Is it *truly* too late to plant Garlic?

pjintheozarks(6A)January 13, 2008

Never mind the reasons why. My garden wasn't planted last year, was left as it was when my ex- left it the Fall before, and is going to take at least another two weeks to get even a section of it plantable.

I really, really, really, really, really love garlic. I really want to grow it. The seed places all seem to say they're out (assumedly won't ship till next spring or fall).

If I plant end of this month, there will be at least one more serious freeze before spring. And my season is pretty long, we were harvesting into November last year.

Is it truly pointless for me to try and find some garlic to plant before end of this month? Would it not work at all, because I didn't get it in the ground in Autumn?

As a second question, does anybody know of someplace that I could order garlic, say as of this coming Friday (when I get paid lol), for planting?

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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

If you want to grow it, I'd say give it a shot. Planting now versus the fall means that you're missing a bunch of root growth but there's a chance that the garlic will catch up if you've got good soil fertility and lots of sun for them. At worst, you'll end up with either small heads that are perfectly fine to eat, though a little more time to peel, or large undifferentiated single cloves (rounds). I'm pretty sure that a couple of years ago Paquebot did a test and planted some garlic around Christmas and got decent sized heads at harvest and he's in Zone 4 (I'd do a search but it's not working right now) so I'd bet you'd get at least something for your efforts.

As to where to get garlic now, I don't know. It looks like Pinetree is selling some unnamed variety for spring shipment so you might want to call them and try to get more info. If there are any farmer's markets in your area you might be able to still find someone selling garlic that was grown locally which would also be great since it's already used to your growing conditions.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:33AM
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Thank you so much makalu!! I'm delighted to hear that someone has had some success with late planting. NOW the hard part is finding anybody -- persons or companies -- that will sell me some! I think it would be a worthy experiment to see how well it turns out anyway, no matter what the results. I wrote pinetree, thank you (which was hard to find, since 'pine tree seeds' is an english phrase with no relation to the company 'pinetree' in some respects, and is owned by some searchbot). Unfortunately I'm in a little city with no farmer's market (though rumor has it we might get one this Spring!!) which is why I'm feeling a bit desperate.

I suppose if I am THAT desperate, I can get some of the crappy store garlic and go plant those cloves. That hardly seems worth it though, in some respects...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 12:39PM
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robin303(8b Tx)

A little late but good stuff.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Thanks for the info you guys. I just want to mention that I have not been able to find any source of garlic anywhere (despite that I'm willing to pay really premium price, and have written several sources email). So it looks like I'll just plant a little walmart grocery store stuff (sigh), if nothing else it does work nicely as a companion and with bug issues. We'll see how it works out. :-)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 5:18PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Hi there, we have some garlic left you could plant as seed stock. We grow commercially in NM and I think we have some rocambole left and also Polish White. We have spring-planted some garlic , not with great results, but it will grow.. a lot depends on your climate. Go for it, you might be pleasantly surprised. Garlic is pretty versatile. You can e-mail me if you are interested in some garlic-- it's not great seed stock but good enough, and it's not California Early (which is what you'll get at the grocery store)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 9:52PM
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That's terrific kristenmarie, and thanks very much. Sending you email now. - PJ

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 11:09PM
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Maybe this is a dumb question, but ... is the issue with garlic, that it has to freeze, over winter? If this is the case, would freezing it a bit before planting in spring do it some kind of good?


    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 7:10PM
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mistervetch(z6b (NE TN))

PJ: No, garlic doesn't *have* to freeze, so no need to freeze it before planting. There is no advantage to doing so.

Garlic is a VERY hardy plant, originating in Siberia, I think. It is best planted in autumn, so the cloves have four months or so to get the root system started over winter. Then in Spring, with its roots already deep and established, garlic can concentrate on growing leaves. Bigger leaves, bigger bulbs.

You can still plant now or early Spring, just that it'll have to grow roots first, and that takes away from growing leaves. As a result, the leaves end up not as large, and the clove size will suffer, a little.

Though you CAN plant right now, I think garlic won't grow if soil temp drops below ... 40 something degrees F., I forget the ezact temp. If it's real cold where you are right now, the cloves will sit there in the soil without doing anything until things warm up a little.

Last year, I wasn't able to plant garlic till early March. The resulting crop ended up ... ok. Some large bulbs, mostly medium sized though. If I could've planted in late January, I would've. So, I say get 'em in the ground right now if your soil is workable. The longer in the dirt, the better. And you won't kill the garlic unless you try. And even then it's hard to kill.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Thank you so much!!

Monday night, it was weirdly warm, like 55 degrees. Although I have a lot of work to get my garden beds ready for spring planting, I ran out to them, grabbed the only garlic I've gotten so far -- a generic 'italian garlic' bag from walmart bulbs area -- cleared off a 1.5'x3.3' space and planted about 65 cloves (1" deep, 3" apart).

The instructions didn't tell me which direction to point the cloves and I forgot!! Crap. So... I pointed most of them downward but some side and up figuring at least a few will work. ;-)

I added a little extra soil to the top to make sure it was a solid inch above them as we are going to have a few major freezes (we're having one now) before spring arrives.

I figured worst-case scenario, maybe I'd have fat green onions of garlic or something, even that would probably be edible, but from your notes it sounds like I should get at least a few heads, even if small, and even if a pretty generic type.

That's wonderful. :-)

Here's a possibly important question: how do alliums react to being transplanted?

Come spring when weather is warm but not hot, I'm going to be planting everything else (in the beds I need to amend but for that little tiny garlic area, heh). I'm also going to have a bunch of tomatoes and peppers I'd love to put garlic around in containers as well as the beds. (See my Swingset Garden plans.) Do you think it would kill or stunt the garlic if, around then, I dug it up, amended the whole bed including that area, and then replanted, some there and most around the other plants in the beds or containers? Garlic is pretty good for dissuading critters.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 10:57AM
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mistervetch(z6b (NE TN))

>> The instructions didn't tell me which direction to point the cloves and I forgot!! Crap. So... I pointed most of them downward

Uh-oh. The cloves should be planted flat side down, pointy side up.

It's only been a few days, you want to dig 'em up and re-plant? I would. If a clove is planted upside down, it will eventually point itself in the right direction and grow proper ... BUT you'll lose the advantage of planting it in late January, as it takes a LOT of the garlic's energy to right itself. As I mentioned earlier, you want to get garlic going early so it'll establish roots by the time Spring rolls around, then it can concentrate on leaf development. Cloves that are planted upside down have to start growing upside down, then the roots will start to turn around and grow downward, and the leaves have to turn and start growing skyward. Roots can't get established while this is going on.

>> Here's a possibly important question: how do alliums react to being transplanted?

They won't die, that's for sure. The roots, however, don't like to be disturbed, so when they're transplanted, they'll want to grow a new root system. That, of course, causes delay. I must have transplanted 20-30 garlics a few months ago, they all look fine. They're just a few weeks behind the others, not a huge concern.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 8:31AM
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