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Oly Peninsula: garlic sprouting NOW! Help!

 
Posts: 205
Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Global weirding continues to take its toll, or maybe not. Several varieties of garlic that I planted in October and November are already sprouting. Others have put down roots, Which is what they should be doing, and I hope they stick to that. Our freeze and thaw cycles, while they don't penetrate the ground very deep, nonetheless would probably kill little garlic sprouts.

What is the best way to keep the little ones alive? My instinct is to add at least four to 5 inches of Mapleleaf and alder chip mulch to protect them from freezing.

On the other hand, we had mid 20s temperatures last week and a Heavy Rain in the past couple days, so maybe they won't even care .

Apologies for typos, I am using dictation because my hands are gloved , too dirty, or both.

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pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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The garlic in the backyard survives all winter long, they are basically evergreen.
Granted I planted hundreds, maybe thousand and who knows how many of them died.
 
gardener
Posts: 676
Location: Western Washington
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Hi Fredy,
I'm from Sequim, Port Angeles, and Belfair originally. It's totally normal for the garlic to sprout. I've even planted in January and February and had it take off right away. I wouldn't cover the green part; it'll inhibit photosynthesis. You might mulch more thickly around them once they're a little more established.
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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Half mine did this last year, central van isle away from the water. We had some stretches of 10+ days below zero, lows around -10c. No problems in the spring; as best I could tell the performance differences between the cultivars didn't corelate meaningfully with the fall sprouting.

Half of it did it again this year, now I'm an hour norther... I have yet to finish mulching it.

Maybe not optimal, but no big deal imo. Of course since I planted 2500 cloves this is probably the year it will be a problem..
 
pollinator
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No need to worry :) I cover mine with a layer of fall leaves. They do just fine.
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planted a week ago
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planted 1.5 month ago
 
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Garlic survives sub zero temps in many places with out any problems.
I leave some in my garlic beds then separate the new shoots and plant them about 4 inches apart around the end of December every year and that way I always have plenty of garlic bulbs come July and August for harvesting.
Those that I don't harvest will sprout again in very late fall from the cloves and those will be the ones that I separate and replant that December for the next years crop of bulbs.
 
Fredy Perlman
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S bengi, dillon, why did you plant so many garlic ? And dillon, do you mean 2500 cloves or 2500 bulbs? How are you planning to process and store all this garlic when the time comes? Having just planted 2 1/2 pounds, I already have to think about that, but I can't imagine the scales you are contemplating.

There is some fuzzy evidence that garlic is a great companion plant , so I'm wondering if this explains your widespread dispersal. I've read that only beans don't like being close to garlic. As you can see I have it near the leeks, so that when I harvest the leeks there will still be some allium present in the bed. Then of course there chives around that, and around fruit trees generally. The allium is pretty much continual in one form or another, except near beans. It's worked out well for me so far.

And Bryant, You mean in December you separate the cloves with shoots from the bulbs that formed, leave the bulbs and move the shoots somewhere else? Sounds like a good technique, I will try that next year.
 
S Bengi
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Where did I plant so many garlic/chives/onion/leeks/etc.

The are green in the winter. I see them poking thru the snow, which makes me feel happy.
It suppresses "certain/bad" nematodes via the root extudates (allicin) esp when the nematodes bite the root.

They are edible and very little root competition due to how shallow it is and that it goes dormant in the summer and is active in the winter. You get seeds/bulbils/cloves/etc that you can spread and get new plants. Thye are easy simple gifts to give to people. I give it to kids all the time and they start growing immediately, which is great for there shorter attention span. I give it to people who are new to gardening and it can take pretty much any type of abuse and just keep on going, then they feel excited and start growing more stuff. You can easily get a bowl+smooth rocks+moss then stick a few garlic/chive/etc and make it a present.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Well, I planted 2500  cloves.. but I hope they will be bulbs when they come back out!

I am hoping to sell most of it. We will see how that goes.

For processing and storing, I'll cure it just below the roof of the woodshed and covered parking bays off the shop, assuming that I get the former built and keep the latter from falling down this winter. I haven't got a very solid plan beyond that point yet...

As to the why, I just bought my property this summer, and having a certain dollar value of crop in the ground before Oct 31st is a part of getting official farm status for property tax purposes up here in the people's republik of canuckistan. If I hadn't had this incentive I would have probably scaled up more slowly; I only did perhaps 150 cloves last year.

Garlic has a lot going for it as a crop... it stores reasonably well, it's fairly valuable for the land/bulk, it's not terribly complicated... it can be processed in various ways if not getting sold fast enough... and it's delicious, healthy, medicinal.

The downside is labour... I planted about 2400 of those cloves myself, and I was so very sick of it by the end. Clearing the land to do so took several times as long, as all my topsoil had been scraped into giant burnpiles after the previous owner logged. These were covered in 8ft tall scotch broom, and loaded with huge chunks of charred cedar, barbed wire, and chunks of cement... Rip it apart, pick through it... rinse and repeat until it's good enough to roughly grade and then mattock the beds and pick it one more time. And one more time again as i put the garlic in...

So far I'm at 50% on pile 1 of 4...
 
Fredy Perlman
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Now I feel better about having planted 2.5 lbs' worth...in fact that seems inadequate! And Dillon, that is a brutal load of prep work to do first. Mine has been more tedious than grueling: make hugels, topdress hugels with soil, compost and mulch, plant garlic. In the in-ground plots, it was much quicker, just harvest whatever was there, amend it a bit and plant garlic. Interestingly it's taken better to the inground plantings; maybe it's the variety (Tashkent Turban is really taking off) or maybe the placement. I too built a massive woodshed, the 2nd largest structure on my property...would be easy to hang up nets of chicken wire just below the metal roof and dry the garlic there!

S Bengi, I hadn't thought of garlic as a gift. What a great idea. In a world where 2 bulbs of organic garlic from Mexico, Argentina or California can cost 6-7 USD, it's a great food or garden item.

Thanks!
 
Posts: 93
Location: SW Washington
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Your garlic will be fine! It is an incrediby hardy plant and an absolute breeze to grow. Sprouting in the fall and then just hanging out until spring is what they do here. I live in Stevenson, WA so maybe a bit colder than your area and garlic is one thing I don't worry about freezing. I plant in October, they all sprout, are maybe 2" tall before it gets cold enough for them to just hold steady during our short winter, then they start growing like crazy in spring. They go through many freeze/thaw cycles here and are unphased. Mine are buried in a lovely 2 foot deep snow and ice cake right now and I have no doubt that come spring, every single one will be there ready to thrive.
You didn't ask, but I'll just add that my walking onions are about 4" tall, bunching onions 3-4", chives totally dormant and they all survive winter just fine here. When we have a warm spell, the 2 types of onions grow a little, stop when it gets too cold, grow a little more, repeat, repeat, and I've never lost any to weather. Sometimes the greens will get beat up in an ice storm, but they always recover.
As for bulb onions, I had a whole bed wiped out in a summer wind storm last year. It whipped through and flattened them. I thought they might recover but the greens turned yellow and died. I harvested the little 1-2" bulbs which were delicious and even stored well. I ate my last one just a couple weeks ago but had they been larger, I would still have enough to last until spring bunching onion time. Lesson learned: bulb onions are way less hardy and could use a wind break in an area like mine (windy river gorge).
 
Sally Munoz
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Those that I don't harvest will sprout again in very late fall from the cloves and those will be the ones that I separate and replant that December for the next years crop of bulbs.



Ooo, good idea!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Bulb onions do very well when covered by a row cover, it lets in sun and water but keeps the wind from knocking them down. Garlic can also be row covered for anyone who worries about their garlic surviving.
 
Sally Munoz
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Bulb onions do very well when covered by a row cover, it lets in sun and water but keeps the wind from knocking them down. Garlic can also be row covered for anyone who worries about their garlic surviving.


That would certainly be wise around here! What's your favorite row cover material?
 
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I use a lot of clovers & buckwheat for ground cover. Both are good for the soil & good for pollinators. I imagine comfrey would work well in some situations.
 
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