small seed garlic

mckenziek(9CA)September 13, 2013

I ordered a pound of Chesnok Red seed garlic from territorial seed company.

Here is a picture of what they shipped me alongside what I saved from last year. (original source, seed savers exchange)

My heads are much bigger. Am I wrong to be upset? Have other people had bad or good experiences with territorial seed company?

Also, should I plant this garlic? How long does it take to size up from smaller cloves?


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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

I would be upset too. It looks to me like the seed garlic was grown from small cloves. You should call or email Territorial and tell them about the small garlic size and see what they have to say. If you email them you should also send this pic.

Plant the biggest cloves that are there, the small cloves aren't worth it. You might get decent sized bulbs next year but if not then the year after for sure (hopefully).


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

Yes, those heads are a bit small. But keep in mind that most sellers want small to medium size garlic when it's sold in small quantities (like your 1 lb. bag). If they send all large ones, the customer gets fewer cloves to plant and then they complain.
I've grown and sold lots of seed garlic to a few companies you many have heard of, but I won't mention names. They usually pass on the large ones for this reason.

Chesnok red is a great hardneck and won't have an inner layer of small cloves. I think you should plant all of them and if you grow them well, you should harvest decent sized heads. Then, like Rodney said, by the following year they'll be as large as you own.

This post was edited by madroneb on Fri, Sep 13, 13 at 23:15

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:13PM
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Thanks guys!

I probably will call them just to share my reaction (in a polite way). But I will also probably plant them all the cloves, if I have room. Have to see how many cloves it actually is.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 1:10AM
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I have had pretty good luck with getting garlic big even from smaller cloves. Next year you will have nice big stock to plant out!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:30AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Last year, my whole garlic collection was wiped out (see the "Minnesota Garlic Crop Wiped Out" thread on the Veggie Forum for more info on the Aster Yellows outbeak in the Midwest). So this year I've been acquiring stock to rebuild my collection.

The stock from all sources this year has been much smaller than normal. This includes garlic from New York, New Mexico, Iowa, and Kansas... so the phenomenon is fairly widespread. All of the stock appears to be healthy, just small. When I communicated with the sources, those who answered have blamed unusual weather for the size. Most of them sent extra bulbs to compensate.

There were years when my garlic was smaller than normal, but when the cloves from those bulbs were planted, I again got large bulbs... so I agree with those who express optimism in that regard. Provided that the bulbs are otherwise healthy & the cloves from them are planted in fertile, well-drained soil, they should produce larger bulbs than those you received.

You should be aware, though, that there are two threats currently circulating in garlic stock: aster yellows disease (most notably from Midwest sources infected last year) and garlic bloat nematode (GBN). Of the two, GBN is the most serious, since it permanently infects the soil (aster yellows does not). GBN is spreading rapidly through the sale or trade of infected stock, and there is currently no nationwide certification program to test for it. It would be wise, before acquiring new garlic stock from commercial sources, to ask if they perform testing for these organisms.

IMO, private garlic swaps should be done with extreme caution right now, especially if introducing new varieties into an established collection.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minnesota garlic crop wiped out

This post was edited by zeedman on Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 23:46

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 11:37PM
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Zeedman, that was a very helpful reply. Thank you. I did not know about any of that stuff. I will inquire from Territorial Seed about GBN and Aster Yellows. If the answer is not satisfactory, maybe I just won't plant that garlic at all, or I will plant it in containers.

As mentioned, I have three heads from my own garden. As far as I can tell, they are disease free. So I could just plant those three heads in the ground.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:04AM
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I talked to customer service. They don't test the garlic for anything. I also asked if the state of origin was known for my order. She said she would get back to me, but I haven't heard yet. I'll follow up tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 7:18PM
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The garlic is from Oregon, according to territorial. I am not sure what to do, but I think I will inspect it carefully, dissect one clove from each head, and if they all look OK, plant it.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:01PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The garlic is from Oregon, according to territorial..

So you should be fine.

The other thing is that the diseased garlic will not be marketable.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Thanks Seysonn. I am not a market gardener. At least not yet. ;-)


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 2:46PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

To think about it, with smaller seeds you get better mileage. IF the genetics of the seeds are good, and you know how to grow garlic, then you can get bigger ones. ! ! !

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:10AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"To think about it, with smaller seeds you get better mileage."

True, to a point... if you are buying garlic by weight, small bulbs means more cloves per pound. I purchased one-pound bags of 5 different garlics, all with small bulbs. Having looked at the bulbs, I estimate that each pound will give me somewhere around 100 cloves.

I have smaller lots of 10 other garlic varieties as well. If each of the resultant bulbs is anywhere near normal, it will be a huge crop. I'm crossing my fingers that aster yellows will not reappear, and that none of the new stock is contaminated.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:51AM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

Growing the small cloves and slivers out supplies my stock to replant next year. I sort the cloves and plant the small ones closer than the large ones.
Most of my garlic was started from slivers over 12 years ago sent to me through the mail by some one from an internet forum. The first year they made pretty small bulbs. but the scond year they made normal size bulbs. By the third year I planted only the largest cloves.
by then I also figured out spacing was as important as clove size.

This post was edited by veggiecanner on Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 0:04

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:54PM
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