Planting Grocery Store Garlic May 29, 2019 10:00

It is very common for beginner gardeners to try and plant garlic that they bought from the grocery store as seed garlic. More often than not, they are disappointed with the outcome because the garlic produces very small bulbs, or even worse it doesn't even come up. A small number of people have had success doing this, however this is rare and in general is not a great idea. 

Grocery store garlic is often sprayed with chemicals to delay the bulbs from sprouting. It also has a number of potential problems when trying to use as garlic seed. Most grocery store garlic is grown in China or California where they have issues with diseases, viruses and parasites (nematodes) that could potentially invade your soil. The garlic bulbs might look ok, however these microscopic invaders can easily stay hidden until the right conditions arise. Many of these garlic pests can enter your soil once the garlic seed is planted and infect your growing plants. Once present, it can take many years (even decades) for some of these pathogens and parasites to disappear from your soil.

In addition, California and China have much warmer climates than many of the locations where gardeners grow garlic. This means that the store garlic is often not adapted to the local growing conditions and will most likely grow poorly. Not growing the right garlic for your climate, often results in a waste of a growers time and a huge disappointment when it comes time to harvest.

It's best to stick with trusted garlic seed sources that you know will work for your region and climate!