What is Seed Garlic? Is it different to Culinary Garlic?
Most people don’t realise that there is a difference between Garlic Seed bulbs and Garlic Culinary bulbs … because you can plant culinary garlic that you purchase at the supermarkets … right?
Why you should NOT use culinary garlic for planting
Culinary garlic has not been disease tested, so you might be introducing disease into your garden or community. Imported culinary garlic has been grown in a different hemisphere and climate and should not be planted and will not grow well in Australia’s climate.
Culinary garlic has often been cold or cool stored to prolong its storage and this will interfere with its growth, often causing secondary shooting. Culinary garlic has often been sprayed with an anti-shooting hormone prior to harvesting and will likely not grow, or will grow abnormally. Culinary garlic is smaller than seed garlic.
Here are some more good reasons why culinary garlic should not be used as seed.
- Culinary garlic is graded very differently to seed garlic standards and has to only meet the standard for presentation and consumption not growing.
- Culinary garlic has not been disease tested, so you might be introducing disease into your garden or community.
- Imported culinary garlic has been grown in a different hemisphere and climate and should not be planted and will not grow well in Australia’s climate.
- Culinary garlic has often been cold or cool stored to prolong its storage and this will interfere with its growth, often causing secondary shooting.
- Culinary garlic has often been sprayed with an anti-shooting hormone prior to harvesting and will likely not grow, or will grow abnormally.
- Culinary garlic is smaller than seed garlic.
Garlic Seed Bulb producers have a very different focus to culinary bulb growers. We have a higher standard of soil health, plant health, bulb size and quality to achieve. We are focused on each bulb’s health rather than simply yield per hectare. We are very technical in our soil fertility and biological activity, plant nutrition and bulb characteristics and very, very particular with maintaining pure genetics of each cultivar.
The best of us are constantly replacing the parent stock with bulbil or clean seed stock every 5 years and are able to create new breeds to enliven our garlic pleasure.
What is so great about Seed Garlic?
Garlic Seed Bulbs are of a much higher standard that culinary garlic.
- We grow specifically to produce a larger bulb with fewer and larger cloves, so you get large plants and bulbs.
- Our bulb sizes are larger than culinary standards. Culinary ranges from 35mm to 65mm (normally supermarkets are 45mm-55mm) whereas our seed sizes range from 55mm-80mm.
- Our soil fertility and plant nutrition is measured and corrected several times during the season to ensure optimal plant health and vigour.
- We rogue out any underperforming plants to maintain soil and neighbouring plant health.
- We use natural plant nutrition and both beneficial and bio-controls to maintain soil and plant health.
- We harvest at optimal bulb maturity and plant health for a premium seed bulb quality.
- We have professional curing systems and storage environments to prevent disease contamination and maintain optimal bulb health.
- We wait the full 5 weeks after harvest until we perform our first grading, where we can identify any storage diseases and are able to cull any bulbs that do not meet the highest seed quality standards of scape/neck, bulb, basal plate and root health.
- We grade our seed garlic sizes to ensure they meet 55mm-80mm bulb diameter (measured at widest point).
- We maintain each genetic line with scrupulous attention to ensure you have exactly what you have purchased.
- We are technically experts on soil fertility, plant health, disease identification and optimal curing and storage for overall premium seed bulb production.
- And lastly, we are experts on Garlic – the groups, where they grow, how they grow, how to fertilise, maintain their health, know when something is wrong and treat it, and when they are optimally ready to harvest.
What to look for when buying Seed Garlic?
There are very few specialised garlic seed growers, who are sufficiently expert to produce great stock – so it is important that you know who to buy from and what to look for.
- Always buy from garlic seed seller who is from a cooler climate to your growing climate. Whilst it is common for most to think of purchasing from a local person, garlic that has been grown in cooler climates will always perform much better in a warmer climate and you’ll always get bigger plants and bigger bulbs.
- Always buy garlic groups that are suited to your climate. There are many garlic cultivars, however they can be categorised to a Garlic Group, and this is what defines the climatic conditions they grow best in. Your garlic seed seller should be an expert in understanding what garlic groups suit your climate best.
- Always buy bulbs that are no smaller than 55mm in diameter (measured across the widest bulb section). The larger the clove, the larger your plant and resultant bulb – so buying large bulbs with large cloves is your surest way to garlic growing success.
- Always buy from a garlic seed seller who understands garlic seed standards and have quality graded seed that meets the scape, bulb, basal plate and root health and size standards. Many culinary growers sell their “leftovers” as garlic seed which might be small, have presentation or health issues and are cheap!
- Check with Resellers of garlic seed. Many resellers list very cheap seed – always check what size it is, where it was grown (cooler) and if the original grower is a reputable garlic seed producer.
- Always ask if the bulbs you will purchase are exactly like the photographs on the website. It is unfortunate that some sellers will use internet stock photos rather than photos of their own bulbs. Or worse, may show photos of perfect large bulbs, but sell something that looks nothing like the photo.