‘Cracking’ garlic is the term generally used to describe breaking apart the garlic bulb into individual cloves prior to planting. Individual cloves, by virtue of being ripped apart from their siblings, are referred to as seed. I like to think of them as orphans.
There are 26 Russian Red garlic cloves that make up the one pound punnet of seed on the scale. We will put in 3120 pounds of seed so that roughly translates to over 80,000 plants for next summer. Most advise I have found suggests cracking the garlic as close to planting as possible to ensure the integrity and viability of the seed. Some even suggest cracking the night before. Sure, like I’m going to be able to add 3119 more punnets of orphans overnight. It will take around 120 hours to crack that much. Last year we began cracking seed 14 days prior to planting and there was no noticeable loss of integrity at harvest. So don’t fret over having your garlic cracked for a few days or more before you plant. Store your orphans in a well ventilated area at around 10 to 15 degrees centigrade and I’m sure it will be fine.
We managed to get some fall rye established in the past couple of weeks even though the weather has been very dry and warm. The area pictured will receive new garlic seed by around October 7. We will till the rye in one pass then one more pass with discs attached to a cultivator will raise the soil forming a nice bed for planting. The remaining 3/4 of the field will stay under fall rye until the spring.