 weeks depending on the humidity. Hang your garlic in bunches of 8-12 plants somewhere well ventilated until all the leaves have turned brown and there is no moisture in the 'neck' above the bulb. At this point, you can cut the stalks and roots off and clean the garlic by removing the outer bulb wrapper.
What Do I Do With These Scapes?
Sometime in June, if you planted hardneck garlic, your plants will send up flower stalks. Though beautiful, you will want to cut these off so that the plant sends all its energy into those delicious bulbs. Once the scapes begin to uncurl, snip or snap them off as close to the top leaf as you can. Don't throw them away! They are very delicious, chopped raw in salads, stir fried or grilled like asparagus, or even pickled! We also make a killer garlic scape pesto with them!
How Do I Plant My Garlic?
When you receive your garlic, open the box so that it can breathe. You will want to store it somewhere cool and dry until you are ready to plant it. Garlic needs to be planted six weeks before the ground freezes. For much of the US, this is sometime in October. Here in CO, we usually have mild fall temperatures so we tend to plant around Halloween. The trick is to get good root growth but keep the sprouts from emerging from the soil.
Garlic is not terribly picky, but the better your soil is, the better your garlic will turn out. We recommend getting your soil tested to find out what may need to be added. Compost is a great addition and helps keep the garlic happy. Keep your used coffee grinds and spread them over your garlic as a great slow release nitrogen source! Raised beds do a good job of keeping the garlic well drained.
When your soil is ready, we recommend planting garlic 6 inches apart in rows, with 8 inches of space between rows. Plant each clove about 3 inches deep, with the tip facing up. Make sure there is at least 2 inches of soil over top of the clove tips. We highly encourage you to use 2-4 inches of mulch to help keep your garlic from getting damaged during any major temperature fluctuations over the winter. Mulching will also help conserve water and suppress weeds during the growing season. We use weed free straw/hay that has not been sprayed or treated. To ensure your mulch is herbicide free without relying on a verbal assurance, consider planting some peas or beans in a test pot with your mulching material mixed into the soil. If your plants come up struggling and yellowish after a few weeks you may have treated straw or hay. Some types of herbicides can linger for years, so choose your mulch carefully!
Garlic needs to be kept weed free, as it is a poor competitor for nutrients and bulb size will suffer if there are weeds. Garlic is fairly drought tolerant, but make sure it receives enough water. Too much water or too moist of conditions can result in the bulb rotting.
When Will My Garlic Ship?
We will start shipping garlic in late August/early September after it has cured. We will ship orders out in the order they were received, so place your order early! Garlic is typically shipped via FedEx 3 day, and you will receive a tracking number when your order ships.
How Much Garlic Do I Need?
If you are planting seed garlic, there are all sorts of calculations that folks recommend to figure out how much you need. However, we like to keep it simple and tell our customers to expect an average of 6lbs yield per lb planted. This is assuming they are planting several different varieties! Generally speaking, softnecks tend to have more cloves on average than hardnecks. More cloves equates to more garlic planted which means a higher yield. Clove count can vary quite a bit within the different types of garlic, for example, some Porcelain hardnecks average just four large cloves per bulb, while some Purple Stripe hardnecks may have up to 12 smaller cloves. It's always best to err on the side of caution and order a bit more than you think you will need, because let's face it, there could be worse things than having delicious garlic leftover to use in your kitchen! (Like having NO garlic leftover to use in your kitchen!)