Oh dear, planted whole garlic bulbs

mamajaneJune 2, 2012

This is the first year I've grown garlic, and purchased four bulbs from our local nursery. The checkout girl gave me instructions which I glanced through before plunking my bulbs in the ground. The garlic is up, about 2.5 inches, and I've just reread those instructions and realized I was supposed to separate the cloves and plant them separately. What a silly, newbie mistake.

Can I save my garlic by digging it up and separating it now or is it too late?

Thank you!

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It's likely too late to produce any substantial crop. In your zone 4, garlic should be planted in the autumn before the ground freezes for a July harvest.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Thanks, I do know that - we weren't planning on a harvest this year, just wanted to get them in the ground. What I'm asking is, can I dig them up and separate the cloves now or is it too late?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Okay, I found this: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/allium/msg061724458398.html the OP did not plant whole bulbs, but some comments along those lines shed a little light on my situation.

Sounds like I'll try digging them up and replanting.

Now, the woman at the nursery did say I could plant in the spring (these went in around end of March/beginning of April (our last frost is mid-June) for a fall harvest. I'd already read so much about garlic seasons, that I didn't think this was true, but figured it couldn't hurt to experiment. Is the spring garlic planting a myth? These were soft neck garlic bulbs.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Oh! I just found this: http://www.ehow.com/video_4976217_planting-spring-gardens-propagating-garlic.html he planted whole bulbs in November, dug them up in the spring, separated them, and replanted. So perhaps not all is lost.

I did google around and find spring plantings for garlic are okay. Hope I can save what I have.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:47PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

The reason that you aren't supposed to plant garlic in the spring is because the resulting bulbs are quite small. Garlic really needs a period of cold to grow nice and big. They also need the long day lengths of summer to trigger them to bulb up. So by planting in the spring you are losing all that valuable growing time just waiting for them to sprout when they should already be up and growing. And when they finally do sprout, they are growing in unfavorable "bulbing" conditions (high heat and shortening day length).

If you haven't separated the individual plants, do so as soon as possible. The longer you keep them growing together, the smaller the bulbs will be. You may or may not get usable bulbs this year. It's a crapshoot. But whatever happens with this crop, I suggest buying new bulbs and replanting in the fall.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:22PM
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