Harvesting already in Z5

MaryZ5-6June 19, 2014

Last night we pulled up all of our Spanish roja. This is about a month early.

Several weeks ago the tops started falling over. I watered thoroughly and they perked back up, but then the whole patch collapsed early last week. I saw only two little scapes starting, and several of the plants had yellowing only on the lowest leaves.

Rather than risk rotting with all this torrential rain we're having, I bit the bullet and yanked them all up.

Interestingly, some of the heads are bigger than I've ever gotten. Most are medium to small, with a disappointing number of single rounds, but the big ones are really nice.

Any ideas what happened? I let the leaves lay over for a couple weeks. I've never had them fall like that.

So far no sign of fusarium, no visible pests in the soil (other than an alarming number of spiders), nothing.

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Sounds to me like some of those did really well and deserve to be sorted out for future seed stocks.

I have been harvesting already in Zone 4, myself. I had one Creole and one softneck that just didn't seem to be going anywhere and they were all bulbed up already; so they came out. Last year my Music and Mexican Purple made very nice bulbs in just over 60 days from a spring (late May) planting. They cured out very well and when planted back produced full stands. Sometimes you can't call this stuff.

This has been a very different spring from what we normally get; plant response is likely to be somewhat different from normal as well.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 4:48AM
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All varieties I grow were a month early this year. Everything pulled out and hanging, softnecks braided and ready to go.

What do you consider nice bulbs, as in the diameter of those spring planted bulbs? Just curious as "nice" means different things to different people.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:56AM
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I'm relieved to hear that others are harvesting early this year, too! Between the hard winter and the crazy spring, all the plants are acting...different. (On a side note, I have never seen so many maple and elm seedlings in my life. I think our lawn is more seedlings than grass.)

The "nice" ones are more of a classic garlic head shape as opposed to a small round. They are filled out, have several individual cloves, and many of the cloves are big. They aren't really big by allium standards -- only 2" to 2 1/2" across -- but they are shaped well, firm, and have smooth, intact skins. They also have very thick necks.

The wimpier looking garlic has skinny, wilted necks. They are mostly single rounds, maybe with one or two very small cloves on the sides. With some of them the greens seem to be coming out of the clove a bit sideways, not straight out of the top. The roots are shorter and the skin is looser.

I'm rather new to growing garlic, so those are just my observations about what looks like it did well versus those that look less developed. I have learned, however, that those single rounds make great seed stock. IME, those grow the biggest heads the next year.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Last year's "very nice" was a majority of bulbs at 2 to 2.5" with the Creole very nearly the same size as the Music. Both had respectable sized cloves as well, eventually that is. I harvested them too green but they finished clove development on the drying racks and still proved to be viable seed stock for last fall. Most finished curing at just about 2" or a little less. I also planted some softnecks from the organic grocery section said to be from Argentina. They all dried up and went down right after solstice in a group, too. Pretty much nothing there but rounds. All treated the same but Music and the Creole kept on growing all through July, and I probably should have given them a few more weeks and gotten even larger bulbs for it.

I expect my fall planted Music to beat that size this year, but the Creole, fall planted, was a disappointment, mostly scraggly, although not all, and mostly also only rounds. I realize that Creoles are not noted for size this far North; so last summer's results were a surprise. This year's not so much.

It is starting to look like all my garlics will be quite early this year, too. I am having my best response with the hardnecks. But I have a hope that spring planted Creoles have a future up here, if I can get the timing worked out. They don't seem to need the same amount of cooling other garlics do. Winter chill - that I have enough of for sure.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:46AM
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I think I'll try music next year. Spanish roja has a big, peppery flavor that I love, but it seems a bit fussy for my micro-climate.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:41PM
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