Time to Plant the Garlic!

New photos update!

Farmer Carl Saunders of Yellow Dog Farm told us he’s been busy planting his garlic seed for next July’s harvest. It’s pretty amazing that this crop gets planted in the winter for harvest the next summer. It’s possible to plant it in March (if the ground is warm enough), but the flavor and size will be much improved if it’s planted in the fall–and from the size of the Yellow Dog garlic we received this summer, I’d say he’s doing it right.

The garlic seed is either purchased or selected from the previous season’s crop by choosing heads with the biggest cloves. This will encourage the biggest heads for the next season. The heads are broken up a week or so before planting, but the cloves (now called seeds!) are left unpeeled, and are plant root side down so the sprout has an easy time going straight up.

In the spring the stalk grows up and when the seed pod shoots up out of the center, the farmer cuts them off to keep the energy in the root and encourage nice big heads in the ground, and we are treated to garlic scapes (from hardneck garlic). Many farmers plant thickly and thin in the spring–or plant extra–for harvesting the whole plant as green garlic, which is used like green onions.

In the summer, when the garlic is fully matured, the farmer harvests it and leaves a bit of the stalk on to encourage the garlic to dry, or cure, which allows it to store longer, so we can enjoy it all winter long.


A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
–Yiddish proverb

“There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic.”
Louis Diat