Garlic stunted growth and tops fallen over

ellioscJanuary 13, 2013

I'm new to gardening in the Houston area, and I'm having an issue with one of the two types of garlic I've planted. Didn't see anything when I searched, so hopefully this is not a repeated topic....

I planted Siberian (purple stripe) and Burgundy (creole silverskin) in October. Both supposedly do well here.

The Siberian was much slower to start growing, but has since put on great top growth. The Burgundy sprouted quickly after getting it from the grower, but after putting it into the ground, it grew for a few weeks and stopped. Stems were puny. By December, I noticed the stems falling over. Thought they were dying, so I gave up on them. But they stayed green and I finally decided to pull them. Tiny bulbs, but most seem to have split into a few cloves and they look fully matured.

Any idea why they matured so quickly? And is there any chance I could encourage these bulbs to sprout quickly and then re-plant them in a few weeks so that my money and efforts will not be totally wasted?

Only planting difference between the two is that I planted peas close to the Burgundy garlic. The Siberian is in its own area. It's not a shading issue, though, and I figured if anything, the peas would provide nitrogen.


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That sounds like a similar growth to whenever I plant garlic cloves in the spring. It may be that your soil was still too warm when you planted them so they decided to turn into bulbs without sending down roots and gaining size first. You can try breaking up the cloves and replanting them to see if they have any better results in the spring.

My guess is that you may need to provide artificial vernalization in the refrigerator for 2 months before planting them out by around December in order to have good results. You may also need garlic species that require less of a dormancy season.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I did keep them in the fridge for several weeks before I planted them. Although I did also plant them several weeks before the ones that are doing well, so the soil would have been warmer due to that.

Well, they're not worth much the way they are, so I guess I'll stick 'em in the fridge and then try replanting them. What can it hurt, I guess. Although if I don't see them showing signs of growth, I'll probably plant a few and eat the rest.

Thanks for the feedback! If anyone else has any thoughts, please let me know.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Confused? Did the garlic sprout before you planted? If they did probably had something to do with it. Also, where did you get your bulbs? If not local, could have problem acclimating. Should not try to sprout garlic before planting, also they do not transplant well. Should not break apart bulbs till a day or two before planting. Why did they developed small bulbs? Could be several reasons. Stress, not keeping in fridge long enough, planting a chilled bulb into a warm ground, too much nitrogen. Could be a combination. I plant farther south than you, I do ok & I don't put in fridge. Burgundy ok choice but takes several years of planting to get a decent bulb. Siberian iffy, take it from me just because top growth doesn't mean good bulb. Bulb should not develop till spring. Cannot loose anything replanting but you will probably not be successful. Hoped that helped.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:02PM
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Yes, that helps. Thanks.

The cloves were definitely green in the middle when I put them in the dirt, and some were already poking out the top. I also planted them next to peas hoping added nitrogen would be good, but maybe that was part of the problem. And they definitely got more warmth early on with the other variety being planted a few weeks later.

So it sounds like "all of the above"!

I also transplanted them, but I've always done that without problems (but not in SE TX obviously.)

I checked the Siberians and they have not started bulbing at all, so a good sign, I guess. I did a lot of research on what varieties do well here, but there was a lot of inconsistency, so....oh well. Live and learn.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:26PM
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