Frost killed garlic?

g1powermacFebruary 7, 2013

Hi All,

I went to inspect my garlic plot today and found what seemed to be really badly damaged garlic. I presume the damage is frost/cold related, but I'm not sure. I'm also wondering if they're still going to survive.

So, I took a picture of them for all to see. You can see rows of garlic closest to the camera is the most badly damaged. The interesting part is the only ones damaged is from one variety, Chinese Pink. The other varieties planted which you can see in the rows farther from the camera look pretty healthy.

What y'all think? Any hope that they'll survive?

J Silverman

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Those will definitely survive, and will likely still become nice large bulbs. I tend to grow garlic in many batches myself, and some of the earlier batches get leaf burnt depending on what species they are. I have done 1ft spacing before, but from experience, I've found that around 6 inch spacing is usually all you need for full size bulbs so you should be able to plant at least 2x as many garlic as you have there.

If you don't like seeing them get burnt like that, I would suggest mulching with plenty of fall leaves and not planting them until thanksgiving, but that type of winter damage doesn't seem to set them back.

I have attached my blog post to show what my spacing looks like. I have around 2000-3000 cloves planted this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: My latest blog post on garlic

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Hi Steve,

Thanks for the encouraging words! I'm glad they should survive. This is only the second year I've grown garlic and I didn't see this kind of damage last year, though it was a really mild winter last year. I'll keep in mind the mulching and later planting (they went in right after I got them in October because they were already sprouting in the box).

It's definitely good to know as well that I can plant them closer. My plan with these was to actually use them as companion plants for the upcoming spring plants, mainly peppers and eggplants. It's why they are on the edges of the raised beds.

J Silverman

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:09PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

What varieties did you plant? Perhaps, you might plant hardnecks as they are more cold hardy. And, yes, to a lot of mulch.

It only gets into the 20s here and the foliage on my softnecks dies back some, but they don't get completely burnt to the ground.

Just how cold does it get where you are?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:11AM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Companion planting doesn't really work for garlic. You will need to let them dry out completely before you harvest (so they store well) and that will limit the amount of water you can give to their companions. They also take up a lot of space underground, you would damage their roots while planting the companions and the competition between them would not be good for either.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

So how cold did it get to cause that damage?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:07AM
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If you plant garlic in a double row, you can leave room down the middle for small leafy greens like lettuce or spinach. In China spinach has long been used as a companion crop this way. I have better luck with leaf lettuce, which also keeps down weeds in the middle of a double row.

I planted an early softneck that got nipped back, too, but when I dug one up to look it had great-looking roots. I'm sure they will be back.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:41AM
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I'm in zone 6b so it has the potential to drop below 0F. However, so far it has only gotten below 10F. The one variety that died back was Chinese Pink. I don't remember right off what the varieties were that survived.

As for the companion planting, I have it where the rows of garlic are just about two feet apart. That should leave plenty of room to companion plant.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Garlic leaves typically burn when it gets down to the single digits, or under 10F with no snow, but for some reason, the clove itself never dies, and they have always resprouted in the spring for me as it seems like most of the energy in garlic gets stored inside the round/ clove itself.

I have had garlic around my other plants before and they don't appear to bother each other. Garlic has very thin leaves, and don't block out much sun. They also don't grow as deep as most plants so it should be fine to have them around.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:29AM
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