new to growing alliums -- space & how much garlic to buy

cindybird(Zone 5)August 5, 2009

I have a garden plot that will be 24 feet by 3 1/2 feet. It's destined for potatoes, garlic, and shallots.

Will making the garlic portion 8 feet long be too long?

Half the garlic section will be in artichoke-type garlic, the other in purple stripe.

I can plant leftover small cloves for scapes elsewhere.

How many lbs of each garlic type should I order?



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TJG911(z5b CT)

8' x 3 1/2'? why do you ask if it is too long? only you know how much garlic you want to harvest. base your space requirement upon 6" spacing for the number of bulbs you want, that will tell you how many cloves to plant and how much to buy. if you want 50 bulbs i'd plant 55, want 100 plant 105.

personally i recommend that you buy your garlic at a farmer's market or from a local farmer. if you want specific varieties and can't find them then buy from a supplier. the cost of the former vs the latter is about 1/2 the price.

i just remember you want potatoes, frankly your entire plot will produce very few potatoes, figure planting potato seed 8" or 10" on center and 1 to 4 pounds yield per plant. potatoes imo are a waste of space. i have very good soil and do well with everything i grow, except potatoes. typically a 4' X 40' row planted 8" or 10" on center has 36 to 38 plants and i get about 33 maybe 45 pounds. waste of space. if i grew anything else in that space i'd have multiple wheel barrows full of it! just my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:08PM
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cindybird(Zone 5)

let me clarify and simplify --

if I want to plant ~55 bulbs of Polish softneck garlic and ~55 bulbs of German White hardneck garlic, how many pounds of each should I buy from a supplier? Assuming I'm buying from a supplier and not the farmer's market?

(tig911 -- thanks for responding. The farmer's market is a great idea)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:25PM
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Hi Cindy,

In a 3.5' x 8' space I would plant four 8' rows spaced 12" apart. Within the rows, space the garlic 6" as Tom noted. This would give room for 64 plants.

Figure one pound of large garlic averages six bulbs (5-7 depending on the size). Each bulb should yield about six large cloves for planting - use the remaining smaller cloves in cooking. So, for 64 planting cloves you would need about 1.75 pounds, or figure two pounds of garlic.

Look for a garlic gathering or festival in your area or a local farmer as Tom suggested. That way you can select the bulbs you want and even count the large cloves before buying. And they are cheaper than buying on the Internet.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 6:13PM
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You know, if you end up with garlic left over after planting you can always EAT IT. Nothing different between the kind you buy to plant and the kind you buy to eat except that you want the biggest bulbs with the biggest cloves to plant out.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 8:33AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I am new to growing garlic as well and ordered from I haven't yet received my order but am hoping I'll have extra to share/trade. The confirmation email said the bulbs would ship mid-August. I didn't want pounds of one type and wegrowgarlic better met my needs, as they sell by the bulb, vs by the pound.

My goal is to find varieties with large cloves that store well. Is that possible?? LOL. I ordered about 20 kinds.

When I googled garlic festivals, I did find one locally - early October.

I have traveled miles and miles to different markets and NONE of the garlic so far is identified. Although I'm sure non-identified garlic would taste yummy and grow well in my area, how can it be swapped??

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:16AM
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cindybird(Zone 5)

wcthomas -- that's the info I was looking for! Thanks so much

still_kris -- I have no objection to eating the extra garlic; I just need to watch the $ and come in under budget. :)

I was actually thinking of planting some of the leftover smaller cloves in my salad greens bed for scapes only.

everyone --

Thanks so much! I do plan on checking out our big farmer's market downtown a week from this Saturday. I'll try to post back with what I find and whether it was identified.

The two cultivars I mentioned were two that were recommended for this area by the university extension, so if worse comes to worse, I'll order those online.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Hi Cindy,

Not sure where you are, but zone 5 is cold enough to grow hardnecks. The artichoke variety you mentioned is likely a soft neck and will not put up scapes. I suggest you ask the farmers at your local farm market what varieties they recommend. German White and Music are porcelain type hardnecks that grow nice large bulbs in the north.

Planting time is mid October, so you have time to research which varieties do well for your area and meet your needs.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:36AM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

cindy are you near saugerties ny? they have a HUGE garlic festival last week in september. you can find others by googling.

i would not plant and waste space on rows being 12" apart. i plant a 5' X 10' or 5' X 15' bed. if a bed is no more than 4' wide you can weed from each side. you have to mulch so weeds should not be a issue. my point is plant all your garlic 6" on center from each clove, don't use rows for walking. your bed is small don't waste space.

i hope you forget potatoes as i said they waste a lot of space and yield very little. that same space planted in garlic will yield a lot of garlic.

i agree with tom on music and german white, large cloves and long storage. but many softnecks store longer than hardnecks. nootka rose has stored a full year plus already tho i am on the final cloves of the final bulb.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 12:06PM
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I put potatoes in after I harvest garlic from my raised beds and I get 13 to 15 pounds of potatoes from one pound of sets. I get 36-40 heads of garlic from the same space. Either way, a good yield, a better than normal yield for the spuds, actually.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 9:27AM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

All Good answers here, is a great source I agree...Karen is awesome. if she is out of what you're looking for give me a shot to fill your needs. I don't mind setting up a variety box for folks like you.

Here is a link that might be useful: my page

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 12:08PM
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