Fall is the time to plant garlic in your backyard garden. You can buy garlic seed from several different sources both online or locally.
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First off, for those of you new to growing garlic. “Garlic Seed” is actually just individual cloves of garlic planted in the ground. So seed garlic isn’t really a seed, but instead just cloves of garlic. If you would like to learn more about planting garlic in the fall check out this post.
When you buy garlic seed, you are really just looking for plain old garlic! There are several ways you can buy garlic seed. My preference is to get my seed locally whenever possible. Garlic adapts well to local environments so if you can find garlic seed from a grower in your area you are much more likely to have a locally adapted variety.
4 Best places to Find Garlic Cloves to Plant
There are four different sources for buying garlic seed. I have listed them below in my recommended order of preference:
- Grow your own seed
- Farmers Market
- Local Garden Nursery
- Buy online
1. Grow your own seed
My first source where you can buy garlic seed, doesn’t require that you buy anything! You can just grow your own garlic seed. Now, of course at some point, you will need to buy some garlic seed to get started. But if you buy and plant extra garlic your first year, you can then save your own garlic seed and you will never have to buy garlic again. I haven’t bought garlic seed for over 7 years!
To save your own seed just be sure you save a few bulbs of garlic for fall. Divide up those garlic bulbs into cloves and select only the biggest and healthiest looking cloves. Even if you start out with only a few cloves to plant, by carefully saving the best cloves in only a couple of seasons you will have plenty for a large crop!
2. Buy garlic seed from a Farmers Market
I really like buying garlic from a farmers market. You can take a bulb or two home and try them out. If you like them then the next week you can pick up some more from your local farmer.
Pick the biggest and best cloves from each bulb you buy and plant those. And you can eat up the rest. Buying garlic seed this way is WAY cheaper, it gives you a chance to try the variety out first and usually means you are buying a variety that is already adapted to grow in your area.
When you buy garlic seed from a farmers market you will find this is the cheapest way to very quickly get your own garlic crop started. Garlic at a farmers’ market costs only a couple of dollars per pound.
That is just a fraction of what you would pay for it in a garden center or online. Just make sure you ask the farmer the name of the variety, I made the mistake of not asking and now I have no idea what one of our favorite varieties is called!! 🙂
3. Buy garlic seed from a local garden nursery
In the fall most good local garden centers should sell some garlic seeds. Call around first and see which nurseries have them. Try to stick with the local shops and they should have a better selection and better quality seed than the big box stores.
4. Buy Garlic Seed Online
There are countless growers out there that sell garlic online. And this is a good option especially if you are looking for specific varieties to grow. Buying online is usually more expensive! I have seen garlic seed selling for as much as $15 a pound in some places. But if you save your own seed the first season, this should be a one time expense.
Here are links to a few sites I found to buy garlic:
Amazon – You can get garlic seed from several growers on Amazon including:
This is just a short list of sellers. Do you have a favorite that I missed? Leave the site address in the comment section and I will add it to the post!
Buy Garlic Seed from the grocery store
This last place to buy garlic is a source to use only if you are desperate Yes you can plant the cloves from garlic you buy at the grocery store. But there are several problems with this source. First off you have no idea what you are getting. You don’t know the variety, how it was raised or what chemicals were used on the plant.
Grocery store garlic is also almost always soft neck, which stores longer but isn’t always the tastiest choice. Often commercial growers will treat their garlic with chemicals that are meant to prevent sprouting. You don’t want that! And on top of everything else grocery store garlic is almost guaranteed to not be organic, which is important to me.
Now I’m not saying it’s impossible to grow from grocery store garlic. I know people who do it all the time. But buying garlic seed from a grocery store introduces so many extra variables that I really don’t recommend it.
Fall is Garlic Planting Time
The most successful garlic growers plant their garlic in the fall. So get busy right now and find some garlic seed to get planted. You can learn more about planting garlic in the fall by reading this post that I wrote last year. But keep in mind that you have a pretty big window for planting in the fall. You really can plant garlic right up until the day before the ground freezes. For many of us, that means you can plant as late as mid-November. But Mid October is usually a better choice if you can make it happen then.