Planting Garlic

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)October 25, 2012

How much garlic do you plant?

This will be our first year with marketable quantities of garlic. We have raised a few in the past, for personal use, but never to sell.

We planted 35-40 pounds of garlic. 18, 45 foot rows. We spaced it 4 to 5 inches apart. That would be about 2000 to 2400 cloves. I figure we would keep back 1/4 for seed and sell the rest. Just trying to figure out if we way over planted. Customers ask for garlic, but we never have it. Next year it will be different!

One thing for sure, we won't have any Vampires in the area!

Jay

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brookw_gw

Hopefully, I can get my garlic in tonight. It has been raining here 3-4 days a week for the last month, and I'm behind. I finally was able to till up an area to put it in.

I have never actually counted cloves, but I average at least half of what you did. It always seems I could sell more. Sometimes, especially in a wet year, it doesn't keep too well, so I'm hesitant to invest that amount of time and space to it. I used to separate all the varieties but have ended up mixing them over the years. Most people are unconcerned w/varieties anyway. In addition to the garlic itself are the scapes, which have drawn a following all their own.

On a side note, after years of waiting, I finally built a curing shed for all my onions and garlic where I can hang them to dry. I also made it big enough to store other things in. Unfortunately, my mower self destructed last week and burned it down along with all my low tunnel materials and many other things. I shall rebuild. In a way, I was fortunate in that I usually parked the mower next to my tractor and my four-wheeler.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:56PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Sorry to hear about your loss of the building and mower, fires aren't cool!

I have been busting my butt trying to get it in. I wanted it in weeks ago, but the local person I was trying to buy a large quantity from stopped showing up at the Farmers Market. Finally I got ahold of him, last Saturday and bought two big boxes. Most of it was very good, but some was not.

On Monday and Wednesday nights, I worked until 1 am getting it planted. Last night, at 12:58 I finished up. At 1 am, it started raining. I think I cut it close enough. We only got .25 of an inch, but that is more than we have had in weeks!

I have more garlic that I could plant, I am just trying to figure out if I should. They are like onions, you only get one time to plant each year, so you better not screw it up!

About drying, how do you dry yours? We have an old chicken shed that I am going to clean out this winter so I can have a place to store stuff. I thought about using it.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 3:32PM
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brookw_gw

Jay, as long as the chicken shed gets good airflow, I'd say it would work great. I have been drying mine in my small tool shed at the house, but it nearly isn't big enough with everything else it contains plus the thousands of onions which mature about the same time--which means most of it goes in the shade of my woods. This works quite well except when you have a lot of rain. A little rain won't hurt at all, but excessive dampness can ruin them--or at best affect their keeping ability. Personally, I think hot sun is worse on them than a little rain. I prefer to bundle and tie several stalks together and hang them upside down until they're dry. If you plan on braiding them, it's easier to do before they're completely dry. For storage, I cut the stalks and roots and clean them up for sale.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:10PM
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cdevries(6a)

I put in around 2500 cloves this year too. Roughly 4 cloves per foot (3 or less for elephant garlic). About 1/2 of it was Music, 1/4 Elephant and 1/4 was Spanish Roja.

Since I haven't 100% decided what I'm doing next year, if I decide not to sell, I'm going to have a pile of garlic!

Planting is pretty easy. I tilled deeply and just pushed the cloves into the ground. I plan to cover with a good layer of straw before winter.

Chris

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:15PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Chris,

Thanks for sharing, now I can tell my wife someone else is as crazy as me! She thought that was a few too many. :)

Jay

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:25PM
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rustico_2009

Good luck with your future bumper crops of garlic!

I will plant 4 pounds. Hope to get a good seed base started for future years. Though I don't think a lot of it sells around here.

I am really excited to plant onions again....from seed on Nov. 10th, for transplant in January. We can plant short day in Nov. and intermediate day in February and March,also from seed. Besides starting my own, I'll order about 600 transplants from Dixondale...just in case.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 5:30PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I haven't planted mine yet. Every year is a big hassle for some reason. Now it has been raining, which is fine because I have a cold. I prepped mine Monday night= 1050 cloves and at least a few hundred shallots. I have 3 beds to finish prepping before I plop them in- hopefully tomorrow if my cold is good enough!



I have 15 varieties but some are low on count due to state wide Asters Yellows here. Even at the garlic festival there were many vendors with nothing to sell or few varieties that didn't get it. I could only buy 1 new variety this year at the festival- Tzan.

I am going to do a baking soda, compost tea soak for a few hours and then a quick soak in peroxide to make sure none still have the disease.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:17PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

Next week we will start planting around 3000 cloves of garlic. The stock comes from garlic we save back for seed garlic (around 150 corms of 4 types-it all fills 2 bushel baskets, I have no idea the weight). These will be planted into 4 100' x 3' beds with 3 rows per bed 6" apart with 12" between rows.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 7:50AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

It is sounding like I have planted a decent amount, in fact, I am thinking about putting in a few additional rows in a different location.

Thanks Lucy for giving me an idea on what your seed stock looks like. I bought all my seed garlic from another local vendor at a different farmers market. They started coming to our market after theirs closed for the season. They had a lot of produce still available and didn't want to waste it.

They wanted to sell me all they had and be done with it, so I bought two banana boxes of uncleaned garlic. I went through it all and selected the best ones to use for seed and we are eating and selling the rest. If we are lucky and it sells well this winter, I will be able to pay for the seed and then have my garlic for free.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:21AM
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ekgrows

Just got 1718 cloves into the ground Wednesday. Seems we can never grow enough, we are normally sold out before it is even cured! We have 11 types of garlic this year. We make signs with descriptions and names, and people will often buy many different types. We sell way more garlic than anyone else at the market, I think because we note the different types. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I had no idea there were so many different types of garlic"!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:21AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Garlic and shallots are wonderful crops that are expensive to start with and then free after that! They grow exponentially into more and more and more. You gotta love that.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 10:55AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

11 types, wow! I am not very knowledgeable about Garlic, but I am assuming that there are big differences in flavor and color? How do you keep them all straight?

Littleminnie: The expense has been one of the reasons not to get started with garlic. When I had this opportunity to buy this garlic, I took it and ran! Garlic seems to grow best to the area it is acclimated to, so this was a rare find. Don't know too many people who grow garlic in my area.

Jay

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 12:18PM
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brookw_gw

I like trying all the different varieties, but I'm no conoisseur and cannot distinguish significant difference in flavor--size and appearance: YES. The latter seem to be what most of my customers are interested in. Some want the large size like Music for roasting whole while others prefer a smaller-sized bulb w/many cloves for general purpose. The cost of seed garlic is just exorbitant, IMO. The last I bought was from Bloosquall's, and I added at least 8 new varieties to my collection. Unfortunately, the owner passed away. Most suppliers sell out pretty early as well, and I'm always running late.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:07PM
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ekgrows

Major differences I've found is size and appearance. I've never sat down and had a garlic taste test - like I have with tomatoes, so don't really notice a difference in flavors. Besides, I only get the bulbs we damage when harvesting, so I never know what I'm eating! LOL. Hardnecks are our best sellers, just because of the larger heads / cloves. It also seems to be a personal connection thing. Oh - this variety is from Poland, and I'm Polish, or this one was found in the Ozarks, I used to live there.

Anyway - I think you made a good move by adding garlic, especially since not a lot of people in your area grow it. Almost everyone grows it here, so the only way we can compete is by offering different types.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:27PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Finally found the camera, here is a pic of the new garlic patch. 5 beds, 45 feet long. There are 4 rows in the middle three beds and 3 rows in the outside beds. Still need to add drip tape and mulch.

Some of the left over cloves

Jay

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 11:49PM
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henhousefarms

Dang Brook, sorry to hear about your fire. We lost a garage at the home place many years ago and our shop building at work about 10 years ago - to this day we still are discovering things we forgot were in there. You get ready to rebuilt give me a call and I'll come down and give you a hand.

Tom

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:11AM
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brookw_gw

Thanks, Tom. It was just a crude structure to keep a few things out of the weather until we finally get a building. As noted, I'm lucky I didn't lose everything. I'm also glad it happened during this wet season. If it would have happened this summer, it would have set the whole county on fire. At first, my insurance wasn't going to pay a dime because it was considered a business loss, but then they reconsidered and came through in a big way. I have no idea why the mower just simply caught on fire, but it really has me paranoid now. I'm suspecting mice may have chewed on wiring as I'm constantly battling wildlife in my equipment. A snake cost me $600 in repairs earlier after I chopped him up and cooked him in my mower's engine compartment, chipmunks stuff acorns in every opening they can find in my tractor--especially the breather, and mice chew up everything and nest everywhere they can squeeze into. With as many owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, and now bobcats we have you'd think mice wouldn't stand a chance, but they're thrivin' on Paw Paw Ridge.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:20PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Here are my 3 planting beds for garlic and shallots.

Lots of manure and compost were added.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 7:26PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

This is where we will plant our garlic when the weather gets a lot better. Sandy really put a wrench into our plans as we were going to start planting tomorrow but it will still be cold, windy and rainy. Maybe Friday...

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 5:44AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Thank you to everyone for sharing pictures. I can learn and see so much when you do that.

Lucy,
How do you keep the grass from creeping into your beds? Also, I assume you mow them down and keep the grass very short. Do you grow your vining stuff the same way?

Jay

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 2:45PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

Jay we keep the grass (and clover) mowed and as long as the beds get tilled once a year and are hoed regularly the grass doesn't get very far into the beds. The vine crops are in wider beds-4' vs 3'.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 5:51PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I finally got mine planted today! Three beds of 432 cloves and shallots each.

Here they are with the cloves dropped in place, in the little trenches. It only took 20 minutes per bed to plunk in the cloves with a hand trowel while sitting on my garden scoot. Usually I use a bulb planter but this way was way better. I then used the backside of a garden rake to smooth out the beds, put in drip lines, corn gluten and straw. I forgot to take a pic of the beds all done.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 7:40PM
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randy41_1

finally getting around to planting our elephant garlic...220' of it. there's a garlic glut at the market with so many vendors growing it but not much in the way of elephant.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:12PM
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myfamilysfarm

I usually find that if there is a glut one year, then the next year or so following several people will stop growing them. this works for almost anything.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:25PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

Part of what got planted yesterday. This is German white

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

This year I planted about 150 lbs, mostly hardneck. I think it totals about 7000 plants. Thats one bed larger than I did last year and I'm expecting yields in the 700-900 lb range.
If you planted 2500 plants, then you should yield somewhere around 300 lbs depending on variety and fertility levels.
I'm not sure what your markets are like but you shouldn't have a problem selling that much minus what you plant next season. Especially if you store it well.
I start selling garlic early August and usually run out by mid winter.

Some of last years garlic and onions.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:59PM
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bucks(9 Arizona)

I am always a little afraid to plant that much, but you know what your market demands. I sell to only coops and this year only one bought from me, one found another source ( price checking) and the other went out of business. Your concern of buying garlic to plant made me want to tell you that you should contact Dutch Valley Growers. They are in Indiana I believe. I buy product from them, and let me tell you verses other sources, I have never found a better price. However they only sell a soft neck garlic from California. So if you grow a soft neck. I would use these folks. I also buy their sweet onion starts and they are cheap. They have a web site and a catalog, but of course are specialized.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:35PM
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