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Garlic Growers' Exchange

The Calgary Horticultural Society is excited to share just how easy it can be to grow heritage hardneck garlic locally in Calgary!

For the past 5 years, our Growers' Exchange has been a collaborative effort that we've been proud to be a part of with Inglewood Community Garden and Fort Calgary Garden.

We are supporting local growers of heritage hardneck garlic and celebrating all things garlic with the 2017 Garlic Fair + Growers' Exchange! Join us on Sept. 30th at the Mount Pleasant Community Association.

Garlic _Fort Calgary

Participating in the Growers' Exchange

No experience is required! By participating, you gain connection with other gardeners and resources while becoming a part of the local movement to cultivate heritage hardneck garlic.

How does it work?

There will be two levels of Growers:

Individual  Growers Residential  or individual community gardeners can join by purchasing your first share for $10.00 which includes 2 heads of 1 heritage garlic variety to plant this fall, along with resources for growing garlic successfully and metal plant markers for keeping track of your garlic plants. Each additional share is $5.00 and includes 2 bulbs of a different variety and more plant markers. (Please note: Society members get their first share for $5.00)

 Individual Growers are required to:

  • Return the following year with three bulbs of cured garlic grown in their own garden. The rest of the garlic is yours to keep! 
  • Keep track of each variety while growing, harvesting, and when it is returned the following year with proper labelling.

Founding Partner Grower: Residential gardeners or community gardens with the space to grow 75 or more cloves can buy this share for $20 and receive enough garlic (in a few varieties) to fill the available shared space.

Founding Partner Growers are required to:   

  • Return  30% of their harvest to the Growers' Exchange in 2017.
  • Post a sign provided by Calgary Horticultural Society in  the  garden to identify your crop as a part of the Calgary Garlic Growers Exchange. 
  • Keep track of each variety while growing, harvesting and when it is returned the following year with proper labelling. Metal plant labels are provided by the Calgary Horticultural Society for each variety.

Thumbnail _IMG_8763Here is Pamela displaying the metal plant marker that Growers' Exchange participants with receive for each share being grown.

All participants must:
  • Commit to NO chemical sprays (herbicides, pesticides) used on the garlic crop you are growing.
  • Assure that only organic or chemical free fertilizers are used in the garden bed where garlic is grown.
  • Maintain records of the garlic varieties that are being grown and properly label bulbs upon return to the exchange next year.

Depending on the harvest among participants in 2017, you will receive a new batch of garlic bulbs to plant in 2017.

What is the money from the shares used for?

As a non-profit organization, we consciously keep our operational costs low while offering meaningful support to Calgary Gardeners. The share fees for the Garlic Growers' Exchange go toward printing costs, purchase of seed garlic, administrative costs, plant labels, and speaker's fees.

As the exchange grows and progresses, we hope to offer shares for far less or free with more people returning garlic to the exchange and there will not be a need to purchase new garlic seed stock. 

Why is Heritage Hardneck Garlic a wonderful plant for Calgary Gardens?
  • hail resistant
  • thrives in hot weather 
  • drought tolerant, making it a waterwise option for the garden
  • succeeds in all types of soil
  • increases local availability of a typically imported food crop  
  • easy to grow, harvest and propagate

There are up to 50  varieties of heritage hardneck garlic that grow well in Calgary and are available from seed companies.


Garlic Fair 2017 + Growers' Exchange 
Date: Saturday, September 30th, 2017 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM.
Location: Mount Pleasant Community Association, 602 22 Ave NW
Admission: $2.00 (to cover venue rental cost)


What happens at the Exchange?
Returning Participants: 
  • PRIOR TO September 30th: Bring your 3 harvested, cured garlic bulbs in a paper bag LABELLED with your name and variety of garlic to the Calgary Horticultural Society office on one of two drop off days:
    • TBD
    • TBD


  • At the Sept. 30th Garlic Fair : buy your share(s) in the Garlic Growers' Exchange (this applies to everyone, new or returning growers)
  • Select your garlic from baskets set up in an exchange area
  • Stay for a garlic planting demonstrations on the hour at 11am, 12pm, and 1pm
  • Participate in small round table discussion with our "Ask An Expert" volunteers.
New Participants: 
  • Register and buy your shares at the event.
  • Select your garlic bulbs and meet other garlic gardeners.
  • Stay for a garlic planting demonstrations on the hour at 11am, 12pm, and 1pm.

Please contact the Coordinator of Community Gardens at The Calgary Horticultural Society with any questions, or to sign up and receive emails about Garlic Fair 2017. Join the Exchange! 

Want to help out?

We're looking for people to volunteer on the drop off days in September and on the day of the event. If you are interested, please email Carol: volunteers [at] for more info.

Immediate volunteer needs:
Formation of a Leadership Committee:

We also need people who are interested in being involved in supporting the on-going Growers' Exchange and forming it into something we can be proud of in the  Calgary gardening community.  Commitment can be minimal or more involved based on what you'd like to do! Your talents may be in writing articles for a newsletter or in organizing a spring scape swap or the fall garlic exchanges. We'll need 4-8 people involved in planning, so if this is something you'd like to be a part of, let us know.