Is it time yet to harvest Garlic & advice on improving bed

maggie_berry(z6CT)June 27, 2005

This my first year with garlic and onions. The garlic plants are all slowly yellowing. The onions have small, small bulbs.I have a few questions. 1) Is it time to pull the garlic? 2) planted onion transplants and they don't seem to have big bulbs yet. When do they start to bulb and when should they be harvested? I'm thinking that this october I'm going to make a special raised bed for the garlic and the onions. I would like to use mushroom compost. 3) What is the best materials for a raised garlic and onion bed? Also, we are in a middle of a heat wave,I'm watering them. 4). Should I stop that now? Thank You guys for holding my hand through this exciting time. Maggie

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Nelz(z5b/6 NW PA)

Welcome to alliums! It's all very exciting.

Let me try thes in order:

1 - You'll get some different view points as to exactly when to pick, but you are on the right track with watching the garlic leaves. I like to harvest when about 50% of the leaves are brown. Also, when you are getting close, withhold water. This let's the clove wrappers begin to dry and prevents you harvesting wet bulbs. I also use a garden fork put in several inches from the garlic and pried up, before pulling the bulbs. Not always necessary, just my preference.

2 - Not sure when you planted the sets (as they are called), but this is a bit early to think about picking them. Make sure they are well watered and well fed. Also, be very diligent about weeding because onions don't like the competition. Also, there is nothing wrong with 'stealing' a few onions at this stage to use as green onions. Even with smnall bulbs you can still steal some for fresh onions if you'd like. I usually plant mine 1/2 as close as recommended, and thin by pulling and using every other one throughout the early summer.

3 - I'm sure mushroom compost would be a fine start. Compost and other organic matter would be fine also. Someone here will (hopefully) chime in with a good ratio of bone meal and blood meal to incorporate for garlic. You may want to plan to save leaves and at least some grass clippings for mulching the garlic when planted this fall.

4 - I think we hit watering in #1 for garlic and #2 for onions.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 11:23PM
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maggie_berry(z6CT)

Nelz, You are Great! Thank you for your comments. I'm already dreaming of how I'm going to do things better next year. Also, I now know that sets and transplants are the same thing. So I can search the forum for more info on them. Maggie

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 7:14PM
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