Garlic blooming?

klo1(z7 OK)May 29, 2012

My hardneck garlic is blooming, at least most of them are. Question is, when do I harvest those bulbs? A couple of other are ready, browning leaves, but those with blooms look to still be going strong. I have them in a large pot and I am needing to plant other things in it so really need them out if they are ready!

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scooter70(6 SW OH)

refer to other posts about scapes on this forum...if you clip the scape or flowering stalk your bulbs should be larger & the scape is a gourmet treat.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:03AM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Garlic doesn't bloom (which means it doesn't produce flowers.)

If they bloom they are onions or leeks.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:53AM
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klo1(z7 OK)

I know these bulbs are garlic and they have a large round ball at the top that sure looks like a bloom to me! I have also seen wild garlic, in my yard, that has dainty white blooms so don't know what you mean about it not blooming. I'm going to cut off the "blooms" and see what happens!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

As said above, garlic does not make flowers regardless what you believe. Hard neck garlic will make a scape which looks like a flower. Below is a link to a photo of a scape.
If your bloom is a round ball at the top, you have some type of onion growing, maybe a shallot which looks a bit like garlic when planted.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:08AM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Whatever I have has cloves like garlic, I have planted them for several years in my garden. This is just the first year I have planted them in a container. My start of this plant came from a very old garden in N.TX. The lady who gave it to me said it was garlic and it sure taste like garlic so I have no idea what I have!

Thanks for the picture of a garlic scape, I wondered what everyone was talking about!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 4:03PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

If your plants look like the one in the link above then what you have is garlic.

If it doesn't, could it possibly be elephant garlic that you are growing? It is more closely related to leeks than to garlic, and the flowers of elephant garlic & leeks look identical to each other.

Rodney

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:48AM
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klo1(z7 OK)

I really don't know what it is I'm growing, LOL!! I first planted it to help repel moles and gophers from my flower beds and garden. The lady I got it from had it all over her flower beds and never had any problems with those varmints. But it didn't work for me, they didn't bother the "garlic" plants, just the other stuff. Then I decided to just plant for my own use. I'm going to Google a picture of elephant garlic and see if that is what I may have.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:45PM
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klo1(z7 OK)

Ok, I have elephant garlic. Now when do I harvest it? All the flowers have opened so I don't know what to do with it now, any ideas?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:53PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

The first thing you need to do is to cut off the blooms. They take energy from the bulb, resulting in smaller bulbs. For future reference, the blooms should have been cut off before they ever opened. So you're a little late in doing so.

As to your question about when to harvest. The general rule is to harvest the bulbs when around half the leaves have turned brown.

Rodney

Below is a link to a previous elephant garlic conversation that you might find helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elephant Garlic

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:28PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

In my experience, garlic attracts gophers. At least, the last time I tried to grow anything in-ground (like 200 garlic plants) the gophers got them all.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:04AM
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klo1(z7 OK)

I think it does also, that is the reason I planted it in a large container! Thanks to all of you for the info on elephant garlic, I'm going to pass it on to the women who gave it to me!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:21PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

still_kris and madroneb, regardless of what you believe, most varieties of true garlic (Allium sativum) do consistently produce flowers if the scape is allowed to develop. By carefully removing bulbils, it is even possible to get viable seeds from some varieties.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garlic from true seed.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:21AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

Is it bad to let the scape bloom?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:38AM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Consistently? Not ever in my experience.

I'd be interested in hearing about the experiences in garlic seed propagation by the commercial growers who post here, but they are too busy harvesting, curing and selling right now to weigh in.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:17AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

jolj: It's not bad; just might mean smaller bulbs. My bigger concern would be leaving them in the ground so long, as the bulb wrappers will start to rot and the cloves won't store so well. But like a lot of things in gardening, as long as you don't leave all your eggs in one basket, there's no harm in experimenting. In other words, cut some off, leave some on; dig some up earlier, some later. As long as you have the planting stock and edible harvest you want, what is the harm?

still_kriz: If you always remove the scape you would never see this, but when the scape straightens and the umbel capsule splits, there is a crowd of tiny flower buds (yes, true flowers) and growing bulbils inside.

The flowers usually wither as the bulbils grow, but if the bulbils are carefully removed the flowers will develop, and the umbel will look much like a smaller version of a leek (or elephant garlic). Whether they will produce pollen or viable seeds is another question which depends on the variety.

I wouldn't expect too many commercial growers to have experience with this, since bulbil removal and garlic seed propagation are time-consuming processes, but I do expect to see new varieties coming from researchers and hobbyists who are pursuing this.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:45AM
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