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How to Grow Garlic:

If you have purchased garlic bulbs for seed and are waiting to plant your garlic, open your box, take out any packing materials and keep in your basement, in your house, or any cool dry place with plenty of good air flow but do NOT blow air directly on bulbs. We ship ours in a mesh bag which makes it easy for hanging and allowing air to circulate all around the bulbs.

  • Plant Garlic in the Fall, about 4 – 6 weeks before freezing.  Being in Northern Wisconsin we have found Early October to work best where Mid-October would be more likely for the more Southern climates of Wisconsin. 

  • Garlic grows best in well-drained soils, rich in organic matter. It is a heavy feeder and it is recommended to fertilize your soil with a good all-purpose fertilizer or compost.

  • Separate the cloves from each bulb.

  • You may choose to do a fertilizer soak to give them a boost which reduce diseases, increases plant health, and increases bulb size.

  • Place cloves into a container with fertilizer. Examples of fertilizers are kelp meal or fish emulsion.   There are also other fertilizer blends you can purchase.  Soaking can be at least 1 hour to overnight. If not able to plant right away they can soak for a couple of days but note that roots can begin developing the longer they are in the fertilizer.  

  • Soak the cloves in sterilizer for 10 – 15 minutes.   Sterilizers may be hydrogen peroxide, Isopropyl alcohol or vodka. Strain the cloves from the sterilizer.

  • NOTE:  This process can be reversed however you do need to plant the cloves as soon as the sterilizer has been drained away. Decide what is the best process for you.  If you feel that you may not be able to plant right away after removing from the sterilizer then switch the process.  In 2020 we did do the fertilization process (organ fish emulsion) first followed by the sterilizer (vodka) and are looking forward to seeing what, if any effects, this has on the bulbs.

  • Plant garlic into prepared soil about 3" deep and 6” apart with the tip of the clove up and the root side down.

  • Cover the tip of the clove with approximately 2’ of soil.

  • Put 3-6” of mulch over your garlic and wait until spring.  We use straw from a local farmer however other forms of mulch such as leaves can be used.

  • In the spring weeding is a must!!  Weeds compete for the garlic’s nutrients and the less weeds the better chance of larger, healthier garlic.

  • In June, it is important to pick the scapes off the hardneck garlic.This should be done as close to the top leaf as possible without bending the leaves. Wait until the scape has made one full circle before removing.  Removing too early may result in the garlic trying to form a new scape which will drain the nutrients from going to the bulb.  We find we may need to do 3 or 4 walk throughs to get all the scapes removed.  These are great to eat either as a side dish or to enhance a main dish.


  • It can be tricky to determine the time to harvest your garlic as different garlic varieties mature at different rates. Harvesting can occur when you have 5 full green leaves remaining or 50% of the leaves have died from the bottom.   We also recommend that when you think your garlic is approaching harvest time, to dig around the base and check the size of the bulbs and if the wrappers are still intact.  Harvesting earlier is better than late as you do not want the cloves to start to split apart before harvesting.

  • Harvest by digging under the garlic and lifting up.  We do all of our planting and harvesting by hand and use a pitch fork to carefully lift the garlic out of the ground.   Shake off any loose dirt.

  • Cure the garlic out of the sun in an area with good air circulation until they are dry - about 3 weeks depending on the conditions. Handle the bulbs gently to avoid bruising.  There are many different ways you can store the garlic while curing.  We have tied our Garlic in bunches of approximately 10-12 and hang using fans to keep good air circulation while they are drying. Do not blow the air directly onto the garlic. The curing is finished when all of the green of the plant has turned brown.

  • After curing, brush off the remaining dirt and cut the roots off to about a ¼ of an inch.

  • Properly store your garlic so it lasts as long as possible.

  • If storing for eating you can clean with a soft brush or rub off the outer wrapper gently.

  • Storing for seed garlic should be between 50 -68 degrees Fahrenheit in a well ventilated area.  We keep our garlic stored in our barn with normal temperatures outside however we are in Wisconsin so make sure you are taking your climate into consideration. Do not have air blowing directly on your seed garlic as it will dry out the garlic.  Do NOT store in plastic or anything sealed without air flow. You can store your seed stock in mesh bags, plastic crates, etc.

  • Note: Feel your bulbs for firmness and use them or get them planted if they are starting to soften.  Each variety is different and it is important to keep checking your garlic bulbs.   Some varieties can start to deteriorate in October where others may store well for 6-8 months. 

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