First we ‘pop’ the garlic to prepare it for seeding. A strange term for tearing the cloves off of the garlic stem but maybe it is like popping as you need to gently bend the garlic out until it ‘pops’ off of the stem. I slice through the protective layers of ‘skin’ to separate each clove and then put pressure on the clove until it separates from the bulb. You can see how it is almost buttoned on. If you are not careful it will tear the root end which will make it less likely to sprout and grow.
You can see the buttons on the bottom of the clove; this is where the roots will begin to grow. Actually a fascinating process and sometimes we even dig the clove back up to see how it is progressing… 🙂 not recommended as it slows down the process.
When choosing garlic for seed it is best to choose the most symmetrical bulbs and also the medium to large size bulbs. You can plant the small bulbs/cloves or even the seed from the scapes but it takes much longer (years) to grow large bulbs. If you pick bulbs that have strange characteristics like extra cloves on the side or small slivers of cloves or 10 cloves on a bulb then that is a characteristic or gene that will carry on down through your garlic. I try to pick 5 to 6 cloves per bulb depending of course on the variety; the reason is because I prefer a fairly decent size clove when using it for cooking. Of course the good thing about garlic is that is all good and can be used for cooking or canning. This is a tray of the variety, Russian Red that is ready to be popped and put into a container for planting into the garden plot.
This year I did the choosing and popping and then the fun began when Ken seeded it for me into the garden.