How to Select Garlic Cloves for Planting

garlic clovesIt’s that time of year again.  Around the 1st or 2nd week of October, I plant my garlic. But how do you know which bulbs you should save for your seed cloves? And then how do you know which cloves from those bulbs to plant? It’s easy, once you know what to look for.

Let’s get started!

What you’re looking for are your largest, firmest, roundest bulbs. Sure, save a few to give away as gifts, if you have some garlic-loving friends. But make sure you keep enough for yourself to get your seed cloves.

Now, gently break your bulbs apart to protect  the clove wrapper. Then, here’s what you’re looking for, for seed cloves:

In the following photo:

  1. DO NOT use cloves that have 2 (or more) cloves joined in one wrapper. If you plant these, you’ll get multiple stalks growing on top of each other, and they will produce small, misshapen bulbs.
  2. DO NOT use cloves that have damaged or broken wrappers that expose the clove. Exposed cloves are more likely to develop disease.
  3. DO NOT use cloves that have both broken wrappers and multi-joined cloves.
  4. DO NOT use small or misshapen cloves
  5. DO use large, well-formed, unblemished cloves.


Then take the reject cloves, mince, add extra virgin olive oil and freeze in little cubes. They’ll store for about a year.  It’s not safe to keep this mixture in the refrigerator–too big a risk for botulism.

Preserving chopped garlic

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