• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

all about garlic!

 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
lets learn all about garlic!

I consider garlic the KING of the kitchen and in my opinion the KING of the garden! In the past I have had alot of success with garlic. I have tried planting both grocery store variety cloves and specially purchased cloves and I must admit I was much happier with the ones I bought specifically for planting. I am guessing it has something to do with variety and climate.


most are probably aware of the great health benefits of garlic! A braid of garlic competes with winter squash for aesthetic superiority in my book too. I get a little dissapointed when the braid starts to look sparse but its too yummy not to eat.   

what are your tips for growing garlic?
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i like garlic because it basically grows itself.

we planted 600 cloves this year.

tips for garlic...hmmmm... lots of mulch.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i had my first success with growing garlic last year..but think that i should have left it in the ground longer...
 
                        
Posts: 175
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the best tip is to grow the garlic types adapted to your climate and zone.  But, don't neglect to experiment with new varieties.

http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/


My other tip is:  if you have a male dog, plant your garlic in an area fenced away from Fido  (!)

Also, you can bring some garlic inside in the wintertime and grow in a pot in a sunny window.  Then you can snip off greens like chives to add to stir frys and soups.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I enjoyed this photo essay when I came across it a few months ago, even though the dates in question don't apply to my climate.

He seems to have a workable system, but I like to interplant fava beans, and I don't feel I have a license to till.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
88
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've got about 100 mild german hardneck in the yard right now.  Started them around Halloween, they are doing just fine.  I'll take them out in May, early June at the latest.

There is no such thing as too much compost.  Rich, complex soil grows rich, complex flavor.  The roots of garlic are kinda shallow, but soil loosened deeply will allow greater root growth.  More roots, bigger bulbs, healthier plants, better flavor.

I use double dug raised beds and intensive planting.  All the plants are spaced about 5-6" apart in an area about 2x10 on one side of a bed.  There are a couple of clay pots buried to the top which I fill with water to help maintain soil moisture.  Garlic needs regular/steady moisture levels for best growth.

Cold is key.  The plants need a good hard freeze in order to form cloves.  Without a freeze, the bulbs will form only a couple of cloves if you are lucky.  Fall planting is the best, gives the plants time to develop roots before going dormant for the winter.  If you must plant in the spring, toss them in the fridge for a couple of weeks, then in the freezer for a couple of days just before planting.  Separate the cloves after you take them out of the freezer.

Garlic does not compete well with weeds.  The leaves are narrow and get smothered easily.  Each clove has its own leaf.  Makes it easy to count what you might get at harvest.  8 leaves on a hardneck variety, a dozen or more on a softneck is a beautiful thing.  The leaves make an excellent addition to salad, but pick them young, and not more than half the leaf.  Older leaves tend to become fibrous

To keep down weeds, the best method is lots of mulch.  I mulch with compost, leaves, coffee grounds, whatever is available.  Thick mulch keeps the weeds down and the soil moisture high.  If any weeds do show up, pull them out when you get the chance. 

I've never had any problem with bugs on my garlic.  Never.  Not once.  As a companion plant, the anti-bug properties can help other plants.  Try a dozen plants beside a tomato.  Not too close, if the tomato grows as well as the garlic, you might lose the garlic.  My general rule with companion planting: if I would put it in a salad or tomato sauce, its does pretty well planted together, except onions and lettuce.

Starting a couple of months before harvest, the water needs to be steady.  The bulbs need the water to get fat and you want a big fat garlic.  When the first leaves start to turn yellow, stop watering them completely.

When about a quarter of the leaves have turned yellow, start pulling plants out of the ground.  If you wait any longer the cloves will begin to separate.  Separated cloves have a much greater tendency to rot or simply dry up in storage.

When you take the plants out of the ground, this is the only chance you have to rinse them off.  All they need is a gentle rinse to remove most of the soil.  Even the pressure of a hose nozzle is enough to blast away the skin.  If the skin is blasted away the plants can rot or dry up in storage.  If you don't wish to rinse, most of the soil will dry up anyway.  Just brush off the dry soil and call it good.

After pulling the plants, cure them in a well ventilated and fully shaded spot.  A single layer is best.  Some overlap is ok.  Leave the leaves and roots in place.  Won't hurt a thing.  If you remove the leaves and roots, the bulbs tend to seperate.  Let the plants do their thing intact.  The leaves will dry up from the outside in.  If your crop is small and you have the space, spread out the leaves.

When the plants have cured, all the leaves will be dry and yellow/white/gray.  The roots will shrivel up and fall off easily when rubbed.  The bulbs will be firm and fully enclosed with paper.  Any bulbs that have separated should be used first-they wont store for more than a couple months.  The outermost leaves can be peeled off to remove any remaining soil and give you a nice clean bulb.  The rest of the leaves should pull off.  Hardnecks will want to be snipped.  If you are making braids, you'll need the leaves left on.

Not all bulbs will form cloves.  Now and then I pull out a plant and all I get is a marble looking thing.  I cure these along with the others and either use them first or give them to my neighbor to feed her dog-helps with the fleas.

When storing garlic, the things need to breath.  Tossing a bunch in a bucket can lead to rotting fast.  I've lost some this way, real disappointing, but after some steady medication, electroshock and professional counseling I'm talking again and doing much better. except for that twitch. 





 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
my tip: don't plant garlic where it will be washed away by winter floods.

I would add more, but Ken seems to have it covered.  we do a few things differently, but his advice is pretty solid.  one thing that might help for those in humid areas: hang the garlic up to dry.  tie maybe four to six bulbs together and hang them where they'll have good air movement.
 
Jeff Mathias
Posts: 125
Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
wombat wrote:
I think the best tip is to grow the garlic types adapted to your climate and zone.  But, don't neglect to experiment with new varieties.


I like to plant a few bulbs in out of the way places and forget about them for a year or more. It helps the garlic to acclimatise to your area and it usually strengthens that particular varieties attributes (ex hot garlic usually gets hotter). You will not get large bulbs but instead a clump of multiple little cloves much like an iris that needs division. I plant in fall once it starts raining and generally harvest in summer so dividing these naturalized garlic comes pretty easy. The first rain gets them growing so you can find them via the new shoots to dig up and divide. The new shoots for me at least generally have few roots if you get them right away so no real damage is done moving them. Even if some damage is done since I plant in the fall and allow the garlic to winter by spring everything is usually happy anyway.

For me the naturalized clumps tend to produce scapes more often; which works out good as we are usually out of fresh garlic right about the time the scapes show up, so they help gets us through until the next planned garlic are ready.

Jeff



 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
forgot about scapes.  pulling scapes out should make bigger bulbs, too.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Speaking of scapes, you can make pesto out of them!

I intend to make some with sunflower seeds for a friend of mine with very bad food allergies, once the scapes are in season.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
88
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
PESTO!  Gawdamma!  I can't get them past a steamer.  The things are versatile.  How about add some balsamic or red wine vinegar for a salad dressing.

Let's take a look at prices...
MOFGA retail price reports shows $4-8/pound for scapes, $10/# for bulbs as being typical.  These are self-reported organic prices.  Works out to 50-75 cents per bulb.  Walmart prices, last time I looked were in  the range of 79 cents for a pair of bulbs, 40 cents/bulb.  In a farmer's market setting, 2 bulbs for a buck is entirely reasonable.

There's a place for garlic as part of a market crop.  Its easy to care for, holds up well for weeks after harvest, and demand is plentiful.  There are numerous cultivars available-hard neck and soft neck, white/purple/red/silver, some mild, some strong.  Because the plants are grown from cloves, there is no cross-pollination worry;  Several cultivars can be grown side by side.  This allows a farmer to expand selection to better cater to the local customers tastes.  Garlic users tend to pay great attention to their food and can be especially particular in what they want.  If you can deliver, you've got a solid customer.

Starting out, the price of seed bulbs can seem high.  You are looking at 10 bucks a pound for the good stuff.  A pound will easily get you 50-100 plants.  Save your bulbs, increase your stock, it won't take but a few years to come up with whatever quantity your market will support.  Unsold product can always be processed into something else-garlic powder, perhaps, or your own secret family pesto sauce.

Leah Sattler spoke of a garlic braid.  HERE are the best How To instructions for braiding garlic I've found online.  It's so simple my dog could do it (if I had a dog, that is).  If you are not interested in marketing, these make an awesome gift for your neighbor or foodie friends, and best of all, they keep away Vampires. 


How much can you make selling garlic?  If you don't grow any, you surely won't make anything.  Getting started does not take a great deal of effort, time or money, but does take a little at least. 
 
Scotia Scott
Posts: 12
Location: Laurentians, Quebec (zone 3b)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am wondering about trying garlic in a hugelkultur bed.  I have just made the bed (mid-September) and am considering to try planting some garlic in it.

Perhaps the garlic will like the overwinter composting heat of a Holzer raised bed, though possible that this extra soil heat will imbalance the growth cycle.

Also, unsure about optimum ph and nitrogen for garlic.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This year I'm side-dressing  with sheep pellets, seaweed, liquid fish and blood n bone early in the season, then pretty much leaving it to its own devices.
I had a pretty bad harvest last year: it was badly affected by rust and I'm not taking any chances. I can't resist experimenting though; some is getting no extra inputs apart from heavy mulch.
Whatever you do, don't dig, then forget it and leave in the sun... my mum's entire crop went went waxy and yellow.
 
                        
Posts: 148
Location: South Central Idaho
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the cures you get when you take an individual clove .. skin it .. cut a slice and wet with water .. apply it to skin cancer, acne, herpes, cut, splinter or shingles .. leave it on the site for five minutes and remove.

Read "Garlic and You"  .. stops cancer of the gut, cures radiation damage and flushes heavy metals .. etc.

Sometimes once .. sometimes five applications are necessary .. but gone, out, cured .. brown toe nails and all.

I usually fail to dig one or two and next spring they are divided and planted early for that year's crop. Plant in the fall weeks before the hard freeze .. no not cover .. or cover some and don't cover some and they will teach you what is what.

Rose leaves, garlic, horse eyes and people will teach you at a glance .. if they need water or a hug .. on horses .. look for injuries .. I can feed a string of horses in pens on the fly  .. morning and night and after a month .. stop dead in my tracks .. dull screaming painful eyes .. go in and I have a kicked, sick, colic, cut or somehow injured horse and I read it off their eyes.

Plants scream as do children .. watch the lower leaves and water in the head .. and if you can't "read it" .. continue at your own risk.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I bet there must be 20.000 applications needed to cure skin cancer with garlic.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glad I found this thread.  Went to the Garlic Festival in Saugerties NY and picked up some Italian purple stripe bulbs (they were out of seed cloves) and are planting them this week.  One question I have is do I leave the paper on the bulb or just that last hard skin before the soft clove, or do I remove all the skin.  This is our first try at growing it and I have not seen any info on the right way to prepare the clove for planting.


Al
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Al, just break up the bulb, eat any small cloves and plant the rest without peeling, quite deep, fat end down. The most important thing is to mulch well, as garlic doesn't like competition. I usualy completely mulch the bed, then in a couple of weeks check to see if the garlic's come up under the mulch, the move the bare minimum aside to allow the garlic through.
I don't know where you are, and keep in mind I live in a temperate climate!
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pippimac, thanks for clarifying that for me.  I knew about planting with the root end down, but no one ever said how to treat the clove prior to planting.

I did read about mulching being essential and to take the flower off after the first few days it appears so it will become a bulb.  I live in New York, USA in a fairly cold zone, so we use hard Neck garlic varieties which may be different from what you use.

Thanks again for the help.


Al
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
make sure to eat the flower ( there called scapes ) when they come up. there delicious.
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just planted my garlic.
Most places were sold out.
Did anyone else have trouble finding seed garlic?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 8844
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
112
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have generally just planted garlic from the store....
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
grow enough to save your own seed, its very very easy to plant a few extra cloves for next year,
 
Zack Ewing
Posts: 25
Location: Mid Missouri
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used seed stock this year, it is really best to save seed back. Garlic is one of them things that will adapt and be better each year...
 
Joe Skeletor
Posts: 113
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
    I heard that many of the big garlic farms in new york state, where a lot of seed garlic is grown, had some really bad disease issues this year. At my job (farm), we tried orderinI think the larger scale places have had problems though. Kinda like potatoes? g from multipe garlic farms earlier in the season, but got many cancelled orders because of the crop failures. One farmer said he and many of his neighbors had gotten seed from Canadian farms that was passed off as seed garlic but was actually food-grade for stores. Many had huge losses, so that might be why you're not able to find any. Ordering earlier would be a good idea for next year.
    Like others said, on a smaller scale you could just buy garlic from the store and you'll be fine. Saving your own from year to year will help it acclimate to your garden.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Don't cloves make clones?  What is the mechanisms by which a plant from a clove improves its phenotype for a setting when there is no selection of genotype?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would expect some epigenetic effects, but likely the most important effect would be in choosing a line of clones from among the many varieties available.

Breadfruit trees have been cultivated into quite a few varieties, so sex isn't entirely necessary for adapting plants to their environment, but I will stipulate that it makes things much, much more rapid.
 
Travis Philp
gardener
Posts: 965
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
SCAPES: I've been told by a pretty serious garlic grower to cut the scapes once they've curled around twice but if you want them to keep growing back, cut them before they curl at all. Then you'll get two or three harvests of scapes, though they'll be smaller. I cut them even after one full curl and they don't usually come back.

You can get away with spring planting of garlic here in zone 5 but in my experience the heads don't get as big and some won't even split into multiple cloves.

Planting garlic in a high elevation will help prevent rot. Garlic doesn't need irrigation (at least not around here) so being up high isn't a problem.

 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
the best scapes, based on the requests of customers and my own experience, are pulled out of the plant rather than cut.  with a bit of care and good timing, quite a bit of extra scape will slip out of the stem, and that part is much more tender than the rest of it.
 
                                
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
generally, I have just planted garlic last days and i found it interesting....




_________________________________________________________

 
Tim JFowler
Posts: 5
Location: New Mexico
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love garlic, because it has been so simple to grow.

I plant in the fall, add compost, water in the spring, harvest when the leaves fall over. This fall I planted a ring of garlic and alliums around our apple tree to see how they cooperate. Garlic is supposed to hold the grass back and otherwise act as a good companion plant to the apple tree.

Re: choosing garlic. I replant some of our own and also plant garlic from the local farmer's market or our CSA.

FWIW,
Tim
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I planted about 200 bulbs in early Oct. (im in zone 6) and now of course they have green tops on them, about 3-5 leaves per bulb and they seem to be developing roots/bulbs. Now that winter is here, will it be a problem that they had so much vegetative growth? Im thinking that it wont be an issue and they will just pick up on bulb development in the spring, but I don’t have much experience with them. Any opinions/advice?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3352
Location: woodland, washington
75
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
they'll be fine unless you get a lot of frost heave.  heavy mulching usually solves that problem.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well I have mine planted in raised hugel style beds, with about an inch or two of mulch on top. I shouldn’t need to worry about the frost heave because they are raised…so fingers crossed. I really love garlic and I would hate to see them not do well.

 
                    
Posts: 11
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We are typically in a 3b zone, but today it's +1C.
Someone has to benefit from climate change. 

Been growing garlic for 4 seasons and love it.  We typically plant in the late fall, mid to late October (it's when we have time...). This year we have over 500 cloves planted: porcelin, italian rochambo, and red russian. For size and quantity the italian rochambo has been our champ, although the red russian always comes in with a good size.

This year we harvested no scapes and let all the bubils develop fully. Surprisingly it did not affect our bulb/clove size much. We intend to plant the bubils in the spring for a 2+ year harvest and replant cycle. Seems the least expensive way to gain quantities of good seed. Any thoughts on the planting/harvesting bubil cycle?
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rob, I was worried about the same thing, and am in zone 6 as well.  I am using raised beds also and mulched on top of the leaves.  Hoping for the best, as this is the first time trying to grow garlic.
 
                              
Posts: 123
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I planted garlic around my plum tree.  It's the inner circle of the plum tree guild I'm working on.  Can't I just leave it in the ground there and just harvest half at a time at the right times of year?  Leave half in the ground and it should grow and prosper?
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
According to Mollison, yes that is the case. You can leave them go and they will multiple after the second year I believe. I am trying this myself since I don't know anyone that has done it. I eat so much garlic its the best thing to do IMO. I also am letting shallots and multiplier onions go as well.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeff Mathias wrote:
I like to plant a few bulbs in out of the way places and forget about them for a year or more. It helps the garlic to acclimatise to your area and it usually strengthens that particular varieties attributes (ex hot garlic usually gets hotter). You will not get large bulbs but instead a clump of multiple little cloves much like an iris that needs division. I plant in fall once it starts raining and generally harvest in summer so dividing these naturalized garlic comes pretty easy. The first rain gets them growing so you can find them via the new shoots to dig up and divide. The new shoots for me at least generally have few roots if you get them right away so no real damage is done moving them. Even if some damage is done since I plant in the fall and allow the garlic to winter by spring everything is usually happy anyway.

For me the naturalized clumps tend to produce scapes more often; which works out good as we are usually out of fresh garlic right about the time the scapes show up, so they help gets us through until the next planned garlic are ready.

Jeff

This only works if multiple generations of seedlings grow, the effects on the cloves are primarily due to growing for longer. Plants do not acquire characteristics by exposure beyond some very minor changes that occur fairly rapidly, denying this fact is probably what toppled the USSR.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emerson White wrote:denying this fact is probably what toppled the USSR.


I've heard a few other theories, including prolonged occupation of Afghanistan and an economic system that shielded powerful interests from market signals.

I think there's respect for garlic there, but the cliche' I've heard from that part of the world, is "cabbage won the war."
 
                            
Posts: 271
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah Crumb!

I just found five garlic bulbs that I thought I had planted! Ok, I thought that I had planted all of the garlic, not specifically these five. Is there any way to maintain them so that they can be planted in the spring? They are nice sized with lots of cloves on each. They are individual varieties:

Italian Loiacono
Inchelium Red (I do have one bulb of this planted)
Island Mountain
Asian Tempest
China Stripe

A few inches of snow on the ground, not bad, but we've already had several days of below zero weather a few weeks ago... so I imagine the ground is frozen.

I ordered individual varieties (and attended the local garlic festival) where I tried to get a nice selection.

Russ--my plan was to plant last fall, grow for bulbils and plant those next year rather than harvesting for use. I'd also hoped to order more varieties each year for the next three to five years.

So... are these bulbs "saveable"? Hate to admit it, they were under the seat of my pickup.... so they've been chilled, but possible frozen as well. I was so excited about the great garlic gamble... I'm disappointed in myself.

 
After burning through the drip stuff and the french press stuff, Paul has the last, ever, coffee maker. Better living through buying less crap.
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic