making this systematic selection, our garlic is specifically suited to our local climate and soils, and at this time returns consistently 7 pounds per pound planted when well cared for (mulching, weeding, watering). At this time, we grow slightly over 1/3 of an acre of garlic, or 34,000 heads
Diseases: As this garlic is from a closed system, our seed stock remains free of garlic bloat nematode (search the internet to learn more about this important garlic disease).
How we grow our garlic: we plant our garlic in October on 48" beds, 5 rows, cloves spaced 6" in the row. We mulch the garlic after planting. In the spring, we check if all cloves are coming through the mulch - if not, we thin the mulch so they can. Between the emergence of the garlic and the harvest, we hand weed the crop and water when needed, and may apply some organic source of nitrogen if needed. We also clip the scapes. Harvest is usually around the third week of July (we harvest when about 5 green leaves remain).
Garlic seed-order math: Average number of cloves/head is 10. One pound of large garlic contains about 8 heads. So one pound produces 80 cloves. We plant 10 cloves in one foot, on a 48" wide, 5 row bed. One pound plants about 8 bed foot.
Curing: After harvest, we tie the garlic in bunches of 10, and combine those bunches to strings that fit in our barn (see pictures). We cure the garlic for about one month in a well ventilated place. Air movement is critical, especially in the first week of curing, because there is a lot of moisture to evaporate. We do not wash, pre-clip, or otherwise handle the garlic other than tying the bunches. This has worked well for us for over a decade.
Cleaning: After the garlic has cured, we clip the roots and tops (leave about 1" on the plant). At this time, the necks of the garlic should be dry at the place where you clip the top. If not, you have a great pathway for decaying organisms into the bulb, and the garlic will store poorly.
Grading: We grade our garlic with an antique Boggs potato and onion grader. Our seed garlic is the largest size that comes off the grader, about 2" in diameter or better..