Is there any problem with planting garlic in August?

stevelau1911August 15, 2012

I decided to do a test plot of garlic in garlic. I know it is the middle of August, but whenever I've planted earlier, I usually see the cloves gain considerable size, and turn into a round by the start of winter. I think this could possibly result in better results. I'm doing both cloves and bulbils. My prediction is that they should yield at least the same if not better results as garlic planted in October. Winters here where I'm doing the planting also don't get very cold at all as we hardly even get into the teens so I'm not worried about top kill.

Has anyone ever tried planting garlic, this early in the summer?

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planatus(6)

Depends on what you're planting. The Asiatics and Turbans like to go in early and grow through mild winters. More cold-natured strains would not benefit from early planting especially if the bulbs are nowhere near breaking dormancy.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:00AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

I read somewhere, maybe in Ted Meredith's "Complete Book of Garlic," that planting earlier can result in larger bulbs, but when is too early? Like plantus said, if the cloves don't break dormancy for a while you could have a greater risk of rot. On the other end of the spectrum, if the plants grow too large and you have a deep cold snap in mid winter it could really set them back.

If you have the space, time, and planting stock it might be an interesting experiment to plant some every couple weeks or so between now and November, and see which give you the best results. Of course every year will be different.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:48AM
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stevelau1911

The ones that I planted 2 weeks ago still haven't sprouted, but the ground is dry enough so I really doubt that rot can be a problem. It seems like they need cooler weather for them to actually start growing or else they stay in their dormant form.

Ones that I planed in the early summer are forming small bulbs now so I guess they can be planted anytime the soil temperature is cool enough to break their dormancy.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 11:11PM
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apoppyfield(8)

If they are starting to sprout, might as well plant them. I started some behind my tomatos in early august and have tops 6-8" tall now. I soaked them for a day or two and was amazed at the roots that started to form. I figure I can use them for green garlic if nothing else. In my zone the tops will not freeze.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:13AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

To help break dormancy, I chill the garlic in the fridge for a few weeks.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:23PM
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marycatt(zone 5 - Colorado Plains)

Austinnhahasmom,

When do you plant Garlic. I live outside Denver too, and I don't usually plant it until end of Sept or October...

Mary

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:48PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

@ marycatt

This is my fourth year, so no expert but -

Last year I had planted towards the end of Sept, for most of my varieties. Trading and purchases resulted in a few later plantings.

In previous years, I had planted near the end of Oct. In these years, we had early cold spells.

I prefer the earlier planting, so starting in Sept again this year. And then I mulch heavily.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:01AM
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stevelau1911

After 4 weeks, those garlic planted extra early are finally starting to sprout up. It seems like they require the onset of cooler weather in order to activate, or maybe the dry soil was just keeping the cloves & bulbils dormant the whole time.

In any case, I just planted a lot of the hardneck garlics which take forever to get to harvesting size, and I'll wait another month or so far the soft necks since they seem to be more prone to winter damage.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:55AM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Thanks for the update! I wonder what would have happened if you had stored some in the fridge for a few weeks before planting. I may try that this year, but still probably won't plant them out until at least mid-October. We just had the first real break from the heat and humidity this past weekend.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:10AM
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stevelau1911

It seems like the cold weather accompanied by the wet weather might be the trigger to activate sprouting. I just hope that I see all of them sprout in the spring, and I think getting them in nice and early can ensure that they get nice and established to prevent them from rotting.

I know I planted some way too late when I put in some hardnecks in early December, but I've never had issues with early plantings.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:08PM
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stevelau1911

It seems like there is no problem at all no matter how early I plant the garlic. Either way, they will be flattened by the snow over the winter. Although some of the older foliage may die back a bit, they still come back just as strong even if they are planted very soon, or even as late as mid December.

Here are some of my garlic beds. I only took pictures of the ones that were planted sooner as I like planting them a little at a time.

Here is a link that might be useful: My garlic garden

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:50AM
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