What to do with the garlic? Help Quick!

kenyadenola(z8b CA, Sunset 17)May 23, 2006

First off, I planted my garlic late, I think it was in either November or December, which is late compare to when I planted last year. When I did plant, I planted it in a spot that I haven't planted in before, the soil is fertile but it is clay. This particular site has been ammended with organic matter twice, but not nearly to the level that the other beds have. Normally I plant it in the box that has the lovely purchased loamy soil. Then we had more rain than was ever expected.

This particular spot stayed wet for a very long time. The garlic is about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, but the tips have yellowed from all of the water. They have been fertilized once with bone meal and blood meal and sprayed with fish emulsion once.

I have pulled up a couple and the heads are not forming, which I can understand, they haven't had there full time to grow. Last year, since I planted early, my garlic was ready in May. This year I figure it won't be till end of June maybe end of July, but my real question is, the soil is very tight. Will they be able to form heads in this soil. When I dug out the tester garlic, it was hard to do, and if it was hard for me, I imagine it may be hard for the garlic to grow.

I am getting impatient, and my husband has said just give them time, but they are taking up a prime spot for tomatoes and if they are just doomed, I would rather pull them up now and just chalk it up to a loss rather than wait till it's to late and I can't plant my tomatoes there.

What do you guys think. Some of the lower leaves have started to yellow, but no head, yet when I pull them up, they are not rotten. Please help, quickly, what should I do?

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username_5(banned for no reason)

Sounds to me like you already know what you want to do.

Plant tomatos.

Maybe compromise and thin them out and plant tomatos right in the middle of them. It works just fine.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 10:06PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

I have a similar issue every year, trying to decide how long to wait on the garlic to plant the tomatoes, but I try to plant early (asian) varieties, and I usually have some large enough heads by now.Hot May's usually make the question moot since they start to die anyway. Not so this year.I always plant in November with the fall rains, and never consider this "too late".I think they start to bulb at a certain time, no matter when you planted them.A larger plant when the start means a larger bulb, but planting in November shouldn't change when they start to bulb. I have tried the interplanting and it's not terrible, but watering the maters when you want to pull the matured garlic might be tricky.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 10:46PM
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coho(z8/9 N. Calif)

Keep that hard soil dampened until the first leaf dries, at that point your bulbs will be formed and you can remove the water. When you have 5 green leaves left, dig them.
My soil gets really hard when fully dry.
You can look down each row. There is a big crack from stalk to stalk from one end to the other of the row. The swelling bulbs displaced enough soil to crack it, just like a wedge.
BTB, not unusual to have yellowing leaf tips.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 12:00AM
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I thought my garlic was way behind. But my notes from the last two years say they are on time, some did rot. I harvested Music already. BTW I never plant tomatoes after garlic because the garlic takes too long finish. Tomatoes usually go in around April 1st (this year middle of MAY-- damn rain) The garlic seems to be ready around the middle of June. I put pumpkins or other squash in the garlic bed because there's enough time to grow them before Halloween!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 7:03PM
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kenyadenola(z8b CA, Sunset 17)

Well, thank you everyone for your responses. I started pulling some up yesterday and it indeed was ready. Some were planted to close together to form a sizeable head, but that's what you get when you let your kids plant with you. I did get a few rounds, I may plant them again, or just use them as garlic onions. Upon pulling them out I realized that had I left them in till the end of June or July like I was going to, the wrappers would have rotted away.

This is only my second year growing garlic and believe it or not, I didn't look anything up about growing it, I just put it in and my Grandma told me what to look for when it's ready and that was it. It seemed very easy. It wasn't till all the reading and research did I start to get worried this year, I guess ignorance really is bliss. The one thing I learned for sure is I think I will stick with the hardnecks, if they do well in California.

I've already prepared a site for the fall garlic that won't take up any of my precious tomato space next year. That was the only hard thing about growing garlic, trying to decide where to plant it since it's going to be in for a while, but I'm all set now!

Thank you again to everyone who helped me, and I look forward to many more years of garlic growing.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 7:55PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

Please let us know which hardnecks do well for you in California!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 11:18AM
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