Garlic with no skin

diggerdee zone 6 CTJuly 28, 2012

Hello everyone!

This is my very first venture ito the Allium forum, although I've been on GW for years. Hello!

This is my second year growing garlic. Last year's attempt was not very good.

This year yielded a much better harvest, but I harvested too late. I'm attempting to dry my garlic, but the odd (I think) thing is most of it either has no skin or is only partially skinned. So I don't know if I should be drying it or storing it some other way.

It's a variety called Chinese Pink, which I tried because it can be harvested in late May or into June. I was so late - didn't harvest till last week! - so I wonder if that's why there's not much skin? I'm figuring that's why the bulbs are split - can late harvest affect the skin as well, or is it some other reason?

But my main question, for this year, is storing. I'm so happy with the quantity of this harvest and want to enjoy as much of it as I can for as long as I can. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

(Sorry, clicking on "rotate" a hundred times did nothing to rotate this picture!)

Thanks so much!


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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Welcome Dee!

As the garlic ages in ground, each skin "disappears". The above ground leaves are extensions of the skins, so a browned above ground leaf indicates that the below ground skin is deteriorating.

This is the garlic's attempt to replant itself.

Looks like you just waited too long to harvest.

When I miss a garlic while harvesting, it looks just like your photos when I get it the next year.

The skins assist in storage, so deciding when to harvest is the trick - harvest too late and the cloves/bulbs are bigger but long term storage is affected. Harvest too early and size/division can be affected but storage is better.

Last year, I waited too long to harvest - but not quite to the point that the cloves were exposed; like yours. Mine started to dry out in May. I wish I would have put them in the freezer in April, since they were inedible once dried out - woody.

I would replant the skinless ones and closely watch the others.

Heart breaking to have to toss them, so I will be freezing in April 2013.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:04AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Hi and thank you for the welcome and quick response!

But... are you telling me I can't salvage any of them? To replant them all? Oh no, say it ain't so!

Tell me more about this freezing please. Is that a way to use some of this harvest? Do I just throw them (whole bulbs) in a baggie and into the freezer? Do I separate the cloves? Should I remove what little skin there is or keep it on? Throw in whole or chop up and freeze? If I chop, can I put it in ice cubes trays with a bit of olive oil or something to use in cooking?

Sorry, I don't mean to be pushy, just wondering. And thank you for all that information. I figured it was because I waited too long. I could kick myself because the main reason I tried this variety was because it CAN be harvested earlier. I have limited space, so I want to try to get the garlic out and the tomatoes in. Last year I harvested in May per instructions and basically got single cloves - not much different than when planted. So I meant to wait a *little* bit longer this year, and it just turned into week after week... and tomatoes went in a different spot altogether so the tomato pressure wasn't there to push me, lol.

I see lots of garlicky suppers in my near future, I think...


    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 10:37AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I live in a dry climate, so I can't speak for all forms of storage, but I keep my garlic in a dark corner of my basement - maybe 65 degrees, 5% humidity.

I would store the cloves that have intact skin in a onion bag, if possible. Those should keep the longest. I would not break these intact skinned cloves apart, until you are going to use them for planting or eating.

The cloves that do not have skin, or have exposed membranes, should have the worst storage. These may keep until fall for planting. Or else, I would pop these into a freezer bag - whole cloves. That's what I do. The texture changes a bit, but my garden garlic is better then anything I can buy in the grocery store. I do peel these, only because I don't want to freeze dirt ;-)

Chopping the cloves starts the chemical reaction that makes it all so yummy, so I would not pre-chop, but you could experiment.

I think that at the end of the "season", how we treat the garlic either makes it freak out into thinking it needs to go dormant, OR it thinks life is grande and it keeps doing it's thing (maybe stays as a round).

I think a lack of water causes the garlic to divide into cloves. More cloves = more potential future plants.

Another thing that I read is that if garlic is not subjected to a cold spell prior to spring, it will not plump and divide correctly.

I did an experiment :

I received garlic in December. (I plant in September or October). A Metechi was quite large and I immediately planted it after placing it in the fridge for 2 weeks. These cloves did not show top leaf growth prior to spring.

The other varieties were not large and I ran out of planting space in my garden. So these went into the fridge for 2 weeks or more, I forgot about them...When I remembered, I planted them in containers. When they looked healthy - leaves were 12" tall, I moved the containers outside, in March. The weather was so mild, it never really got cold.

The Metechi grew quite large and divided as desired.

The container grown varieties ALL generated rounds. Definitely are not anything to brag about. I did end the watering early, but that alone did not cause the clove division.

I will plant these rounds in ground this fall and hope for better quality next year.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 3:45PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

The bulb-splitting could definitely have been a lack of water - other than the last week, we went weeks without any good rain.

I still can't quite seem to get a grasp on planting time. The package for this particular garlic says to plant in October, which I know is earlier than most (but assumed the earlier harvest was the reason for this). But I had trouble with it growing way too much before winter, so I planted later - then had those one-clove wonders upon the recommended late-May harvest. So last year I waited later to plant, and meant to wait till mid-June to harvest, but it ended up being mid-July. The fact that winters seem to be getting warmer and warmer and to be starting later and later does not help me in this garlice adventure! I guess I need to pay more attention to the plant and not the calendar. Although, I was very much well aware that the garlic was ready to harvest weeks ago; I just couldn't get to it and didn't realize that made such a difference.

Thanks for your replies. They have been very informative and helpful, not just in regard to what to do with this particular crop but in general for next year.

Thanks much!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 5:25PM
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