Garlic looks like Onions... options?

consecratedJune 17, 2009

Planted garlic for the first time this year (late March 2009). From the small amount of reading I did, I understood that I should have been planting in the fall instead of early spring, but I was willing to experiment with the unknown varieties I picked up from the home improvement store.

I dont know if I have hardneck or soft neck. Packages only says "Gourmet Garlic" and "Gourmet Garlic Red" Harvest time late summer.

At this point the plants have lots of leafs... mostly pale green. I decided to pull one up recently (mid June) to see what what going on. The clove I had planted has become big like a spring onion... 1/2 - 1 inch in diameter.

I am looking for options as to what I might do with this garlic bed. Should I leave them alone and pull them up at the end of August... or at some other sign from the plant? Should I pull them now, and cure them... and then replant in the fall? Other thoughts?

Thank you very much for any help you can offer. Let me know if I can provide more details.

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Let them go till 2/3 of the leaves are dieing off, then pull, dry them, and replant.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:31AM
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Wonderful... will do!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 5:48PM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

onion plants do not look like garlic plants. garlic have flat leaves that radiate off a main stalk (hard and soft) but onions have tubular leaves that terminate in a point. seems a visual check should tell you whether that are garlic vs onions. if you do a google search on images you can see the difference.

if they are garlic the bottom leaves will start to die off or they may (if hardneck) send up a scape. this would happen prior to the onions being ready so you'll know about late july.

if they are onions they will start to fall over when ready to pull probably mid august, garlic doesn't fall over.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:11PM
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Tom, I am 100% certain I planted garlic cloves, and that they did not turn into onions. :) I only brought up the "onions" to help describe the fact that my garlic still only has a single clove that has grown larger, and looks like the bulb of a spring onion.

Ill keep an eye out for the scapes... I would be interested to know if these are hardneck or not!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:14PM
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Well, my Italian Purple puts out scapes every year so that is no guarantee that you have a hardneck.

I pulled a couple of my hardnecks (the softies have been curing for two weeks) and 'lo and behold, they were duds (meaning, not split into cloves.) I am wondering if there was some anomaly in our weather nation wide that is causing the hardnecks to fail to make cloves? I did not pull any that looked larger, just some of the wee ones. Sure hope the whole crop isn't a bust.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 8:50PM
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What you have are "rounds," which, given some more growing time (and some chill) will divide into cloves. In the case of consecrated, it's probably from planting in the spring rather than last fall. Don't know why still_kris is having problems, unless you had a milder than usual winter maybe.

I let some of my hardneck garlic plants mature their scapes and then plant the resulting bulbils in the fall when I plant the usual cloves. I've been doing this to increase my stock. But it takes longer to grow from bulbils to full heads. In the first year you mostly get rounds, sometimes a head with a measly two cloves. Replant the rounds in the fall and they will be normal divided heads the next June/July. With some varieties you still have rounds the SECOND year, and they will divide the THIRD year. When doing this, I always replant the largest rounds in my "seed" bed, just as I replant the largest of the divided heads, figuring a little selection for size can't hurt.

You can, of course, cure and eat the rounds, as well. They taste just like divided garlic. ;-)


    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:53PM
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Yes, my opinion is that we must not have had sufficient chill for the hardnecks. We also are down to 78% of normal precip for the year. I have since pulled a few of the larger ones and the have formed separate cloves, but are much smaller (half size) that last year's crop.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 11:03AM
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I have some garlic in my flower bed and we don't dig it up from year to year. I wanted some rosted garlic it Nov now we pulled some up and it looks like a onion can you still eat it. also ever year it has a purple bulb on the top is that the seeds. As you can see I know nothing about garlic. I do know that this garlic come from a old old home stead. so I don;t know what kind it is.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 2:39PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The purple bulb on the top is a collection of flowers that will turn into bulbil( smaller than a pea) You can let them to mature and plant them. That is one way to propagate garlic. But the first year they might just produce a small round single clove. IF they divide still will be very small garlics.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Dec 24, 13 at 18:43

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 7:55PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

If you don't dig up garlic, you end up with a clump of closely-spaced plants. Due to crowding, these will form small bulbs or rounds (which are single bulbs similar in appearance to an onion) rather than the large multi-clove garlic bulbs you might be used to. You can eat young garlic just like green onions, including the bulb. When the leaves die down, the rounds will become single-clove garlic.

As Seysonn stated, the "flower" stalks (called scapes) will form clusters of small bulbs. You can eat these stalks when they first emerge, they are tasty, especially stir fried. But if you don't eat the scape, you might want to remove it anyway - unless you want hundreds of garlic 'weeds' in your flower bed. Those tiny bulbs, if allowed to mature & fall off, can sprout the next year under the right conditions. Look for their grass-like leaves in the Spring.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 2:23AM
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