Join the Society for the Garlic Exchange at the Plant Share

At the in-person Fall Plant Share the Society hosts a Garlic Exchange.

How the Garlic Exchange Works

To participate, bring your dried, cleaned, and labelled garlic to the Plant Share venue. We are accepting garlic for the Exchange at the same time plants are being accepted for the Plant Share. At the venue, look for the Garlic Exchange tent. Volunteers at the tent will assess if your garlic is suitable for exchanging or if it is more appropriate for culinary use. After receiving the garlic, it will be sorted into containers of the same type for exchange or for sale.

What You Get

For every two bulbs of exchange-grade garlic that your bring, you will receive a coupon for one bulb. The second bulb that you bring is a donation to the Society so that other members may purchase garlic for growing, which may be something new to them, and grow next year’s Exchange. From 10:00 to 10:30 am, the garlic exchange tent is open exclusively to participants of the Exchange. At 10:30 am the area opens to everyone for garlic purchasing. (You can still use your exchange coupon after 10:30 am, but your choices may be limited.)

We will keep the Exchange garlic separate from the garlic for sale, to ensure that everyone who brings garlic for the Exchange receives garlic in return. We will also do our best to ensure that the uncommon varieties brought for sharing are available to Exchange participants. However, the garlic available depends on the varieties brought by participants and the success of the Society’s garlic harvest.

Garlic for Sale

The garlic sale table will open at 10:30 am. Garlic may be purchased for $3 a bulb or $1 for 2 cloves.

Exchange Quality Garlic

For garlic to be rated as suitable for exchanging, it must have its tunic (paper coat) and basal plate intact. The neck should be at least 10 cm long and the roots should be at least 1.25 cm in length. The bulb also needs to be mould-free. Clove size matters too, as it is the energy source for next year’s bulb. The larger the clove, the better the chance to grow a large bulb. An exchange-quality bulb should contain at least several cloves that are finger tip in size.

Culinary Garlic

If your garlic is rated “culinary”, you can take it home to use in cooking, or donate it to the Society for sale as culinary garlic. Culinary garlic won’t store well, and should be used fairly quickly, or it may sprout. It is less likely to overwinter in the ground if it is planted.

Tips for Preparing Your Garlic for the Garlic Exchange

  • Harvest your garlic when the bottom 3 or 4 leaves have turned brown. If you let the whole plant brown, the tunic splits.
  • When you harvest your garlic, lift it by hand or with a trowel or fork. Do not pull on the stem as it needs to be attached to the bulb, as do the basal plate and roots.
  • Gently shake off the excess soil before hanging or laying out the garlic to dry. Never wash the garlic off with water, as it may mould and rot. Garlic should dry for at least two weeks before the Exchange.
  • After two weeks (or longer), clean the garlic by rubbing the stained paper tunic off the bulb. Only rub off the outer-most layers. The bulb needs a complete tunic cover. Using gloves with a gripping surface will make the task easier.
  • Trim the stem down to no less than 10 cm and trim the root to no less than 1.25 cm.
  • Label your garlic by writing on the stem with a marker or placing the bulbs in a paper bag and labelling the bag.

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