Fall Planted Garlic is Sprouting - 2 Months Early!!

veggieholic(5)January 26, 2012

I grow a lot of garlic in my garden, about 150 plants per year. I planted in November this year, which is actually a bit later than normal for me. However, our winter has been SO mild this year, the garlics have already sprouted green tops! I'm not sure what to do about this, they normally come up in March. I am afraid this is going to damage my crop. Have any of you seasoned gardeners out there experienced this with mild winters? Can anyone offer suggestions of things I can do to help them through the rest of winter? I save my garlic seed year to year so it would be devastating to lose a whole crop as well as my planting stock for next year. Thanks in advance!

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I've seen them start growing in the spring due to a week of warm weather in February, but the soil temperature takes much more than normal variations to get them to really take off to the point they become vulnerable to leaf burn.

They might keep growing slowly for the most of february, but I doubt they will grow fast until March or whenever winter has ended.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:06AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Mild winter here is the norm. I am still learning.

I like to plant in Sept-Oct and will have greens sprout for some varieties before "winter".

I have yet to plant my entire crop at one time, but I think the varieties that sprout greens give better sized bulbs. I will confirm this when all cloves are planted at once.

From what I understand, weather that allows repeated freezing and thawing is bad. To try and prevent that in my garden, I mulch heavily with minced leaves and grass clippings. Other then that, I let mother nature take over. I hope the natural winter waterings are optimal - not too much nor too little.

Although it rarely snows where I live, occasional snow falls in the past have killed off the green sprouts. These then "reappear" in the spring. This year, the greens that sprouted in the fall, maybe half of my varieties, are currently still visible. I'll see if this is a negative in the spring.

I have never lost an entire crop, so I cannot speak to that. But I think somewhat acclimated garlic grows like a weed. When I have my kids help with harvesting, a clove or two always ends up mistakenly dropped somewhere and these cloves seem to always grow!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 11:35AM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I agree with austinnhanasmom about the earlier planting, sprouting and getting larger bulbs - at least that has been my experience. I also plant at the end of September and get sprouting in about three weeks. It seemed to stop growing on top at the end of November and has looked like this since. I never have mulched for the winter, but here in (now changed to) zone 6B the freeze/thaw thing hasn't seemed to be a problem, although we usually bump five degrees or slightly lower a few times. I am experiencing the regular situation here, which is winter drought, so the garlic gets a thorough soaking every 10 days to 2 weeks. Admittedly, need to get a handle on the henbit...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 1:22PM
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I generally plant all throughout the fall from late September into early December, and I really haven't seen much of a difference in size between the ones that are planted earlier or later over the years. I do notice the ones in full sun and spaced out more tend to grow larger.

If you plant them too early, I find them getting some foliage burn, and if they are planted too late, they hardly break the soil, but this year, even the ones planted by mid december are 2-3 inches tall. I think the best thing is to find a balance where they aren't tall enough to get burned, but also have enough root development to take off strong by March.

Here's one of the ones planted in November and they didn't make sprouts until December, but through the winter, every time it has stayed well above freezing, these guys have grown a little bit over the winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of my garlic

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:01PM
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largemouth(Z6 NY)

Notice your follow ups are from folks in different zones. Especially my buddy horster in KA. Much love for my folks in Kansas. Spent a week in Greensburg with the New York Says Thank You foundation in 08.

Total warm winter here in NY, in about the same zone you are, veggie. No worries. Garlic seeks it's own level. Had sprouts before way later than I had expected. It will all work out, and you will still be eating the best thing on earth in July or so.

Got 450 in the ground, and I ain't worried!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:26PM
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I am also located in Indiana and I actually noticed garlic sprouts back in December. I planted the last week of October. So, I added another 6 inches of straw mulch or so. However we've continued to have an incredibly mild winter, and the sprouts are pushing through the extra mulch.

I just noticed today that the outer leaves of these small sprouts are basically just mush - they squished down to nothing in my fingers. Does this mean that my bulbs are rotting? We've had quite a bit of rain, and i do have a pretty heavy clay soil.

Should I remove some of the mulch? Anybody had experience with this? Any comments are appreciated. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Muncie Indiana here and the same is happening here to my garlic. I always put mulched leaves down after planting. This is supposed to help the frost heaving and greatly reduces the weed mass in the rows. My advice is apply 2-3" of straw mulch. This should keep the soil temperature at a more steady temp. The nights getting down to the 20's and the daytime high in the 40's is not good for it. The straw will help keep this from happening.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 7:42AM
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did you mulch the garlic? that would help keep the ground frozen. garlic is very cold hardy and at the worst the green growth may die back if you get really cold temps, like in the teens.

my winter has been very mild but my bed is under 6" of shredded leaves and somewhat shaded by bare tree branches. i'm sure my bed is still frozen.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 2:23PM
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My bed is partially covered in snow and heavily mulched with hay, I can't wait to check their progress. I has been a fairly mild winter here too in NH, I hope they taste good this summer!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:55AM
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