Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know which grade of garlic to choose?
A: We've explained this here under our menu item, Seed Garlic / Culinary Garlic
Q: Do you sell Elephant Garlic?
A: At this time we do not. We are working on perfecting our current garlic varieties and look forward to expanding into new ones before we venture into other foods. Elephant garlic is a bit of a misnomer. Its name refers to its size even though it does look like an extremely large garlic bulb. Elephant garlic is not a true garlic and is more closely related to a leek. It has a much milder flavor and doesn't carry the same bite and pungency of robust garlics.
Q: Can I plant garlic that I purchase at the grocery store?
A: You could try! Success depends on quite a few factors. Sometimes, garlic offered in grocery stores is irradiated or treated with sprout inhibitors to prevent growth in order to keep a longer lasting product on the shelves. If it has been treated it will not grow. Often times grocery store garlic is old, meaning it has been sitting in storage for many, many months. Old garlic cloves are less likely to grow into strong, healthy bulbs. Sometimes, garlic bulbs are bleached so the wrappers are a bright, crisp white to offer better appeal to the consumer. We imagine the bleaching process isn't conducive to viability of plant growth, bulb health or your health. Also, store bought bulbs are generally softneck varieties grown in either California or China. Softneck varieties are better suited for growing in warmer climates for a good yield with large bulbs.
Last and most important, you risk introducing harmful pests into your soil if the garlic bulb is afflicted. From what we understand, testing of average culinary garlic is not the 'gold standard' like it is for seed garlic. You're better off in the long run buying seed grade to grow garlic into large bulbs of your own. Save the smaller bulbs for the kitchen!
Q: Can I plant my garlic in the Spring?
A: It is recommended that seed garlic be planted in the Fall. Garlic is roughly a 9 month crop from planting to harvesting and needs cold overwintering. The period of cold exposure is called vernalization and is what causes the planted cloves to divide. Hardnecks need a longer period of vernalization than softnecks. Spring planted garlic doesn't receive that necessary cold exposure, the roots are not established, and it may not mature into large, multi-cloved bulbs with the shortened growing season. From what we have read, Spring planted seed garlic is refrigerated for a period time prior in order to mimic the natural process.