Only 10 of 64 garlic cloves sprouted

ecopit(5a IL)May 15, 2008

This was my second year planting garlic. The first year I planted 16 cloves from bulbs of an unknown hardneck variety obtained at the local farmers market. I planted the bulbs in a raised bed filled with garden soil. All were sprouted by the end of October, survived the winter just fine, and started growing like crazy the following spring. I saved a few of those bulbs for replanting and also ordered three other varieties: spanish roja and I forget the other two. I'll check when I get home. Last October I planted 64 cloves total of these four varieties in a recently-prepared raised lasagna bed. None had sprouted by the start of winter. This April, about 10 of the unknown hardneck cloves sprouted. None of the three new varieties sprouted.

Could the problem be that this was a new lasagna bed? Have others had problems growing garlic or other allium in new lasagna beds? I am pretty sure that I did everything else right, as far as planting time and depth.

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ecopit(5a IL)

I planted 16 cloves of Spanish roja, 16 cloves of Italian red, and 8 cloves of Korean red. None came up. Of 24 cloves of the unknown hardneck I planted about 10 came up.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:45PM
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I've had trouble with Spanish Roja myself. Of four bulbs, two sprouted fine, and two are still bare earth. I don't know what happened to them, but at this point I think I can put a VACANCY sign on those rows and plant something else there.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 12:34AM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

I'm not real sure what a lasagna bed is but from the sounds of it it's several layers of soil and organic matter. anyway, The only reason I see a garlic plant not coming up is maybe one of those layers is to tough for the plant to poke through. All 60-70 or my Roja come up this spring, just as the other 5,100 plants sprouted and are growing.

I understand the wanting to be an "organic gardener" but it seems you're hurting yourself. Garlic is simple to grow..plant it right side up, give it enough water in the late fall and BOOM you have a garlic plant. Did you plant it so there is about 2" of soil on top of the seed? did you plant it point up?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 12:58AM
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ecopit(5a IL)

I did plant them right side up and 2" deep. How am I hurting myself? You seem to imply that it will grow fine in any type of soil, so the lasagna bed likely neither hurt nor helped. I will have to look at other possible culprits then.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 3:01PM
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If it's simple to grow, then why the MIA plants? Yes, I did plant them 2 inches or so deep. Yes, I did plant them pointy end up, just like the other 200 cloves I planted last fall. The no-shows are in the same bed as the successful cloves, so they got the same amount of water, the same temps, the same sunlight.

I use organic fertilizer and compost, although more compost would probably have been better.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 8:15PM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

I envision a lasagna bed as being layers of matter. I should research this concept before dissing you about it. I see any obstruction in the soil as being hurtful to the plant as it's trying to come up. This season I applied straw to the rows after planting, the straw wasn't the best quality and some became matted down..this spring I was out looking things over and found a bunch of plants crinkled due to not being able grow through the hard straw layer on top. this year I'll have better straw.

I have been thinking of anything that would cause some sections to grow and some not...In the past when a plant or two didn't make it up I went searching for clues in the soil, most times it was a mole. I think maybe the moles make their tunnel under or over the clove or nibble on it a bit then it wouldn't grow because of maybe an air pocket.

sort of funny really...I found some Metechi cloves outside in a paper bag in late Dec that had roots growing into the paper. I pulled them apart, made a trench in a patch of mostly horse manure and planted them. Those are a foot tall now.

Investigate the soil where the cloves were planted. I have seen a clove rot in the soil before it started growing. maybe there will be some evidence of what happened

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:41PM
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ecopit(5a IL)

Yes, a lasagna bed is built by layering up organic materials. Mine has layers of peat moss, shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw, coffee grounds and compost. You are suppose to be able to plant in it immediately, but my results caused me to question that. Well-established lasagna beds are amazing though. Plants grow like mad in them.

I was strongly suspecting a small rodent at one point. As the snow thawed there was some indication of rodent activity near the bed. I didn't think they would eat garlic cloves though. Have others had problems with rodents eating their garlic?

Where did you get your Spanish Roja from? I have wondered if maybe I got a bad shipment. One clove was a little rotten and I threw it out. Maybe a fungus spread to the other cloves.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 11:15AM
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I too have had problems with using a mulch that mats and stunts growth.
Something that has never caused trouble is shredded leaves.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 8:54PM
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