First time garlic grower.....Why??

dgkritch(Z8 OR)July 7, 2006

This is the first year I've grown garlic.

I just stuck some store bought cloves in the ground last fall. I pulled up the first one yesterday and the cloves are all spread apart. Why?

The tops was very dry. Did I leave it too long?

Is it the variety?

Please help!



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makalu_gw(z5b NY)


Sure looks like the garlic was left in the ground too long. Normally, you'd like to harvest when around 4 of the leaves are still green - each green leaf represents a wrapper for the head / bulb and you'll lose a couple of them when you harvest / clean the bulbs so having 4 leaves 2 or so to protect the cloves during storage. Judging from this one, I'd probably get the others out of the ground soon ... the garlic's still good but it just won't store as well.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 1:16PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Thanks! I only have about a dozen bulbs. They are all growing in the same bed, but for some reason, this one dried up more than the others.
The rest do have about 4 or so green leaves still.
I will go ahead and pull them.
Do you let it cure a bit first, or take off those outer 2 to clean, then let it hang to dry?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 2:39PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Deanna, you will remove 1-2 layers of skin after curing. But first... do _not_ pull your bulbs; you could pull off the stalk, reducing storage time & possibly separating the cloves.

Dig gently, and avoid bruising the bulbs. Hang them up in a dry, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight, for 4-6 weeks.

After curing, trim the roots to 1/2 inch or so, and the tops to 1.5 inches. Do not wash the bulbs; this is where you will remove 1-2 layers of skin. Grasp the bulb with the roots facing your palm, and your fingers evenly spaced around it. Pull your fingers back, and the bulb will pop out of its outer layer of skin. This takes some practice. Remove only the minimum layer(s) of skin necessary to clean the bulb.

Save your largest bulbs for replanting this fall, and do not separate the cloves until just prior to planting. Any bulbs that have separated like the one above will not store well, so either cook or preserve them promptly, or use them for replanting.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 3:35AM
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