Do you soak your garlic before planting?

obrionusa(5)October 13, 2011

Was wonering how many do the overnight soak treatment like wegrowgarlic suggest? Its an overnight mix of seaweed fert, baking soda and water. Then sitting in a solution of rubbing alcohol. I didnt do this last year and wondering if its worth the hassle.

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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Might do you some good if you had a disease problem with first the baking soda and then the alcohol, but mine does fine being planted dry and unprotected then watering the hell out of them! No disease problems yet. Instead of an overnight soak, they get a five day soak in freshly composted soil. Maybe it's the variety of garlic that resists?
Sounds like snake oil to me.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:23PM
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largemouth(Z6 NY)

Got to admit I coughed up a laugh when I read the title of this thread on the main page.

I am 65 miles north of NYC, bordering zone 5 and 6, in Putnam County, NY.

I keep my harvested garlic from this year cool, and in a dark place, until I get a good hard frost. Then I break up the cloves (I save the biggest heads to produce more big heads) and plant them 4 inches deep in loose soil and raised mounds, 6 inches from each other in a vertical line, and 14 inches between rows. I cover them with 5-6 inches of mulch which consists of 50% grass clippings and 50% leaves chopped up in my mulching mower.

I pay little attention to hard opinions on when to plant. Every year is different. If there are mosquitoes still flying around, like right now, I ain't plantin, no matter what the calendar says.

I pay NO attention to gimmicks. Soaking my heads? Uh, no.

With respect to "horster", I do not water. At all. No need. Mother nature does what she does. The garlic still pops up, and is often the first sign of spring poking through a layer of snow.

There is no easier crop to produce than garlic. Plant, mulch heavily, weed a little in spring/early summer, and then ENJOY! Almost a zero attention, zero effort crop.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 9:43PM
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I never had and have nearly 100% "germination" with my garlic. I plant early and give them a good watering in if they are in a bed that was left fallow all summer and not so much water if they are in an intensively used bed.

Don't have disease problems despite planting in the same soil year after year (going on 14 years.)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 12:49PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Hey, largemouth, truly like your attitude!
I plant my garlic in a completely raised garden, well drained; triple rows 6" apart and cloves 6" apart. To each their own! No winter mulch.
As to watering, you ain't lived in southcentral KS. I just want to ensure that they poke their heads up for a while before winter - get bigger bulbs the next year if so. Some years are wet, most are dry. Agree - easy to grow but not as productive in powder dry soil.
Ain't no vampires around here!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 6:19PM
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By soaking in a solution of liquid seaweed and baking soda (some people use vinegar) overnight you can decrease the chance of fungi developing as well as the eggs of mites. Also, the liquid seaweed gives the clove a good boost (same as soaking seeds or flower bulbs before planting). The alcohol soak should be done for 3 to 4 minutes then planted soon after. This may be overkill but I hate to think about dealing with a fungus problem that can prevent you from planting in the same area for three or more years. I been doing this for several years and never had any problems. Also did mini research and evaluated cloves soaked vs cloves not soaked and the ones I did always seemed healthier than those I did not. Also received some bulbs from USDA and they suggested some type of preventative soaking before planting to decrease the potential of fungus or mites.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 10:07PM
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hortster & johnnp,
I bought from wegrowgarlic, but I did not soak.
If I get a good crop, I may never soak.
We will see.
I have 5 kinds of garlic.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 1:19PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I never soak, just poke them in the ground. Mine are about 6" tall now, not mulched. I mulch them in the spring lightly to keep weeds down. But the ground doesn't freeze very deep here and only for a day or 2 when it does freeze.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 1:59PM
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I don't like the idea of soaking them because my climate is so unpredictable. I soak them, I wake them up and they start growing, what if there is a severe freeze next? I let them sit in the soil and decide for themselves when they start growing, according to environmental signals.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 4:40PM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

Soak them? Ughhh! We don't even like the skin being off the clove when it is put into the ground, I couldn't imagine soaking them.

We break our garlic heads apart and plant immediately. No mulching for the winter.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 4:04PM
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For anyone who stumbles across this post, I would like to add a link showing why this soaking process is used.

Many home gardeners are selective about the sources they obtain their bulbs/seeds and do quite well without protection.

It is up to the gardener to decide to use a soak. The threat remains real. I am embarking upon my first adventure with garlic. I will be soaking to include the habit in my gardening techniques.

Happy gardening.

Golden Gate Gardener Lost Garden Crop

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:12PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

My old friends used to sell garlic in NY state under the name of Marjean. They had awesome beds of garlic. I can't get it to grow here.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:28PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Zackey, have you tried growing any of the Creole sub-group of garlics? They are more tolerant of Southern conditions.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:57AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Unless , you try to disinfect , there is no need to soak a garlic clove over night. Since garlic will not absorbe water during that short period of time.

But if you want to keep it moist longer, wrap it in toilet tissue and dip it in water then plant. I , sometimes, do this with gourds and pumpkin seeds.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:34AM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

It's amazing how few people who responded went to look at the reasons behind soaking. Soaking garlic does help treat problems in garlic... not because it needs the moisture (!???!) or to "wake them up" (garlic likes to be planted when it's cold and soaking them won't do anything to make them grow faster), but because it can help prevent fungal diseases and treat mites. It's not a gimmick, either- several Universities recommend this as a treatment for ridding garlic of fungal disease and mites. If you have no problems in your seed garlic (no spots, no rotting, no early drying-out), no need to soak. But if you're getting problems in storage of garlic or having a lot of plants with problems, it's not a bad idea to soak the garlic. We grow 2 acres now and are going to start soaking varieties that seem to have mites, which is a common problem in garlic.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Hermitian(USDA 10b)

I'd recommend you use old-fashioned sodium-free baking powder; i.e. potassium bicarbonate. No need to introduce sodium to your plant culture.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2014 at 11:11PM
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I do similar to Largemouth except no raised beds or mounds. I plant direct into freshly tilled soil. No watering in, No soaking. They will be fine. Soaking is a gimmick that is not necessary. It takes time, and separates you from your money!
I've have never soaked mine and have nearly 100% germination rate.. Every year.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2015 at 8:59AM
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UMASS recommends using a 9 part water 1 part bleach solution, soaking for one to two miniutes. We used this this last fall really good results so far. We also have a lot of fungus issues here in wet Oregon.

Here is a link that might be useful: jubilee produce

1 Like    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 1:09AM
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