What are Seed Garlic and Potatoes?

It’s garlic and potato planting time again! Garlic and potato “seeds” are now available. Unlike what you’d expect from the name, these are not actually seeds. At first glace, 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 other potato plants. The same is true for garlic. Don’t risk infecting your garden with store-bought potatoes and garlic! Seed stock comes in much greater varieties than what you’d find from your local grocer. 15 varieties of gourmet hardneck garlic, 3 kinds of softneck garlic, specialty shallots, elephant garlic, and 21 varieties of potatoes 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 garlic for a healthy and productive garden!

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