How soon can I plant Garlic?? Zone 7/7B

mdgardengurl(MD Zone 7)July 12, 2006

Hi - I'm in Southern Maryland and would like to know how soon I can plant Garlic for next summer harvest.


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gardenlad(6b KY)

Darrell Merrill, an avid garlic grower in Oklahoma (one year he grew out the total accessions of both SSE and USDA, all 540 of them) once did an experiment. He planted 1/3 of his cloves in September, another third in October, and the final third in November.

This had no affect on maturation. All three groups started regrowing at the same time in the spring, and reached maturation at the same time.

So, how does that help you? On one hand, it lets you know that you can plant fairly early. However, there is the question of leaf damage. When I plant in November, or even December, the leaves that come up are relatively short. If they suffer frost damage at all it is only at their very tips.

What if I planted in September, and had fairly long leaves? Would frost damage we worse? to the point where the leaves wouldn't recover?

I have no answers to those questions. But it's something you should factor into the mix.

Given all factors, I personally wouldn't plant before the middle of October at the earliest. My gameplan, each year, is to plant Thanksgiving weekend if at all possible. Sometimes, due to circumstances, much later. This past season I didn't actually plant until January. There's been no noticiable difference in my harvest.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 9:56AM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

A good reason to plant later is not haveing to fight weeds . I am in zone 7 NC /VA line and we plant late october thru thanksgiving. Plenty of leaves to mulch with and no new weed growth at that time.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 11:16AM
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mdgardengurl(MD Zone 7)

Thank you both for that info. That gives me plenty of time to make sure my beds are thoroughly prepared.
The garlic I am harvesting now...some is just one big ball. I would like to plant these this fall....can I hold them that long before planting? If so, what are the best conditions for storing them till then?
Also, I have lots of little bulbils which I have just separated and dried. They're very hard. How long can these keep before I need to plant them?
I do so appreciate all your help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Community Garden Website

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 5:26PM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

You should have no problem keeping any of your garlic till fall. Some of my garlic was harvested in May and the rest in June and I will replant in October and November. Elephant and soft neck tytpes are your best keepers and will keep 10-12 months.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 7:41PM
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mdgardengurl(MD Zone 7)

Thanks! I will concentrate on the soft necks and elephant types then, but I will try a few hardnecks, too. I haven't tasted any garlics but the most available supermarket varieties, so this year's elephant will be a treat for me, and I am anxious to try some different kinds, too.
Again, thanks much for your great information!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Community Garden Website

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 12:25AM
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pjdsr(z7 VA)

I am in NoVa, just across the river from you all. I planted my garlic patch last year on December 23rd. Yes, it was Christmastime and I had an awful case of garden withdrawal. It may have been the mild winter, as this is my first garlic crop, but they did great. I have harvested about two-thirds of my crop over the past couple weeks. They are beautiful and delicious. Out of 20 cloves planted, I got about 18 bulbs. Not bad. They seemed to really love growing in last year's crushed leaves and a healthy heap of fresh compost.

I hope to get in next year's crop some time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but that's right in the prime time for the fall Rockfish run, so it may be December again.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 2:29PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Make ya a deal. You take me out for those stripers, and I'll help ya plant your garlic.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Can I just plant the cloves off the bulb I get from the supermarket? Please don't throw up if that's a really bad question! I'm really impressed by the knowledge that some of you have, and I feel I could learn a lot from you. I have been strictly a tomato/cucumber/pepper grower in the past, and I'm trying to branch out. My onions did well (I think,) and I'm ready to harvest my scallions and leeks. I would like to try garlic in the spot that I had my zucchini (which, by the way, I am never growing again, since I had only one because of all the rain and they take up too much space in my 10'X15' plot. Please give me any help you can; I would greatly appreciate it.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 4:41PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Chris, the answer is yes. But why would you want to?

About 90% of the garlic you buy in the supermarket is California White, a softneck variety that is arguably the worst tasting garlic going. It is sharp. It is bitter. And it has been in cold storage, so doesn't keep real long before sprouting and developing green cores.

You'd be better off biting the bullet, moneywise, and ordering a so-called "gourmet" garlic from any of the suppliers we've talked about previously. Iniitially the price may seem high. But I once did the math, and, by the third year you can reduce the cost-per-bulb to something like 1.7 cents each.

For starters, I would go with Shvelisi (Chesnook Red) or Music; good, general purpose garlics. Once you've gotten some experience under your belt you can branch out to any of the 540 other varieties that strike your fancy.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 9:18AM
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The price isn't much of an issue, since I usually do factor in what I can get out of what I've grown. I guess i'm just so used to the garlic from the store, I didn't realize that there was much better out there! Thanks so much for the eye opener. I'll give the couple that you suggested a try, particularly Music, as that is my chosen profession, and it's too much of a coincidence :-)


    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 12:36PM
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Warthog7(8 OR)

Another option is to check your farmers market and/or local garlic fest. Talk to one of the vendors and most will set you up with quality seed stock.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 3:14PM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

There is a garlic festival in Maryland this year as well as one in Virgina. These would be great places to pick up some seed garlic.
BTW Music would be a good choice it does well for us - I have tried to grow chesnok red here in zone 7 and most years it just got smaller. It likes it colder. I would suggest one of the turban types they seem to like zone 7 here on the east coast. We grow 3 turbans Tuscan, Morado gigante and shantung purple.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 8:15AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Here are some good sources and suggestions.

Just sent in my order to Garlicsmiths yesterday  it's on its way to Kettle Falls.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 2:37PM
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I ordered from last year and was very impressed with their service and garlic. I def recommend them as well. Chesnock Red is also a good choice--my husband hates garlic (poor guy) but didn't mind the taste of chesnock red. Apparently, the after taste was calm enough for, not long-lasting. Good luck! Last year was my first try at garlic, and I am amazed at how much better gourmet garlic tastes! Dannic

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:39PM
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mdgardengurl(MD Zone 7)

garliclady - thanks for the information on the varieties that work for you. I ordered a one pound sampler from Charley's Farm. It arrived today, and the garlics are beautiful. I got:
Asian Tempest, Gigantus (Rocambole), Chesnok Red, Polish Hardneck, Early Red Italian, Thermadrome and Silver White. All in all, I am very pleased with the good variety they sent, and I have taken one clove of each to taste. So far, I am much impressed!! :) The bulbs are all fresh and large. I have sent an inquiry to a grower for some Music if they have any left....I really would like some good large true garlic. I also have about a dozen huge cloves of elephant garlic that I grew myself, which I will plant next month, but I'd really like at least that much more of it. Trouble is, it's so darn expensive. What I grew was from an organic clove I bought at the grocery store.
If you should happen to find out when the garlic festival in MD will be, and where, please do let me know.
Thanks so much

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 12:48AM
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Hi Gardengurl.I am first time planting Garlic.Here in Salisbury Md.I have been reading up on it for three weeks.going to plant mine 1 Nov.will let you know how it turns out.good luck.I have had a Garden for 40 years.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 4:45PM
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