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all about garlic!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 2
Location: Oregon
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yes store garlic works but some places use growth inhibitors to inhibit sprouting, for improved shelf life.
 
steward
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love this little comic from peaceful valley (groworganic.com) on curing garlic.

 
Posts: 288
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I just started The Complete Book of Garlic: A Guide for Gardeners, Growers, and Serious Cooks
And am thoroughly enjoying it
 
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Jeff Barnett wrote:yes store garlic works but some places use growth inhibitors to inhibit sprouting, for improved shelf life.

A good way to extend the store life of garlic is to cold smoke it,similar to smoking a ham. This process also inhibits the sprouting, so you can extend the usability od the garlic also.
 
Posts: 17
Location: Duncan, BC
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Bulbils are so tasty, I always let the scapes grow out. But this year 9 of 12 plants made flowers! The only insects I've seen on them are yellow jackets. I hope there's some seeds eventually!
20150719_193937.jpg
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Garlic flower
 
Posts: 25
Location: Queenstown, NZ
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did your flowers produce any seed Dianne?
 
Posts: 117
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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Glad this one was selected for the daily. Cause I was wondering... Is there any reason I shouldn't plant garlic among my strawberries?
 
Posts: 41
Location: under a foil hat
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I have successfully grown garlic in our strawberries several times and will continue to do so. Made double use of the space and it encouraged me to pull out some runners on the strawberries when I harvested the garlic.
 
Posts: 298
Location: North Central New York
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Well, now I want to know how you close you plant the garlic in the strawberries without disturbing them?  

And -- I know garlic is planted in the fall but is there an optimum range of time for this?  I would imagine you would want to plant it well before first frost.
 
Jotham Bessey
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According to local planting calendar, I am supposed to plant garlic in October. First frost used to be September, so I guess you plant them early fall, before hard frost sets in.
 
Posts: 176
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Valerie  Dawnstar wrote:Well, now I want to know how you close you plant the garlic in the strawberries without disturbing them?  

And -- I know garlic is planted in the fall but is there an optimum range of time for this?  I would imagine you would want to plant it well before first frost.



I have some fairly close to my strawberries and they are fine. What's supposed to happen if they are too close?
 
Valerie Dawnstar
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I was just thinking about disturbing the strawberry roots when you planted the garlic.
 
casey lem
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I don't worry too much about spacing too close to strawberries, as long as I'm not butchering the roots too bad. Remember both strawberries and garlic are incredibly tough unless you're in a really harsh climate. If you want to go even further into the polyculture realm, you can throw some salsify in the mix. As far as the planting time I do shoot for a little before first frost date. I don't know if that's the proper timing, but it works for me. And cut some of those darn strawberry runners while you're in there!
 
garden master
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Ken Peavey wrote:I break apart the bulbs then set in in a shallow pan of water for a few days.  This gets roots started, followed by the first green shoot.  When shoot is a few inches long, I put them in the ground, mulch deeply so that only the top inch is exposed.  Rarely do I find any empty spots where a plant failed.

Heat from a bed should not affect the garlic.  Being in the top few inches, as long as it is good and cold for a couple weeks, the bulbs should not be affected.  Shallow planting will let the cold get to the clove.  Gotta have that for the clove to form multiple cloves for the bulb.  If it does not get the cold, you'll just grow a marble.  You can cheat by putting the garlic in the fridge for a couple weeks.



Ken, thank you for this information and the information in an earlier post.
 
pollinator
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I grew garlic for the first time last year in my suburban raised garden. It was more of a whim when a colleague offered to split a small box of Duganski, a hardneck garlic from the local garden center. I got an impressive 13 cloves from my one bulb and planted them all late November, 2" deep in compost in a heavily mulched raised bed. You can imagine my joy when I saw 13 little leaves poking through the soil that spring, reaching up through the leaves for what passes for sunlight that time of year.

That summer, I made a bit of an error in letting the scapes mature too much before trimming them, as they had plenty of time to toughen up. This is the first mistake I made that I won't repeat next year! It was still nice to be able to taste the spicy, garlic-y sap that ran from the cut scapes. I pulled the garlic when half of the leaves on most of the plants were dying back (around mid/late-August if memory serves; I need to get better at record-keeping!) and hung them upside-down in bundles of 3 from the tire rack in my garage. None of them were smaller than a child's fist.

I took the garlic down the first week of September, perfectly cured. After trimming them up, they looked like anything I could get at a farmer's market. The flavor was amazing: earthy, spicy, pungent and garlic-y. I was hooked!

I'm planning on planting cloves from 4 or 5 of my best bulbs this year; but given that I just picked the last of my peppers that share a bed with the garlic last week, I haven't had time to do my fall cleaning yet so I find myself full circle.
 
master steward
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Here's an infographic about garlic at West Coast Seeds.
west-coast-seed-garlic.JPG
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gardener
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I like the  above infographic.  I tend to do things slightly differently.  I think that that infographic is a good place to start and then adapt to your own local/style.

I don't plant my cloves that deep, and i live in a pretty cold place.  I grow in raised beds so that might have a bearing on this.

I experimentally planted a spot with cloves that had no skin  this year.  No problems on 10 plants, but I don't recommend it as a go-to strategy.  I think the skins might impart some level of protection to the growing clove, and I wouldn't purposely compromise my crop.  It was just an experiment.  I generally only plant large cloves from plants that have produced large heads with a minimum of 5 large cloves.  No disease or deformation is carried on, and generally I would consider the cloves without skins to be a bit of a deformation from 'best'.    

I often put some compost on the bed in the fall before I plant, then I mulch.  This gives whatever microbes and worms that are working under the snow something to eat.  This is particularly useful if the snow falls before we get serious hard freezing.  It could be a mild winter and there is potential of months of soil microbial work before the ground is frozen solid.  Sometimes it's frozen in late October and stays that way all winter, but it's worth the gamble to have the microbe boost.  

Fertilize in the spring?  Instead of disturbing the protective mulch system, I just deal with persistent weeds first thing in the spring, and add more mulch.  If the spring is a hot one, I water, thus keeping the winter moisture situation on a continuum into spring and early summer.  Garlic, like all alliums in my limited experience, love moisture in the early green growth stage... not so much in the later season, so I deny them water and force them to make strong water chasing roots; this also has the benefit of making harvesting easier.   If I had my shit together I would add Actively Aerated Compost Tea in a spray at the crown of each plant in the spring pop up day...  And then again on the first hot day, but I seldom have my shit together.  

When I harvest I clear about 10 feet of mulch, and the use a spade fork.  I go halfway between two plants and push it in deep, and then angle it under the plant lifting it's entire rooting system, which is shaken and the mostly dryish soil falls largely away.  Don't bruise them.  If you do, keep that bulb separate, and eat it... YUM.   I put a plastic tote or pails in my wheelbarrow and gently put the plants into the bin, careful not to bang or bruise them in any way.  After I have done 10 feet, I fertilize it with compost, smooth the soil and remulch, and then uncover the next 10 foot section.  This allows the soil microbes the least amount of time to dry out, and the most amount of time to deal with the intense disturbance of garlic harvest.

Instead of drying the plants for a long time in the shade, I always harvest on a sunny day, and lay them on a tarp in full sun to dry out the roots/soil.  If a sunny day is not available I would use a barn, or the living room floor. I don't want the garlic to be outside with soil on the roots for too long.  Fall is unpredictable here, and it could be a moist cold one.  Better to have the roots already as clean as possible before hanging up for an extended period.   I use a tarp that is big enough that I can fold over whatever it is that I am dealing with (or I have a second, larger tarp available to cover), and this allows me to stop work if the weather turns, or if I don't get it done before bed.   In less than one sunny afternoon, the roots have dried significantly, then I go right to cleaning. The roots are cut off, (careful not to cut the growth point), and the papers brushed free of soil.

At this time I go straight to the curing stage, where they can finish drying at the same time, hanging the garlic in bundles of 10 (actually two bundles of 5 alternating on the same string with a slip knot on each end), in the woodshed.  Soon the shed will be full of wood, but it is perfect for curing garlic and onions.  I string up ropes with tough nails (the garlic is very heavy with so much green stalks).  I string the rope really tight so that it doesn't bow too much and then I can hang the garlic bundles close together, but not touching.  I do the same for onions.  This is when the plant not only dries, but this is also when the huge amount of juice in the stems can descend into the bulb, and lock it's nutrients in for storage.  My garlic stores for more than a year.  We are still eating last years garlic.

The bulbs are already clean. before they cure.  I don't take off the stalks.  I try to keep as much paper on as possible, with as little damaged as possible when I clean them.  So at the post curing stage, I take the cured plants and bring them to the warm dry crawl space and hang them there in a similar way to the woodshed, but I allow them to be tighter together now that they are dry.  They stay there until they are needed to be sold, traded, or eaten.  








 
Roberto pokachinni
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the scapes mature too much before trimming them, as they had plenty of time to toughen up. This is the first mistake I made that I won't repeat next year! It was still nice to be able to taste the spicy, garlic-y sap that ran from the cut scapes. I pulled the garlic when half of the leaves on most of the plants were dying back (around mid/late-August if memory serves; I need to get better at record-keeping!) and hung them upside-down in bundles of 3 from the tire rack in my garage. None of them were smaller than a child's fist.  

 

For scapes I harvest them after they have curled.  Too soon and they will try to (es)scape again.  There is about a 15% loss of bulb size if you leave the scapes on according to a friend who actually did some meticulous experimenting in this regard with the same variety that I grow (which is, incidently, a variety locally called Russian, or Red Russian).  

We use the scapes as a stir fry additive/ veg and in all kinds of dishes and sauces.  We pickle the scapes, sometimes with other things added like radish pods, cayenne, and jalapeño.  All of this is a huge hit, and we freeze them and serve them right along with green beans, which the scape segments resemble.  
 
Roberto pokachinni
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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.  

 When I want to expand my crop for any reason I go straight to the source-> a local dude named Norm who has some of the only garlic in the valley that's better (bigger +healthy) than mine! That is the same variety and grown with heavy mulch and little water without chemicals.  He does have rich chemical free cow manure soil, which is a big plus.   His price is 25 bulbs for $30, uncleaned, just pulled up.  Once he has cleaned them and cured them he sells the bulbs at $14/ lb, which is considerably higher.  Because of problems that were not related to the garlic itself, last year we didn''t plant a lot of garlic (for me) for this last season, and so I bought 75 heads this year from Norm.  This should expand the crop quite nicely.  

One day, when I quit my day job, I plan to force some garlic to seed, and then get into sexual reproduction and breeding a local variety from various local hardy bulb strains.  This is very possible, but it takes some work to get the plants to produce seed, and then once the seed is produced and grown from seed, it produces more seed next time and so on.  I've read about it and discussed it with people.

Incredibly, one of the largest bulbs that I purchased last month had it's scape still attached, full of plump bullbills.  The bulb was bigger than my fist.  I'm a small guy, but still, it was huge.     And it makes me wonder just how big it would have been had the scape been removed.    
 
Roberto pokachinni
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None of them were smaller than a child's fist.  

A child's fist is pretty small in my mind, but then there are some pretty big kids around.   I have pretty small fists but I fit into most adult gloves, though some 'one size fits all' gloves are a bit big for me.  Just to give an idea that my hands are more fit to be a clerk then the woodsman, farmer, and railroad laborer that I've become.  Ladies leather work gloves tend to be a better fit for me.  All that said, my fists are smaller than some other guys; Brian, who I work with has fists twice the size of mine, but he's a huge dude.  

All the garlic cloves that I choose to plant from has come from bulbs that are about the size of my fist or bigger, but this is partly a variety thing.  Russian is a large headed hard necked variety.  

Some garlic varieties will not produce huge heads, while others will only produce small heads if they are given very poor conditions or are planted from small cloves.  

I chose to grow only from large cloves that come from large heads from a stock that grows large heads in general when given the type of conditions that I tend to work with.  People in this valley tend to want to buy large garlic, but I only sell my medium sized stuff.  It's as large as many other people's large stuff, so I get away with being able to plant from my larger heads.    
 
Anne Miller
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R Ranson, thanks for the infographic.

Robert, thanks for the detailed info.

This is another Topic that I didn't get an email for the update; I started saving them since 9/24/17 to be sure I am not imaging this.  It is showing "stop watching" at the top of the forum.
 
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This is a fun and short documentary called "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers" about garlic and the culture and people connected to the plant: https://vimeo.com/111386326
 
Posts: 125
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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tel jetson wrote:forgot about scapes.  pulling scapes out should make bigger bulbs, too.



It is true that removing the scapes on the garlic will make bigger bulbs. I had an interesting experience with stiff neck garlic scapes: I removed them and ate a few, but had too many, so I thought: What about making a great looking bouquet of scape flowers? So I clipped them with a long tail and placed them in a vase full of water:
I DID NOT GET FLOWERS! instead, each head started to develop tiny bulblets! It was so weird I went to Jung's  to ask them and they were stumped too, but one of the ladies there persisted and we eventually found out that yes, if flower scapes are removed, they will attempt to make tiny bulbs out of each flower [about the size of a pea on the best ones]. I was not sure how to proceed because some clusters were starting to develop quite a green mane. I placed all I could in small pots with potting soil and watered. The ones with a long mane did not make it [I suspect that was too much leaf for the undeveloped root]. Those that had just a little green nub seem to be doing better. They are growing tiny hair roots.
The article said that is one way to get the garlic to make clones of themselves: They skip the flower stage altogether. If you like the garlic you have, that is a really neat way to develop a lot of them for no investment besides the starting mix. I don't suppose they will be huge by next year but I'm going to try: I don't have anything to lose and I would encourage others to do it. The tiny bulblets are fragile, so handle with care.
And yes, garlic is not a good competitor for weeds. I placed straw and had a great crop last year.
 
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