Prairie Gardens


Garlic is an excellent winter hardy perennial plant to grow in your garden. We have been experimenting with hard-neck varieties on our farm – and they 100% survive our winters, and grow to large bulbs by August! Garlic is pretty easy to grow, and has few pests or diseases.

Garlic Harvest Fest on August 12-13, 2023
Check back soon for details on our upcoming Garlic Harvest Festival!

Order Garlic Online  -  Available Varieties  -  Growing Garlic  -  Harvesting Garlic

Order your Garlic Online Today!

Prairie Gardens Garlic Varieties

Garlic is pretty easy to grow, and has few pests or diseases. Because the bulb is located so close to the surface, we cover ours with straw for the winter, and use only shallow cultivation methods to keep the weeds from growing. Ideally – choose a place in your garden that is as free of weeds as possible.

Growing Garlic

We plant our cloves by mid October. Garlic planted too late in the fall will not have good root growth and will get off to a slow start in the spring. The site where the garlic is planted should be in full sun and in a light, humus-rich soil that drains well and is not too fertile. Too much nitrogen causes heavy top growth and, especially in the spring, delays bulb formation. Our Alberta soils tend to be neutral (PH 7) or slightly higher – which is perfect!

Seed garlic comes as a whole garlic bulb. We break apart the bulb, being careful not to peel off any of the skins. Plant the individual cloves 10cm (4 inches) apart and about 5cm (2 inches) deep with the pointy side up.

Our cold winter weather means you should plant deeper so the developing plant is not uprooted during the winter. In the spring – keep a close eye on them as the greens start to grow – in early May. To maximize bulb size, cut off the scapes (the curling tip) just as they begin to curl. We pickle them – they are like a garlicky pickled bean and are excellent as a pickle in Caesars or on a charcuterie board!

Garlic matures from early to mid August. Avoid watering for a few weeks before harvesting to allow the bulbs to cure.

Harvesting Garlic

When To Harvest Your Garlic:

a) Count the leaves! The sixth leaf down is starting to brown on 50% of the crop. Each leaf is a wrapper leaf around the bulb. Bulbs need 5-7 layers of wrapper leaves to store well.

b) There are air spaces between the round stem of hardneck garlic and the cloves, visible when bulbs are cut horizontally. Don’t leave it in the ground too long – this space continues to widen and the wrapper leaves around the bulb start to stain and fall apart – so your bulbs won’t hang together.

Once it’s time to harvest

  1. 1. If the soil is very dry, water the night before. Very hard soil can damage the bulbs.
  2. It’s important not to leave garlic in plastic buckets for long. Plan for 15 minutes per 5 gallon bucket to dig garlic and 15 minutes per bucket to hang it up. If the bulbs sweat – it is not so good.
  3. Treat the bulbs like fragile, sun-sensitive eggs, as bruised bulbs won’t store well. Don’t bang, throw or drop them.
  4. Carefully loosen the bulbs with digging forks, without stabbing them. Pulling on unloosened garlic damages the necks, and they won’t store well.
  5. If they have a lot of soil on the roots, use curled fingers to “brush” soil out.
  6. Try not to rub or pick at the skin. Bulbs need several layers of intact skin to store well. 5 to 7 layers are ideal.
  7. Put the bulbs gently into buckets or crates angled to shade the bulbs. Air above 90F can cook garlic bulbs, sun can scorch them. Do not hang them in the greenhouses to cure – air temps get over 100F.
  8. Don’t wash the bulbs, no matter how dirty. They need to dry, not get wetter. Dirt will dry and drop off later, or can be gently brushed off if bulbs are not clean enough for market.
  9. Keep bulbs in the shade while harvesting, and take to the shed or barn for drying.
Try to avoid puncturing the bulbs when digging them out. Remove any dirt by hand, leaving as much of the skin intact as possible. Cure the bulbs in a single layer in a warm spot for 1 week to 10 days. Then clean them off again and cut off the stems and leaves of the hardneck varieties.

Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space. Do not store in the refrigerator. Refrigeration will induce sprouting, changing the garlic’s texture and flavour.

Set aside your best bulbs for planting in the fall. Use any damaged bulbs first, Store the best.