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The sterilizer may be isopropyl alcohol, vodka, hydrogen peroxide, Tsunami, or another sterilizer.
Put cloves into a container with fertilizer like fish emulsion, kelp meal, or a fertilizer blend (use the application rates according to the package). Then add 1 teaspoon of baking soda per gallon of water.
The cloves should soak for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. Many times we start our soak and are not able to plant in the morning, so we have left them in the fertilization soak for up to 3 days. After 3 days, they may develop roots at the bottom which are very delicate and you don't want them to break off when planting.
Through the years we have changed the steps in this method and we use to do the fertilization first, but so many times we go to plant and for some reason we can't and after the sterilizer has been drained they need to be planted right away, so we changed the process and get the same results with fewer issues. You can do it either way. Sterilizer then fertilizer or fertilizer then sterilizer.
The reasons why we recommend a fertilization soak of garlic seed before planting:
It is not mandatory that you soak garlic before planting. In fact, there are plenty of successful garlic growers that do not do this step and plant the cloves right into the ground. We do a fertilization soak before planting, because we are growing for others to plant our garlic and we want our customers to have the healthiest best performing garlic seedstock.