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How to Make Money Growing Garlic (All Ways)

A collage of garlic harvest from farm to kitchen.

Who would have thought garlic could be a profitable, growing business? I know I love garlic and use it in many recipes, from soup to pasta dishes. But I would not have thought it could also be a profitable income stream.

Garlic cloves add a unique flavor to many dishes and may have some health benefits. But this article’s purpose is to make money growing garlic. And it is possible to create a nice income stream by growing this pungent vegetable.

Please read further to discover how garlic can contribute to your financial endeavors.

Ways to Make Money by Growing Garlic

A basket of dried garlic sold on the street.

There are many different ways to earn an income by growing garlic. The garlic’s demand and industry today are flourishing. This is the perfect time to start growing garlic and get your piece of the garlic industry.

Grow what the market wants

A simple idea, but it is true. Especially when growing produce for the consumer market. Another suggestion is to grow unique garlic. In other words, grow and sell unique varieties unlike what every other grower sells. Grow a unique, specialty variety of garlic that most others don’t is the key to your chance of success.

Investigate growing specialized garlic like Rocambole, Elephant, Purple Stripe, or Porcelain garlic. Be unique and avoid selling the standard garlic most all other growers sell.

It’s simple, grow what people want to buy. So, avoid the standard garlic you find at every supermarket. Then grow only gourmet varieties, like Rocambole or Elephant garlic. Finally, before buying your garlic bulbs, do some research. If you can grow what people want, your garlic will sell well.

Grow organic garlic

A harvest of fresh garlic on the farm.

Make sure to grow garlic using an organic method. The public wants and buys more organic vegetables. If that is what the buyers want, then give it to them. I prefer organic vegetables, as many others do.

Grow healthy, organic garlic by using organic products like organic fertilizers. Also, make sure to grow your garlic in healthy, prepared soil. When fertilizing, only use organic fertilizer for the best results. Organic garlic is the top seller and, as a side benefit, often sells at a premium price.

Sell garlic at Farmers Markets

Garlic bulbs hang and sold on the market.

Have you been to a farmers market? We enjoy visiting farmers’ markets and browsing all the produce on display for sale. And, I have noticed these markets are always well attended to by eager buyers. So, if the crowds like to visit farmers’ markets, you should have your unique and organic garlic on display.

Farmers’ markets tend to fill up fast with vendors, so get a stall or stand as soon as possible. If all the available stalls are taken, try to share a stall with another non-competing grower. Then, put your unique garlic on display and watch the crowds buy it up.

Produce brokers for marketing garlic

Selling to retail outlets and supermarkets, produce brokers buy garlic in bulk. Sellin in bulk is good for garlic growers as you may sell large quantities at once. But selling to a produce broker requires selling at a wholesale price. And a wholesale price can be okay if you ship large amounts of product all at once.

A side benefit to selling to produce brokers is moving large quantities of products. As a result, the broker will offer a lower but reasonable price for your garlic crop. Then, you have more time to, guess what, grow more garlic. And that is not a bad deal.

Create value-added garlic-based products

Garlic bulbs and wooden utensils.

Another way to generate income is by creating value-added garlic-based products. With some research, it is possible to make a safe, garlic-based insecticide. Other products can include deer repellent with garlic as the main ingredient.

A good way to make a product is to use “culled” (garlic bulbs with odd shapes or blemishes) bulbs. Culled bulbs can make a natural garlic flea repellent. The culled garlic bulbs are placed in a mesh bag and tied at the top. This creates an effective and organic flea repellent. These products, plus many more, are great ways to add to the garlic income stream.

Mail order sales through online or printed media

Garlic is being sold more often through mail-order sales. Run ads in printed media such as gardening magazines or online. Also, mail-order sales of garlic bulbs are becoming more prevalent. This style of marketing garlic is especially effective if your garlic is unique.

Is your garlic a unique variety? Did you use organic growing methods to grow the garlic? Do you have specialized garlic-based products to sell? Often, the special garlic is harder to find, and mail-order selling may be the way to promote your garlic.

Soft neck vs. hard neck garlic

Garlic and onions on the plate.

The primary garlic types are hard neck and soft neck. Soft neck garlic is usually sold in grocery stores with a soft, short neck with many layers of garlic skin. Hard neck garlic has a hard stem, larger cloves, and thinner, papery skin.

This type of garlic usually has a better flavor and an edible green stem part called a “scape.” The hard neck garlic is the best for growing with its higher profitability.

Plant larger garlic cloves

The largest garlic heads are more profitable and are grown from larger garlic cloves. The larger cloves contain more stored energy than smaller cloves. This stored energy makes the garlic more cold weather resistant.

This then produces a better base plant for growing garlic. Always select bigger garlic heads for planting. The larger head grows more appetizing and attractive garlic. They are easier to sell, and additionally, you can consume them at home.

Properly prepare the garlic-growing soil

Garlic tolerates a variety of soil conditions. The best soil for growing large garlic heads is to grow in good soil with a lot of nutrients.

Garlic can grow in a wide variety of soils. For large heads, your garden should have plenty of nutrients before planting.

Some of the conditions garlic prefers are:

  • Well drained soil, avoid heavy wet soil to avoid clove rot
  • Loamy, loose soil with high levels of organic matter
  • Only fertilized the soil between pre-planting and late spring to encourage head development
  • Avoid soil that is not suitable for garlic gardening. If soil is not usable, grow the garlic in raised beds with good drainage
  • Avoid over-fertilizing the garden with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. They may encourage more top growth than head development

Provide plenty of growing space

Garlic likes to have plenty of space for growing its roots. The best results are when they do not compete for water or nutrients. It is preferable to plant garlic 6 inches apart to promote ideal growing conditions. In doing so, they also provide shade for each other. Garlic does like to remain cool as possible in the summer months.

Keep garlic growing soil conditions cool as possible

Large garlic heads prefer long, cool winters. An early, long spring helps to begin developing their root systems. These conditions start proper garlic head development for ideal head growing conditions. Garlic head growth begins with the soil at around 60° F and will end when the temperature reaches 90° F.

The trick is to keep the garlic soil cool for as long as possible. Cool soil will give the garlic time to grow the biggest and most profitable garlic heads. Soil that gets too hot too early will impede garlic head growth. If this condition happens, it will result in smaller garlic heads.

Some tips to keep garlic cool in summer

  • Mulch with lighter colored material such as straw to reflect sunlight. Good mulching will keep more moisture and protect the soil from heat.
  • Mulching helps to prevent the soil from becoming too cold in areas prone to the ground freezing. Some good mulching products are Mega Mulch, Coca Mulch, and Compost.
  • If possible, select garden areas that have shade during the hottest part of the day.

Is It Possible to Earn $40,000 per Year Growing Garlic?

A purple colored garlic on a the wooden table.

Yes, it is, and the key to making a nice income is to grow the garlic the public wants to buy. As discussed, selecting the right garlic to produce and sell is very important. Also, please note that making money on growing garlic is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Be patient and follow our suggestions in this article. If you do, then there is a good chance you can create a nice income stream.

But why garlic? According to BrandonGaille, the U.S. consumed 511 million pounds of garlic. And the average person consumes 2 pounds. That is a lot of garlic, and since the pandemic, garlic prices have increased. Also, since garlic is easy to grow, and since the garlic has to be grown somewhere, why not in your backyard garden?

If the trick is to grow what people want to buy, how do you discover the most popular garlic bulbs? Investigate popular garlic grower websites to find their best-selling bulbs. These should be the most in-demand garlic varieties to plant.

The “hardneck” variety like Purple Stripe, Porcelain, and Rocambole are the best sellers. Conduct research to find the best-selling garlic bulbs to plant. Then, you will have an opportunity to make money and not have wasted garlic.

So, is it possible to make $40,000 growing and selling garlic? But only if you grow gourmet and specialty varieties of garlic. They command the highest prices. Using the current average price for specialty garlic, they should sell for around $6 per pound.

An acre of land can produce about 15,000 pounds of garlic. So, if the goal is to make $40,000, you would have to grow around 6,700 pounds of garlic at $6 a pound.

Growing 6,700 pounds should represent about a half-acre field of garlic. That is promising income for such a small garden. And makes growing garlic a serious consideration.

Follow these suggestions, and chances are that you can make good money on less than a half acre of land. Garlic anyone?