it’s time for garlic cleaning – and that means grading garlic too. what’s grading? it’s sorting for size. why would you want to sort for size? cause if you are gonna use the garlic you harvest to replant, the size impacts how many row feet it will plant. how’s that? pretty simple, with the variety we mainly plant “music” you can plan on at least 6 good cloves on average per head. 2″ wide heads equal about 60 cloves per pound – which means at 6″ spacing, 2″ wide garlic heads will plant about 30 row feet. you move up to 2.25″ garlic and you are only getting 42 cloves per pound, the bigger the heads the less amount of row feet.
this means that if you are planning out how much garlic to save to replant for next year, or tell someone to buy, that size does matter. but is bigger better? i’m not really sure – i am convinced that larger cloves make bigger heads than little cloves, but does it matter if it comes off of really big heads? this is pretty inconclusive. in the past i planted seed from the largest heads, but from year to sometimes had bigger heads sometimes smaller. overall i’ve come to decide that the most important thing is timing of planting, fertility, openness of soil, spacing, and moisture. still i plan to try to track this year at home (where i have much more control over what gets harvested and what gets planted) the yield based on head size.
do you need a grader? unless you are growing a lot of garlic then, no, but they don’t take too long to make, and it is fun to know how big yr heads are.