Is Garlic Supposed to do that?

luvabasilNovember 21, 2012

So I am in the garden harvesting teeny tiny saffron threads, and I look over to see green leaves poking through the garlic mulch!

Is it supposed to do that this early?

Should I put more mulch on?

Should I take mulch off?

Am I going to have any garlic next year?

What is it doing?!?!?!?

Sad Luvabasil

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I dont know if it is supposed to do that, but mine does. I have some Elephant garlic 10 or 12 inches tall, another kind that some are over 6" tall, but I have failed to mulch mine this year. I only had Elephant garlic last year, it came up early also and I had a pretty good harvest. My garlic was mulched last year.

This is only my third year to grow garlic.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Your garlic is fine. No reason to be concerned. How deep is your mulch and what general area do you garden in? Not knowing what your climate and normal winter temps are it is hard to say how much to mulck. I would say 3-4 inches should be plenty anywhere in OK except for maybe the extreme NW corner of the OK Panhandle which is usually a little colder than my area here. Here in extreme SW KS 3-4 inches of mulch is plenty although I often put up to 6 inches on and then in late winter, early spring pull some off. Even if the tops freeze back some your garlic should be fine. Some varieties grow faster than others. Most of mine is 3-4 inches or less. I have one variety that is all over 6 inches. I haven't mulched much yet. I plan on laying down the drip tape that finally arrived and then mulching over it. Cheer up. Your garlic crop should be fine. Jay

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Whew. Thanks guys.
I am in SE OKC. I have 4 inches mulch on top.
I was scairt, but I feel better.
Laying down drip tape? I'm supposed to water the garlic?
Dadgum. I missed that part. How much and how often do you guys recommend?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:33PM
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I normally don't have to water my garlic during the winter. And if any moisture falls snow/rain then many times it is late April or May before I water. Then again I have watered in late Feb or early March if it was a warm winter and no moisture. As the garlic will continue to grow even during the winter. Especially the root system. The reason I'm laying the drip tape down now is I won't ever remove all of the mulch and I want it under the mulch. I'm going back to drip tape as I had several dry spots from my soaker hoses this past year. Another thing is my soil is very sandy although it has been heavily amended through the last 18 years. So basically garlic is like any crop I water by need. I check the soil during any extended warm spell. If I feel it needs it I will water. I have one garlic bed that hasn't received any rainfall since I worked it. I watered it after planting a month ago. Will water again this weekend and it might be 2-4 months before I water again. Overall garlic is very easy to grow. And in tighter soil that is mulched I wouldn't expect you to have to water as much. You can water too much especially when it gets close to maturity. I had rot on a few bulbs last year. The soaker hoses over watered some areas while starving others. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. But with so many variables in any growing season there is no set standard. Jay

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Ironically, I've got the opposite anxiety: it's been over 4 weeks since I planted my garlic, and I've got no tops at all peeking out yet. On the other hand, I'm figuring it's very unlikely that all 80+ bulbs I planted are in trouble, so I'm resisting the urge to start poking around and I'm telling myself that lots of root growth is happening unseen.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 1:47AM
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Thankfully, garlic is pretty fool proof. One might master techniques to get a better harvest. But if you get it in the ground you're pretty likely to get some harvest.

I missed some elephant garlic this year, and it's sprouting big time. So, I've been cutting tops for seasoning food. It works very well.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 7:08AM
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Remember that garlic is a bulb, and, generally speaking (there are exceptions), bulbs don't require much water because they store moisture in the bulb. Too much moisture causes rot.

Susan, wishing she had planted some garlic.....

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:08AM
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Susan, I bet you could plant garlic now. Some of my garlic I bought at the feed store a few month age, by the time I got around to planting it, it did not look so good, but it is still coming up.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Susan I second what Larry stated. I will be planting a few cloves over the next few days. Like I've said before the last day you can plant in 012 is Dec 31st. I found some very large bulbs/cloves at a local grocery store last weekend. Couldn't resist buying 2 bulbs to use to fill in a few blank areas. Susan you are correct in a normal year garlic bulbs are like shallots and don't require much if any watering. But the last few years haven't been normal. And what I've found is if a garlic plant is stressed for lack of water it will usually survive but the bulb will be much smaller. Again I usually don't have to worry about over watering in my deep sand. Last winter with the snow I never watered till late April. The winter before with no moisture I watered in Fed and again in March. In these warm winters with no snow/rain is when I have to watch the garlic beds closer. Jay

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 11:35AM
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