Planning how many garlic to plant

Planning your garlic plot in terms of how many garlic should you plant for home use.

The average family would use approximately 2 bulbs of garlic a week, therefore they wouls need 105 bulbs a year. If they are nice healthy large bulbs , that would be about 12-15 pounds of garlic. Keep in mind that what you plant this year also has to include the planting stock for next years harvest. I often hear that growers did not have enough to last the winter as they had to use some of the bulbs saved to plant enough for next year crop! Sadly,then one would have to do without or purchase imported garlic from the grocery store since most local growers run out too during the winter!

So for the basic need of 105 bubs a year for consumption:

I will break down each of the two main varieties, Rocambole (purple stripes and creoles are similar to rocamboles) and Porcelains.

Porcelains: they average 3 to 5 clove per bulb, so lets say 4 cloves. To get 105 bulbs at harvest, you would need 26 bulbs. 105/4=26.25 bulbs

But, you want to make sure you have 105 for eating, and you want to have enough to plant again for the following year without using up your winter supply, then you would plant another 26 cloves to harvest 26 bulbs for replanting. So your total planting needs are 105 + 26 = 131. 131 devided by 4, you would need to purchase 32 bulbs initially. and every year thereafter, save 32 bulbs of the best to replant. 

Now lets do the Rocamboles: they average 7 cloves per bulb. You would need to purchase 15 bulbs for eating garlic and another 3 to grow out as next years crop totalling 18 bulbs. With the rocamboles and the purple stripes, you will likely end up with more garlic than the math works out, because the number of cloves can vary greatly. However, you need to think about losses too due to fungal diseases and other pests. You many want to order a few extras just in case….

The spacing required to plant 130 cloves.

The spacing is usually around 5” apart. So you would need a row 55 feet long. Or two rows spaced 6 to 8 apart would be 28 feet only. Or for 3 rows in a raised bed style, all you would need is 18 feet long by 24 inches wide.

One last note, the medium and large bulbs generally give bigger garlic the following year. Please keep in mind, that even if you have a terrible crop that produced moslty small bulbs, dont dispair! You can still grow these out to larger bulbs the following year by increasing the amount of nitrogen rich compost in the fall and do some foliar compost tea sprays in the spring and early summer. And don’t forget that if your soil tends to dry out during the summer, water it! Garlic needs about an inch of rain a week!

Please remember to order a maximum of 5 pounds. Any orders over 5 pounds will be cancelled. Please contact for larger orders.