Planting Music Garlic

exmarJuly 21, 2013

Hi folks,

Been growing the hard neck variety, Music for about ten years, no problems, thought I had things under control. This season however, with the rain and more rain, followed by temps in the 100's and humidity not far behind, now more rain and high humidity have me in "uncharted territory."

I dug the garlic about 5 weeks ago, I do that when the foliage is about 25% yellow. Spread them flat on a cart attached to a tractor so I could pull them out in the sunlight to dry, then back them in the barn at night to get away from dew or possible showers. About two weeks ago the tops seemed dry, so I tied and hung them. Just went out to check on the progress and about 40% have "clove separation." In my experience this occurs when you harvest too late, as in a lot of the plant is yellow. That was not the case with mine? As luck would have it (or the season this year?) the largest bulbs were the ones separating. I always save and replant the largest cloves in October. I also noticed that some of the stems which had seemed dry, were now "soft." Not having any better idea, I cut off the tops and spread the bulbs, sitting upright, on the cart again (actually on sheets of plywood across the cart) with a big fan blowing across them. The humidity in the barn was 84, it was 96 this morning according to the NWS.

My question is, has anyone planted Music or other hard neck varieties using cloves that have separated? "Historically," I would only plant the largest and most perfect ones.

Thoughts, opinions, or condolences welcome....:-)


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I'm finding that with little care for all my garlic, the Romanian reds, and the German reds are ending up to be the most resistant to the winters, have a strong taste, and produce large bulbs.

Romanian red produces tiny bulbils while German red produces huge bulbils, but they seem to both be superior species to Music which grows closer to wild garlic.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:32PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

I would think that as long as the separated cloves are covered with a wrapper (maybe peel is a better word) and not completely exposed (as in what a peeled clove looks like), then they should be fine for planting.

Decided to add a visual. If your separated cloves look like the clove on the left they should be fine to plant as opposed to the clove on the right:


This post was edited by theforgottenone1013 on Wed, Jul 24, 13 at 11:13

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I have had Pink music growing now for a few years here in zone 5a and do well. They are in a raised bed) I have not harvested any but let them keep growing (they were from very small seeds) But they getting larger and produce scapes

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 12:01PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You have already provided the clue as why some of your garlics opened up: i.e. HIGH HUMIDITY.

simply put , they did not dry fast enough. In a way it has been somewhat like harvesting too late, that tops (and their continuation in the ground stay soft and the cloves bust out.

That is why, curing just in the shade/shed was not enough, THERE HAD TO BE SOME AIR CIRCULATION so the wraps/tops dry faster. .

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 3:13AM
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Seysonn, thanks for the info. I did have a box fan running on a timer so it was blowing across where they were hanging about 12 hours per day.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:11AM
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hello Ev, are you able to upload some photos of the bulbs that have separated alongside your regular bulbs for comparison. If the bulbs are otherwise healthy, there should not be any reason not to replant your largest cloves as normal, since the primary reason that separated cloves are undesirable is that the bulbs don't store as long. I have planted cloves from separated hardneck bulbs without any problems, however I am more diligent in checking them for any signs of disease - I'll peel one or two of the smaller cloves on each bulb to check for blemishes and set it aside for eating if in doubt.

This post was edited by zqnmegan on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 16:03

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:00PM
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david52 Zone 6

I grow music as well, and had this happen to me this season with one batch I left out in the shade - and it was rained on.

I fully intend to plant the ones I don't eat.

And I often plant cloves that have lost their skin, they do just fine.

Heck, I peel gobs of garlic sitting out under a tree using a plastic roller thingie and a bread board, and sometimes the peeled garlic cloves slip off and are lost in the grass. And sprout the next year.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:35PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

@ exmar,

If even with a fan running 12hr/day that happened , then the only factor left is that MAYBE you harvested them too late.

But, what happened, is not a total loss. You plant some of them. and use the rest in the kitchen. You can search and find out how to store cleaned cloves in jar(s), like they are sold in Chinese supermarkets.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:51AM
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