Grow garlic in MN - Where to buy, and tips

joyfulsnowflake(Zone 4)October 2, 2006

Hi, I am a new gardener in Minnesota. I would like to grow some garlic this fall. I heard the garlic from supermarket will not grow here. Where can I buy garlic that will grow here? I never grow garlic before, any tips I need to know?

The reason I want to grow garlic is for the spike. In China, we stir fry the spike as a vegetable. It taste really good when stir fried with bacon. I haven't had it for 20 years. Please help me grow some garlic. :)

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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I've been growing garlic here about the last 10 years. It has been an ongoing learning experience. I usually buy my stock from either or I try to plant about mid-October and then mulch it with about 6 inches of straw or shredded leaves. I start to pull the mulch off the rows in late March to mid April. Hope this helps you out. We too enjoy the scapes.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 4:31PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I had 'Hard Neck" garlic for the first time this year- and LOVE it! It is so good and juicey- not nearly as bitter as store bought! I am planning on planting a few cloves to try my hand at growing garlic this fall as well- This will be another first for me- I do hope it works well!
When do you know it is time to harvest your garlic?
Thanks for the post- and advice-

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 10:31PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Harvest hardneck garlic bulb when about half of the leaves have turned yellow. Flower stalks would have already emerged (and you would have removed them, of course). If you wait later to dig, bulbls will still be good, but the cloves usually swell to the point that bulb wrappers split. These bulbs do no cure as well and won't last as long into the winter.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 4:28PM
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joyfulsnowflake(Zone 4)

I am so happy that I found this forum! You guys are great!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 9:24PM
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I usually order garlic from mailorder sources. This year I tried Hood River garlic and was astounded ny the quality of their seed garlic. But as it is getting late, local garlic (organic) might be better choice. Jeff Adelmann at the St Paul's Farmers Market usually has nice seed garlic and good advice. He's there on Saturdays. His website lists what he has. Also coops would be a good place to get untreated garlic. As to scapes, hardnecks seem to produce the best scapes.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 6:36PM
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I get most of mine from Seed Savers; been very happy with their garlic -

Ying, we call that spike a "scape" and you're right, they are delicious! Here's some great info about all aspects of growing garlic:

Although hardneck varieties grow best here, I've talked to several garlic growers who've also had good experiences with softnecks.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 10:34AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I mainly stick with the hardnecks, as I've had the best success with them but a couple of softnecks that have done well for me are Kettle River Giant and Polish White. I planted Polish White for the first time last year and had a wonderful crop from it, but it may just have been the mild winter last year . Will be planting it again this fall and we'll see if it's consistent. In the 10 years I've been planting garlic Kettle River Giant has only failed me once or perhaps I should say I failed it. I planted it on the lower end of my garden, we had a thaw in Feb. which left it sitting in water for nearly a week. It definitely was not happy. For long term storage, the softneck varieties store longer than the hardnecks. Of the hardnecks, Music and German Red have been the most consistent performers for me. Just keep trying till you find what does well in your garden.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 1:54PM
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I have both Porcelain and Italian Red Garlic if interested. They grow really well here and have a very stiff neck on them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 5:54PM
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vogt0047: I'm wondering where you live in zone 4. My email is on my page if you see this and don't mind telling. I know this is only SIX years later that I'm seeing this but I got intrigued about the garlic and wildly thought I might try it even yet this year in a raised bed. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:02AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Just so you know, early to mid October is prime garlic planting time.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:37PM
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Thanks, hostaholic2 (LOVE that name by the way!)!

I might try even yet. I planted tulips the weekend after Thanksgiving one year and they're still going strong.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:50PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Below is a thread on this forum about the same thing.

MN had a garlic disease the experts call Asters Yellows this year. So seed garlic was very hard to come by. It is ridiculously expensive at all times but really rare this year. When you get some make sure it is healthy stock from now on and buy some and propogate as much as possible the next year so you will not have to buy again. I originally got some good stock from We Grow Garlic in Wisconsion. They are more reasonable than some mail order places that will charge about $10 per bulb! Every kind has a different number of cloves. So when bought by the bulb keep in mind some will give you 20 bulbs the following year and some only 4.
Plant in early October but late October is fine. Great soil, heavy straw mulch. I use drip irrigation. Save all your decent sized bulbs to replant. Only eat the small bulbs.
this year with the disease my softnecks way outperformed the hardnecks. It seems they had resistance to the Asters Yellows. So it is good to grow several different kinds (learn from the Irish Potato Famine). My having 10-15 different varieties last year made it possible for me to plant over 1000 cloves this fall without purchasing any but a few of a new variety to me. Simonetti has done head and shoulders better than any for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: other garlic thread

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:58PM
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