separating early garlic sprouts

toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)November 19, 2013

I planted my garlic last month (October) and some have begun to sprout. No problem. However, I planted each clove several inches apart and now I'm seeing a few cases where several sprouts have popped up within 1/2 inch or so from each other. At this stage, should I dig those up and separate them? Will that damage production?

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If they're only 1/2 inch apart as in this photo, it is likely that they were double cloves that you planted. I've learnt from Ted Meredith's book to check the basal plate of the really fat cloves prior to planting and you'll be able to see if it's a double:)
It's not a good idea to try to separate them as you might damage the cloves and make them more susceptible to fungal disease.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 7:45PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

I have yanked apart one twin from another with no ill result to the remaining plant. I have left both in and was surprised that they were of a nice size. It is your choice.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 7:08AM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

If they were double cloves, I'd leave them alone. They will still grow fine and give you usable bulbs. They will be a little flattened on the side where they bumped against each other though.

But you say "several sprouts have popped up within a 1/2 inch or so of each other". How many is several?


    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:12AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree with Rodney. But in general, ALLIUMS are very tolerant to transplanting. That include, chives, onions, leeks, ... and garlics' I dug up a patch of leeks, chives .. and put them in a bucket for weeks and then planted most. They didn't budge. And there are still more in the bucket doing just fine.

In the past I have missed harvesting some garlic. The following year I saw bunches of them growing together. I dug them up, separated and planted individually.
IN SHORT, you cannot kill them easily, unless you try very hard. lol

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:24PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

Thank you all for your great responses. I do have one or two doubles that zqnmegan referred to and I'll probably just leave them alone. But here is a photo of the ones that concerned me. I'm wondering if underground critters moved the cloves I planted. Given what seysonn posted, I think I'll try separating these, if only to get a look at what's going on down under.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 10:08PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I will wait till spring and separate them. Right now they are growing roots.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 8:56AM
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If you had garlic planted there last year, they could be cloves or bulbs that got away from you when harvested.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Based on my experience, it s not absolutely necessary to separate them if they have been in the ground for 1 season because as a clump of 4-10 in a bulb, they can still get produce decent sized cluster of bulbs.

You do need to separate after 2 seasons because that's when over-crowding occurs.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 9:58PM
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In your climate, I don't see a problem with lifting out the crowded plants with a table fork and transplanting them now. A stand of garlic at ideal spacing is so pretty.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 7:46AM
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