Every year by October 1st, we bring our high-quality, locally-adapted seed garlic to market. Our seed is tested disease-free by the University of Maine and certified-organic by MOFGA. We begin taking orders September 1st, and ship in October. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on ordering.
Prices are $19.50/lb for up to 4.99 lbs of any one variety, $18/lb for 5-9.99 lbs, and $16.50/lb for 10+ lbs (order ahead for pickup, depending on availability).
We offer 5 varieties:
Georgian Fire (Porcelain hardneck)
One of the favorites on the farm, this garlic is hot! It mellows when cooked but it still packs a lots of flavor and pungency. It has few cloves, but large ones.
Music (Porcelain hardneck)
Music is a variety that has been grown by several other farmers around here as well as us, and it seems to have adapted very well to our locale. The heads are consistently large. Like the other Porcelains it has fewer cloves, but larger ones. Music also stores very well.
Russian Red (Rocambole hardneck)
A classic rocambole type with milder flavor than most of the Porcelains, but still retaining good pungency. Russian Red tends to have around 10 cloves per bulb; the cloves are smaller than the Porcelains, but their flavor is fantastic.
Phillips (Rocambole hardneck)
Very similar to Russian Red, the Phillips variety was found in Phillips, ME. It has a similar well-rounded flavor as Russian Red as well - rich and pungent.
Inchelium Red (Artichoke softneck)
Inchelium Red is currently the only softneck we grow - indeed the neck is soft and braidable! The flavor is also correspondingly light, and Inchelium Red is the garlic we can all most comfortably eat raw. It is very mellow and gets positively buttery when roasted.
Prices are $19.50/lb for up to 5 lbs of any one variety, $18/lb for 6-10 lbs, and $16.50/lb for 11+ lbs (order ahead for pickup, depending on availability). Quantities over 20 lbs may be available in some varieties for $15/lb; please ask us about this.
If you’re wondering how come this garlic is so much more expensive than regular “culinary” garlic, the reason is that it represents the highest grade of garlic available for you to plant in your garden and has been tested disease-free. If you start looking around for high-quality organic seed garlic, you’ll find most of it for sale in the $20-24/lb range. If you want the best foundation stock for growing garlic in our region, buy it here from us or from another reputable grower who has the University of Maine or Cornell test their crop for diseases. Garlic bloat nematode and white rot are bad news, and they can persist in your soil for years--don’t risk it by buying untested garlic.
When to plant:
Recommended planting times for garlic in Zone 5b (find your hardiness zone here) are the second to fourth weeks of October. You are probably safe with a week or so of wiggle room. Fedco Seeds says you want to get the garlic planted about four weeks before the ground freezes. The idea is to get the garlic to start to root but not to send up shoots that would get damaged by frost and snow. We tend to get ours in the ground the third week of October.
How to plant:
Prepare a garden bed with well-fertilized, tilthy soil. You may need to add compost or fertilizer or use something like a broadfork to loosen the soil.
Break your garlic bulb apart to separate the individual cloves. You do not need to peel off the paper around each clove, but it won't hurt if you do by accident. We plant our garlic with an average of 9" around each plant - we have rows 10" apart and plants 8" apart in the row.
Plant each clove as far as you can push it with your fingers (about 4").
Cover your planting of garlic with a layer of mulch about 4" thick. This will help insulate the garlic from cold temperatures and from frost heaving. We use organic straw (it's more expensive than hay, for example, but has fewer weed seeds, which is a definite plus for us). You can also use hay, chopped leaves, or another fluffy, insulating mulch.
How to cultivate:
In the spring, remove the mulch from on top of the plants so they can get sunlight as soon as possible. We usually do this in April, after the snow has all thawed and the ground has dried out enough to walk on. Use the straw as mulch around the garden bed to keep down weeds (we rake ours in the the pathways for this purpose), or compost it.
Fertilize! Fertilize! Garlic really needs a relatively consistent moisture level, little weed competition, and regular fertilizing. We use bloodmeal, fishmeal, and composted chicken manure most frequently, although you can certainly use other fertilizers. We get a lot of our fertilizers through Fedco Organic Growers Supply. The different fertilizers have different amounts of nitrogen; bloodmeal has about 4 times the nitrogen compared to composted chicken manure, but it doesn't have any phosphorus or potassium. You will have to experiment to see what works better for you, but as an example, we might feed the garlic a tablespoon of bloodmeal per plant once a month from April to July or a big handful of composted chicken manure once a month from April to July.
Weed regularly! Water if the soil surface is dry and crumbly. Ideally the soil surface is moist to the touch.
In about June, hardneck varieties will start to send up garlic scapes, which are the flower stems of the garlic plant. Softneck varieties have been bred for bulb production for not producing garlic scapes, which take some energy away from bulb production. All the varieties we sell are hardneck except Inchelium Red. Cut the scape off as soon as they start to curl, and cut them just above where the top leaves part. Eat the scapes like you would garlic - they make a fantastic pesto when blended with olive oil and salt, and they are fabulous brushed with oil and grilled until tender. Cutting off scapes helps hardneck varieties send energy back into bulb production.
How to harvest and cure:
In mid to late July, you can start poking around your garlic to see how it's sizing up. Garlic is generally ready to harvest when the bottom two leaves have gone yellow. You want to harvest before the cloves separate and pull away from the stem, which starts to happen when the rest of the leaves yellow.
Garlic should be cured in a well-ventilated area that stays between 60-80 F. We bundle ours in groups of 10 and hang them in a hoophouse covered with shade cloth. If you are curing in your house or garage you may want to use a fan to help with airflow, especially if the summer is wet. After about 3-4 weeks, the garlic paper should be fairly well-dried. Trim the stems to about an inch, and rub off the soil-crusted out layers of garlic paper. Depending on the variety, garlic can store from about 4-10 months; it should be stored in a cool, dry place (out of direct light).
Fedco has more tips and details!