Where can I purchase garlic?

edgman(z7MD East)September 18, 2006

I would like to try my hand at garlic growing but when I look online at the numerous vendors they seem to be charging a lot of money for these garlic cloves that can be grown. I would almost pay $18-$20 per pound but them you have another $8-$10 in shipping charges. Sorry,but that is a ripoff to me. I ship goods to Japan on a regular basis and a pound of goods cost me a lot less than $8-10 shipping to go international. I am basically a tomato and pepper grower (non-commercial), just back yard stuff and buy most of my seeds and plants online from Heirloom Seeds and a few other companies like them. What I need to know is there a place that anyone knows that will sell various garlic plants, cloves, bulbs, etc. at a reasonable price? I live in Z7 Maryland on the Eastern Shore. Right on the bay.

Thank you for all your anticipated help.

Tom R (the edgman)

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gardenlad(6b KY)

First off, I'd like to know where you are getting your figures from?

The highest priced garlic seed I've seen is $16/pound. Expensive? Maybe. But not nearly the twenty bucks you're talking about. And shipping on a pound of garlic should only run about $6 or so. Anyone charging you ten bucks is definately ripping you off.

That said, you might check around locally at farmer's markets, health food stores, and the like. I just picked up some beautiful Music at a health food place, for instance, for $10.84/lb.

There is nothing I know of with the kind of return on investment as garlic. I once worked out the actual figures for somebody, using a couple of assumptions: 1. that you replant everything, and 2. that you get 100% germination and harvest.

Based on that, the cost per bulb drops to 1.9 cents in the third growing year, and to a virtual zero after that. So to me, the initial investment is irrelevent.

But to keep even that cost down, consider smaller amounts. The average hardneck variety has 60 cloves/pound. If you start with just a half pound, then you'll get at least 28 heads the first year. Even eating some of that leaves plenty as seed stock, being as there are, roughly, 5-6 heads per pound (depending, of course, on variety).

Your bigger problem is going to be finding suppliers that stilll have the varieties you want. Most suppliers recommend you order in March or April for fall delivery, in order to assure both quality and quantity.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 7:55AM
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edgman(z7MD East)

To gardenlad. Thanks for the quick response. The places I mentioned were gourmetgarlicgardens.com and thegarlicstore.com. Another one is Charliesfarm.com who is down to about $14-$16 a pound and I did not check his shipping prices as he did not have much variety. What I failed to mention is that I am looking for a sampler pack although the prices on single heads are also that high. You can't see the shipping chrges till you are checking out. No wonder they have a lot available. I may just have to bite the bullet and order from one of them this year. It also states that a lot of types only store for 2-4 months while others store for up to a year. How could I hold some of the short storage ones for next years harvest? I will be asking some more of my stupid questions in the next few weeks.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:47AM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

I started with garlic from the produce dept. Then I found a garlic grower at a farmers market. I bought Red Korean and Italian from him.
last week i bought some from the local canned goods store, that I will plant.
i guess I am not so picky about garlic yet, that I would pay more than $4 a pound for starts. i have discovered that I do prefer hard necks to soft neck. the way the cloves are divided in the hard neck does make it easier to peel.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 12:26PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Tom, I've never heard of a garlic that only stores for two months. Even 4 months is a bit on the short side.

As a general rule (and there are, of course, exceptions) you can expect hardnecks to store for 6-8 months, softnecks for about a year.

Now, as to your question about next year's harvest. In most of the country, garlic is fall planted. October and November are typical planting months. The cloves will set roots, and maybe even send up some greenery. They'll then go dormant (actually, semi-dormant), and start to grow again, in the spring, in earnest.

Typically, for most varieties, harvest takes place in June and July in Zone 7.

So, whatever you wind up ordering, you will plant it this fall and harvest next summer. Of that harvest, you're want to reserve the best (i.e., largest cloves) for seed stock.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 5:05PM
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edgman(z7MD East)

Hey gardenlad! Saw in another thread that you said "take me striper fishing and I'll plant your garlic for you". If that was you that said that come on over to the beautiful Eastern shore. I'm right on the Cheasapeake at Crystal Beach. Stripers are really heating up. They should be up in front of our beach in about two weeks. I just got back from Tolchester. Caught a beautiful 28 inch Striped bass and two large sea bass. As with everything I catch it's released. Caught a nice bushel of crabs on Friday. Anyway went on to ebay, did a search and there was a number of people selling garlic with different varities going from $2-$6 a pound and shipping 2-4 bucks. Should have went there first.

Thanks again. More questions coming. I drove them nuts on the composting forum with my questions. As usual they love to answer questions.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 5:26PM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

Edgman is correct. I looked a few weeks ago online and in catalogs. Prices vary from $9.99 to $18 possible $20 a pound, most were $15 a pound. Many charge s&h to boot! Many varieties were sold out, soft necks were not wanted so I was really limited to choice. I think it is very expensive, a rip off, perhaps!

I have been going to health food stores and farmer's markets. I have paid $4 to $6 a pound.

The best source was a local farmers market, the guy is organic and has 15-20 varieties tho in the 2 weeks I talked to him he had the same 4 or 5 varieties. If I wanted, I could have gone to his farm to look over the bulbs for the biggest and other varieties. I thanked him but was content with the varieties I chose and he said basically the bulbs at the farm were about the sizes I was picking out, oh and he charges $4 a pound. I bought 2 pounds on Saturday and 3 pounds on the previous Saturday. From him I have a lot of music, german white and a small amount of georgian crystal. I bought about 2 pounds from 2 health food stores but I'm keeping the music and I am eating the smallish bulbs with small cloves an unknown variety. The farmers bulbs are the best.

I have some really, really large cloves from the grocery store in case I need some extra but I think the hard necks I have now will plant a 4' X 12' bed 6" on center. If I bought all those hard necks from a seed company I'd have paid $50 to $100!

as to holding short duration storage bulbs, you harvest in mid to late july here in CT and plant on columbus day. so you only have to store your seed for 3 months.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 12:22PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

I just bit the bullet and bought 1/2 lb of chesnok red and music from The Garlic Store. S&H was included. Still that was high and I couldn't afford to buy the amount I REALLY wanted. I wasn't as fortunate as Tom & Gardenlad and couldn't find those types locally. I did however find a Romanian red @ $7.99 lb at the local organic grocer. Tommorow I'm gonna make a trip down the road to a large farmers market and hope I can find more.
Three Oaks Farm sells garlic for a much better price than any places I've seen on line but alas, I waited too long to order and they were sold out. They don't accept credit cards, just checks or a money order.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:40PM
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edgman(z7MD East)

To aka peggy. Just go on ebay and search for garlic. Then narrow that down to Seeds and bulbs. I purchased 5 diff. kind (I large bulb each) from a grower in Western PA for less than $4 dollars. Shipping was only 2.50. Tonight I went to ebay and saw one dealer selling Music and some other brand for about 3.00 plus $2 shipping. Both of the dealers are large growers who have found ebay as a place to attract more customers. I have checked them out and indeed they are large garlic farmers in Western PA and the other in NY state. As a dealer in Brewery memorabilia I had found out the same thing. You can reach more customers on ebay than anywhere else. Now I will have more garlic seeds than I know what to do with.

edgman (Tom R)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 12:49AM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Yo, Tom. What you don't plant, just eat. It's the same garlic no matter what.

Best bet, though, is to plant the larger cloves and reserve the small ones for eating. That way you get large bulbs at harvest.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 7:49AM
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I got my start of garlic from a local grower and of elephant garlic from a couple of heads purchased at a produce market. Ordering small quantities from a grower to be shipped is expensive - better to find a local source at farmer's market or organic store or something like that.
And, as said above, use the small cloves in the kitchen and use the big ones for planting as they'll make the biggest heads next year. Plant by October 12th if possible, though I've done it later.
Here in the Northeast, you'll be happiest with hardneck garlic - the kind with a stiff stem growing out of the middle of the head. It has much larger cloves and is better adapted to cold winters.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 5:58PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

I'm a little behind this season... I too have found lots of garlic sites on the net with high prices and very little left. BUT, I found a bunch of garlic farms in NY that still have stuff left, and in the $7.00 to $8.00/lb range. Music, German White, German Red, Inchillium Red, Italian Red, Ukrainian, Siberian, Romanian Red, Italian Purple Stripe, Russian Red & Russian White, Danube Rose, etc...

I think the bigger internet sites are charging about double (or more) of what the NY garlic farms charge. And there's still some stuff on ebay too--I just bought a 6 head assortment for $9 delivered. Plus Martin helped me out too.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 11:31AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

OK, it's almost a year later... everything I planted turned out great. Siberian, most heads were over 3". I planted about 10 varieties total including elephant, which isn't a true garlic.

Now... who trades garlic? I'm always looking for different varieties to try.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 6:30PM
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Well, I did just receive my order from www.theGarlicStore.com:

Polish Hardneck
Polish White
German Red
Georgian Crystal
Bonus: Transylvanian

I didn't get any bulbs from last year that were bigger than 2" though. I'm still pleased with what I have.

Anyway, is there anything listed here that you'd be interested in?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 10:27PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

Pomona, thanks for the offer! I actually ordered some varieties from someone down near you. How much of each variety did you get?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 12:57PM
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I got a 1/2 lb of each, which comes out to 3-4 bulbs per variety. Except for my bonus, which was 2 bulbs. I have no complaints.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 7:23PM
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