Forcing garlic

promethean_sparkJanuary 23, 2010

Last summer I decided to try forcing garlic as one would other bulbs. For my experiment I took two types of garlic, german hardneck porcelain and chesnok red purple stripe garlic. These are relatively late garlics for my area and last year the porcelain was barely coming up last Jan.

For both garlics I had two heads from the same source. I refrigerated one head of each for the month of October and kept the other head at room temperature. I planted all the heads on Nov 1st.

Here are the plants as of 1-19, the porcelain on the left, purplestripe on the right. In each rock ringed bed the refrigerated plants are on the right side.


Results: the cloves that were treated in the refrigerator are dramatically larger as of mid-winter, and comparable in size to neighboring artichoke and asiatic (early) garlics. I expect they will produce earlier and/or larger bulbs. I'll post an update at harvest time. This may be a method to allow garlics that are more suited to northern climates to be reliably grown in southern climates where they would otherwise mature too late when summer heat would cause them to be stunted.

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michaelc0(9b, Sanford, FL)

I did the same thing last year with 7 varities of garlic.
- 3 Creoles
- 2 Marbled Purple Stripes
- 2 Artichokes.
The Chilled bulbs (40 days at 40 deg) grew faster and most formed bulbs from late march through late April. The non-chilled grew longer, but never formed bulbs- none of them!

This year I chilled all my bulbs, but tried planting about a month earlier and later than the beginning of November like last year. The early plantings grew fast, but suffered during a long stretch of days in the 90's. Some varities did not die, but went dormant. Others varities (Red Toch & Inchelium Red) died back and/or are falling over. The Creoles are growing again, but splitting the stalks. Some of them are sending up lots of leaves so I think they had developed into small segmented bulbs and each of the small cloves is sprouting up through the original stalk.

The late plantings are growing well with 3-5 leaves each and I hope they will bulb up ok. We had temps in the mid 20's this month and the leaves were frozen each morning, but seem to be ok.

I did plant some around the end of Oct. or beginning of Nov. (I did not keep records as good as last year). Some of that looks pretty good. The Guatamalan Ikeda is doing great with between 9 & 13 leaves each.

Please keep us informed on your experiment. I'd like to know how they do as far as forming bulbs and scapes. Also, what dates they are ready to dig. We are both in zone 9b, but I'm in Florida, so I'm sure there will be some differences.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:27AM
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You should try asiatic and turbin garlic too, then. Those do better than artichoke and hardneck garlic in tropical asia and are supposed to be the earliest to harvest. Here is a photo of a turban garlic sprouting in Sept with no chilling at all. It seems they start to grow several months after harvest, regardless of temperature. From 2009-10-01

Unfortunately they don't store well because you can't stop them from sprouting.

I'd be happy to swap garlics with you when they come up in late spring. I have 1 creole, one porcelain, one purplestripe, 2 asiatic, 2 turbin, one silverskin and 6 artichoke.

The silverskin emerged even after the untreated porcelains and purplestripes. I only had one head though, so I couldn't do the experiment on it with a control group.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 1:02PM
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michaelc0(9b, Sanford, FL)

I did get a sampler pack with some Turbans and Asiatics in it from 'The Garlic Store'. I'm still looking for what variety garlic will do well here in Central Florida.

This is my 3rd year growing garlic.
1st yr. - Music and Legacy - Did not prechill-total failure, did not make bulbs.
2nd yr. - Prechill experiment, 7 varieties for warm winter areas. Got bulbs on most of prechilled garlic.
3rd yr. - (this year)Vary planting dates. All bulbs prechilled. I should get some bulbs this year too, although the garlic planted early looks pretty bad. Looks like I might only get rounds on a lot of the early planted stuff.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 10:43AM
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You guys are further down South. I am in GA, zone 8.
This is my second year planting garlics. I plant them in the fall. So they grow up to 12"(leave)before it gets freezing cold. Last year A harvested them early June (when tops died). I had coupleof dozens or so. But this year I have a lot more. My seeds came from the grocery stores. Mostly I have soft necks, some hardnecks and few elephant. So I don't even know the name of varieties. But those are the ones I have been buying an using for years. Maybe, next year I will get fancy and look into interesting varieties.
Right now I use young green fresh ones, like leeks.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 1:44AM
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I'm at the same latitude as Virginia, so definitely not south of Georgia. We are kept warm by an almost constant on-shore breeze off an ocean that's about 50'F. That makes for very long, cool winters and mild summers. If the prevailing wind were the other direction, we'd get regular snow like the northeast. I guess Georgia would be Z10 then, and Florida would be a harsh desert like Baja. ;)

Rare offshore winds off the high desert bring hard frosts in winter, and in the summer they bring heat waves - most infamously the santa-anna winds blowing off Arizona to SoCal.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Georgia has probably 3 zones. North Ga is 7, mid GA zone 8, and south GA zone 9 (I think). I am in border of 7 and 8, mostly 8.
Zones are not determined by the latitude, although there is a strong corelation. As I understan it , zoning is based on growing season length, mostly last most probable spring frost date. That is why, by mere zone numbers you cannot compare climats. For example, Atlanta GA, Seatlle WA and Portland OR are all in zone 8. But Atlanta by far has much colder winters and much longer and persisting hot summesrs than Portland an Seatlle.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 12:35AM
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