Garlic and shallots

reeldoc(7 NC)February 8, 2009

This will be my first year for garlic and shallots. First, I'm trying to find someone in the triad area that sells the bulbs. Second, is it too late or too early to plant either on of them? They will be in large raised beds with heavily ammended soil to keep them out of the clay.

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computergardener(z7 NC)

In the order of your questions, the best place I have found for garlic is ..., I tried a few places in the Raleigh area and did not feel the bulb stock looked as fresh nor did they have the variety the garlic store has. I have never tied to grow shallots.

Concerning your second question, you can plant what is called spring garlic now, but the bulbs will be on the small side when they mature in June. The recommended time to plant garlic in NC is around 9-15 through 11-1. I have grown it for a few years now and have 38 bulbs in the ground as I type. I find the closer to 9-15 the better since it gives the cloves a great start prior to the cold weather. In the triad, I am sure that will be even more important. My suggestion is to start the shallots now and wait until the fall for the garlic.

The raised bed will be great for the garlic, I have grown much larger bulbs based on the quality of the soil.

Best of Luck...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 6:37PM
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You should think of this group of plants in the same way you think of tulips. Plant them in the fall if you are planting small bulbs. Plant them in the spring if you are sowing seeds. If you plant them now or later in the spring the plants won't get the signals they need to tell them to make a bulb - all their efforts will go into blooming and making seed. The plants have to get the right amount of cold in order to make large bulbs. We might have a late spring but after this weekend it sure doesn't look likely.

I would check the nearest farmer's market later this spring. Back when I used to sell plants I would often carry potted bulbs of both of these as well as chives for the gardeners that either lost a crop or forgot to plant them in November (prime bulb planting month). If you check the farmer's markets in June and July you should be able to find a variety of bulbs for sale that do well in this area (middle of summer is prime bulb harvest time).

You could just buy some bulbs at the grocery store and sprout them. The shallots will do better than the garlic. You could also place the bulbs in large plastic bags with moist potting soil and set them in your refrigerator for a month to give them the cold treatment they need. They're gonna take up a lot of space and it can be the messy way to do things but if you got them in the frig now you could still plant them outside in early April and get a crop. You have to chill them in soil, just chilling the bulbs won't cut it. You need them to grow roots while being chilled and the roots are fragile so be careful.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:29AM
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