What are Seed Garlic & Potatoes?

Seed potatoes ready for planting

Fall is garlic and potato planting time!

Garlic and potato “seeds” are available to purchase in late summer. Unlike what you’d expect from the name, these are not actually seeds. At first glance, seed garlic and seed potatoes look just like the garlic and potatoes you’d find at the grocery store. So what makes these special?

When A Seed Isn’t

While garlic and potatoes both can produce seeds in the normal sense of the word, neither of these crops are grown that way. Like grafted fruit trees or plants grown from cuttings, these veggies are best grown as genetic clones of the parent plant. This ensures that the planting stock will be true to type, and not changed by breeding with other plants. In this case, the “cuttings” are actually just small potatoes and garlic cloves.

Seed Versus Store

Peaceful Valley Seed Garlic

So if seed potatoes and garlic are just potatoes and garlic, why can’t you just buy some from the store for planting?

There are several good reasons to buy actual seed stock for your garden. Those you’d find at the grocery store have been treated to prevent sprouting, and while they may eventually sprout under certain conditions, there is a good chance that they’ll simply rot in the ground.

Seed stock is grown specifically for planting. Apart from being untreated with sprout-inhibitors, they are certified disease free.

Just because a store-bought potato is healthy to eat, doesn’t mean it’s free of viruses that would harm potato plants. The same is true for garlic. Don’t risk infecting your garden!

Seed stock comes in much greater varieties than what you’d find from your local grocer.

We offer many garlic varieties, including over 15 hardneck garlic varieties and 3 kinds of softneck garlic. We also sell specialty shallots, and elephant garlic.

Choose from over 20 potato varieties in a spectrum of colors. With all these choices, why not grow something that you can’t buy at the store?

Shop for certified seed potatoes and certified seed garlic for a healthy and productive garden!

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Nancy, you can keep your potatoes in a cool, dry dark place until you are ready to plant. If the potatoes make sprouts, that is ok, you are just ahead of the game. Before planting, cut up the potatoes into pieces with about 2 eyes or sprouts on them. Potatoes can be planted when the soil is around 45F and nighttime temps stay about that. You may be able to plant them now since you live on the coast.


I just received my seed potatoes. I live on the central coast of CA, just south of San Luis Obispo. When can I put my seed potatoes in the pots I plan to plant in? How do I store them until then?
Thanks much.


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