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Planting garlic bulbils

Posted by alkane zone 5 (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 7, 06 at 16:10

This was my first season (attempting) to grow garlic. I planted a few Asian Tempest cloves last fall but since I let them bolt, and they probably didn't get as much sun as they needed, most of my heads (if you can call them that) have only 2 med/small cloves. I did collect the bulbils from the seed heads and I'd like to plant them as well as the cloves I harvested. From reading some of the other posts here I understand that they must be scarified and then planted and that they'll likely take a few seasons to produce.

My question is, are bulbils planted the same as cloves? About 2" deep, 6" apart and in the early fall?
Also even though I intend to replant the cloves I grew, it's better to cure them and replant than to leave in the ground, right?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planting garlic bulbils


I usually plant bulbils at closer spacing than full cloves - in the neighborhood of 3" apart - since I'm going for rounds (single cloves) the first year to re-plant for full heads the next year. I also plant them a bit shallower - in the 1" range - just since they're so small and they seem to break through ok and don't get heaved out during spring thaws. I've never scarified them though ... just cured the bulbils just like garlic heads by hanging the whole thing from someplace dry and shady with good ventilation and then hang them in a mesh bag until planting time.

Fall works for planting both bulbils and the rest of the cloves and I'd definitely cure them and replant in a sunnier place. It's better to get them out of the ground just to be sure that they're not starting to grow in the wrong place before you're ready for them.

RE: Planting garlic bulbils

Thanks a bunch for the info, Makalu!

RE: Planting garlic bulbils

I once kept a list of the bulbils from the varieties grown here but can't locate it. Would have been handy now since one was Asian Tempest. Thus I can't recall if it were a "+" or "o" in my code. "+" were those with large bulbils, pea-size or bigger, while "o" were those with bulbils not much larger than a grain of wheat. Those with the large bulbils may be planted in the fall and still produce a divided bulb plus more bulbils next year. Those with the small bulbils will produce only a small round but no bulbils. Those take 2 years to mature rather than one.

Example, I could plant Martin's bulbils this fall and get a 2" divided bulb plus a bulbil cluster the following July. I could plant Music bulbils this fall and get a half-inch round next July.

I'm trying to get a new Estonian variety going here. It was one with small bulbils. I got 63 rounds not bigger than a marble but that's a start. Next year, I should have 63 divided bulbs plus a few thousand small bulbils. Red Estonian will then have to compete with Martin's for space!


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