planting and transplanting garlic

baby garlic garlic transplants

Last year I planted a handful of tiny garlic top sets of an heirloom variety called “Old Homestead” from Sand Hill Preservation Center. I planted them in November (photos here) and they sprouted like fine grass shoots. They disappeared later in the winter and spring, but by the end of summer, they were nice sprouts again.

Today I transplanted the little sprouts to my community plot, as I’m hoping I’ll get bigger heads with full sun. I dug up and transplanted all the little Old Homestead shoots, spacing them out a bit more. (I went ahead and fertilized before I planted.)

I also planted several heads that I’ve been saving – 4 of 5 of my biggest heads from this summer. I ended up filling up nearly a whole bed in my plot. Since I hadn’t included this in my diagram, I’ll have to revise it already – only 2 weeks after I made it.

When I was looking for the fertilizer in the garage this morning, I came across the 4 or 5 garlic heads I’d saved for planting last year. I thought I’d looked everywhere for that! So I planted that today too. About a quarter of it seemed healthy.

I ended up planting about a hundred garlic bulbs, I think. I have visions of lots of home grown garlic next year. The cost per head is so high now (over $1 a head!) at our Farmers Market. I just hope some of mine will be nice big cloves as the teeny little ones are not worth using.

garlic (Allium sativum)

15 Comments. Leave new

  • When did you sow these transplants? Mine haven’t arrived yet from the seed savers exchange (they’re due this week) and now I’m worried I’ll be planting too late!

  • I’m getting ready to plant my garlic soon. I just hate to pull out the tomato vines before they’re finished. Oh well, I guess yummy garlic next summer trumps a few green tomatoes.

  • I live in California, and a lot of garlic is grown here (Gilroy calls itself the Garlic Capital of the World). So Garlic is pretty cheap. I picked up three medium-sized heads of organic garlic for 99 cents the other day.

    That being said, I am interested in trying some more unusual garlic, so I might try and grow it myself. What does Old Homestead taste like?

  • Last year I planted all my garlic in early November, because that’s when my top sets arrived. I should have planted the big cloves I had saved earlier, but I waited til the order arrived. The garlic I harvested this summer was mostly very small. I think mostly because I lost my biggest saved bulbs and didn’t find them until this morning. And it was in a shady area of my home garden. The year before I planted Oct 26, gave it more sun and it was bigger.

    I read (at Cornell garlic site that Columbus Day is the best time to plant garlic.

    I don’t know what Old Homestead tastes like yet. The catalog has no description (link is here). Sounds like garlic will grow great for you. There a a couple different varieties. The softneck types grow best in CA and the hardneck ones do better here in New England. I planted softnectk cloves two years ago (from Gilroy) and they produced very tasty, but small garlic. Its fun to experiment!

  • Interesting. I was going by what Seed Savers said here:

    The garlic we ordered from them should arrive this week for planting, though I may plant it before we get the first frost, and mulch it asap.

  • I’d never heard about planting garlic after the first frost, but when I google that, lots of sites say that’s what should be done. Hmmm. There are also sites that say to plant a month before the first frost. Hmmm.

  • Yeah, the internet’s nutty like that, I tried to find out when to harvest my spaghetti squashes, and i got totally 100% conflicting information, depending on where I looked.

    I know of a book called “Growing great garlic” – I haven’t read it, but i wonder if the library has it?

  • 100 bulbs!! I am sooooo jealous! I have a whole row but now where near 100. Awesome!!

  • well my 100 bulbs – the top sets – are still really small, even a year after planting. I’m hoping some will get big enough this year. But anyway, it is pretty exciting.

  • Kathy … re:small bulbs. One of my new favorite things is to make tomato sauce using the roasting method … tomatoes (seeded is my only concession to work since seeds make sauce bitter, onions, shallots, garlic, oil, salt and herbs all in a jelly-roll pan for an hour or so in the oven at 300. Here I do nothing with the onions, shallots or garlic except break or cut them into hunks. Then, the who thing goes into the folley food mill to be squashed out for a great sauce.

  • I love your blog. You have a lovely garden, beautiful pictures. I can’t wait until my garden is underway.

  • I just bought some garlic for the dill pickles I made and it was pretty pricey here too. Small heads were 3 for $2. When I got them home I was surprised how the cloves were huge in comparison to the head size. I saved some to plant out, looks like I need to get it planted soon.

  • pjkobulnicky, Great idea for using my small garlic – AND my small onions. I have a similar mill I look forward to trying. Easy! I never thought to bake before processing.

  • Good luck!

    I have LOTS of great garlic from Hood River Garlic Farm still to plant (after today’s rain, it’ll be perfect).

    I had a great harvest in early summer from last year’s planting, most with nice large heads — we’ll be eating through winter, for sure, even if I have to pick through some of the smaller cloves.

    Fresh garlic is exceptionally delicious, and WELL worth any (minimal) effort.

  • I would LOVE to save enough garlic to last through the winter! Congratulations.


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