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Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Posted by UncleJohn z4 NH (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 4, 05 at 21:25

Is bulb size more important than clove size when selecting stock for planting? That is: will a larger clove from a smaller bulb fare better or worse?

I ask because our dry summer has given me many medium bulbs, and I really wanted to plant three to four times more garlic of each type I am growing.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Best is to select large cloves from large heads. But we do what we can.

I'd select the largest cloves from those medium sized heads for seed stock, along with the biggest cloves from your largest heads.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

I was just reading in GGG that perhaps I should not be selecting my very largest bulbs. On page 69 Ron describes a test they conducted with Spanish Roja. "Perhaps more sinificantly, we found that the largest seedblulbs (over two and one half inches in diameter) produced the widest variation in harvested bulbs. Many of the resulting plants had very poor vigor and produced an extreme lack of uniformity in bulb size and quality." He goes on to say that they pick seed stock from bulbs 2" to 2.5" in diameter.

It seems that perhaps I should not have spent the extra $2 for extra-ginormous bulbs when I purchased stock last year.

I will select as much as I can from bulbs in that range, and supplement best as I can with the largest cloves from slightly smaller bulbs.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

So, I guess the question is...
Do ALL the cloves in a large bulb have the genetics to
produce large bulbs, or are the genetics in the individual cloves?
I'm really not clear on this.

Tom


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

All of the cloves have the same genes to produce a large bulb. Each type of garlic needs X number of total daylight hours or days to reach certain stages in its growth. Garlic grows at a certain given rate and nothing will speed it up. If you start with a large or small clove, the rate of growth and time to maturity is the same. Richness of the soil plus proper moisture in the early stages of growth will help in obtaining a larger bulb but time to maturity will be about the same.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

i always go by clove size. big cloves should equal big bulbs. having said that, bulb size is dependent on several factors. some you can control, some you can't. one year a german hardneck variety did pretty poorly for me. most of the bulbs had just 2 cloves. they were big cloves though, so i planted my paltry harvest, and the next year i had very nice, large bulbs. a large clove from a small bulb should give you a better bulb than a smaller clove from a large bulb all other things being equal.

keith in calumet


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

>a large clove from a small bulb should give you a better bulb than a smaller clove from a large bulb all other things being equal. <

That's certainly the conventional thinking, Keith.

However, if Martin is correct about the genetics, then it isn't true. F'rincstance, based on his comments, if we take a very large artichoke type garlic, but use the small, inner cloves, the result should be large heads.

And if _that's_ the case, why are we wasting the big ones for planting? We should save the small cloves from big bulbs for planting, and eat the big ones.

In other words, the reverse of what we've been doing all these years.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

This really brings up a good topic.
I wonder if a test has been done on this.
I think I may just plant ALL the cloves from a few big bulbs
and see what the results are.

Tom


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Planting all the cloves from a few big bulbs is for the past years my planting strategy. Not because of genetics, which should be the same in all bulbs and cloves of a certain variety, but because I try avoid using virus-infected material. Since virus decrease bulbsize, I select for the biggest bulbs. For me this strategy made garlic-growing much more easy, since I at harvest time do the selection, keeping bulbs for planting and for kitchen apart.

Sren.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Soren, so what's been the result in terms of bulb size? Are all your bulbs large, when you do that? Or do you get normal variation in size?


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Underground growth of most plants is pretty much dictated by the amount of foliage. Starting with a larger reserve, as in the case of a bulbing plant, results in much larger foliage. Larger foliage in turn results in a larger root system. We all know that most alliums are day-length sensitive. That's especially well known with the onions. Same goes for garlic and it's probably just as critical. If it were not, garlic could be planted throughout the year. The maturation difference between fall and spring planted garlic is barely two weeks from my observations. Four months of growth, about 120 days, is about all you are going to get out of any garlic no matter if you plant tiny bulbils or large cloves.

One case in point was my experiment with Music bulbils. Since there was no material reason for those plants to cease growing, they should have continued growing until frost if there were not a programmed growth time period in their genes. Instead, they grew steadily until that length of time had been met and quickly went dormant after producing only marble-sized round bulbs. The fact that this coincided with the maturing of the adult plants shows us that the growing time period is determinate, for a given variety, regardless of how large or small the initial clove or bulbil may be.

Every clove within a bulb MUST contain the same identical genes. If they did not, they would produce an entirely separate variety of plant. Different sizes and shapes of cloves only produce a temporary different initial growth pattern but all will lead back to the original form.

The rule of not using the inner cloves of softnecks does have a purpose. We are told not to use them but how many sources tell us why not? There are two types of inner cloves, "thin" and "fat". Thinking as a plant, I'd want those center cloves to be more important than the outers. If the outer are lost for some reason, then it's up to those inner fat cloves to perpetuate the plant. If stressed in storage, those would use the thin ones as reserve energy to last another month or so. When I've planted them, there indeed often is a problem. They become doubles! Since doubles are not suitable for marketing, most growers and gardeners don't want them despite the fact that their combined weight may be more than any single bulb grown under the same conditions.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

>Same goes for garlic and it's probably just as critical. <

Probably just as critical to the plant, as you say, Martin. But the tolerances are probably much looser than they are with onions. Which is why I can successfully grow hardnecks down here, and you can grow softnecks up there.

>The maturation difference between fall and spring planted garlic is barely two weeks from my observations. Four months of growth, about 120 days, is about all you are going to get out of any garlic<

I think total length of growing time is determined both by variety and day length. My garlics start their spring growth in February, for maturation in July. That's 180 days, more or less. And they've always been consistent with that schedule; with the earliest varieties coming in by about July 4, and the late ones the third week of July or a bit later.

That's for fall-planted cloves.

So, your basic premise is, I believe, correct. But there are some variations due to location and, perhaps, varieties. Maybe what they're programed for is a cumulative amount of daylight? Thus, because your daylength is longer than mine, they mature faster?

It's interesting that the "authorities" haven't seemed to have noticed this. Otherwise we'd be harvesting our garlic by the calander, rather than by visual signs. Blue Moon Farms does just that. But I wonder if any other growers do?

>Every clove within a bulb MUST contain the same identical genes. If they did not, they would produce an entirely separate variety of plant.<

This is where we start getting hairy. I don't doubt this for a minute. But there must be more involved, because otherwise, given the same growing conditions, every bulb of that variety would be the same size.

Plus there are genetic codes for cell differentiation. That's why, for instance, softnecks can have two different inner cloves along with the big outer cloves. At what point, we have to ask, does the coding for cell differentiation affect total head size?

In theory, it makes no never mind. Any cell from an organisim can be used to produce a perfect clone of that organism.

But in reality, without laboratory intervention, it doesn't work that way. As you note, planting the small, inner cloves, _should_ produce a replica of the parent. The fact that it doesn't, always, indicates to me that we just don't know the whole story.

So I'll just continue planting large cloves from large heads, and pragmatically enjoy my garlic.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Uncle John got 4 months growth, period. That's the same, more or less, that I got this year. As it turned out, two of my garlic sites happened to end up locked under a foot or more of white ice well into mid-April this year. Main bed was free of snow and ice almost a month before. Didn't matter as everything matured about the same time. In fact, those plants which got a later start turned out to be the first that were taken up in one of those areas. Regardless, it's going to be late July or early August harvest here no matter what. Since there was only one variety which was grown in both the snow and no-snow area, I can not say if any others were affected by the longer and shorter growth periods. The only one growing under the two diverse early conditions was my old heirloom and there was no difference in size or maturity date.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

But you and Uncle John are both in the same zone. So that neither supports nor detracts from the basic thesis.

I'd like to hear from others as to their actual growing times (as we both know, fall planting doesn't count against growing time). I'm really curious, now, as to how much effect day-length has on growing time; if any.


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As I stated, ALL cloves in any given bulb will have the same genetics. The capability to become either a large or small bulb is determined on various factors. One of those factors is the amount of stored energy in the individual clove. That will determine how fast a given plant will reach the different stages. First being to produce a sufficient enough foliage system to support a bulb. Second is when it goes to producing that bulb. If that bulb is of sufficient size after a given length of growing, it will divide. How big it was at that point determines how big it will be in the end. If it has not had enough time to produce a divided bulb, natural dormancy takes place and growth will begin when that dormancy is broken. Then, starting from a large round, the results are normally accepted as being even larger than if planted as large cloves. It's the same with starting with bulbils. It justs take longer, that's all! But the genetics are the same. If they were not, each variety could be segregated into separate varieties after only a few generations. Just as with onions, you can start with seeds, plants, or sets. If all are the same variety, you're going to arrive at the same point eventually but perhaps not in the same season.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Well I think my z5/6 more or less has just a small amount of time (2-3 weeks) more then Martin did for digging the garlic and if yours are even a month later than that Gardenlad-there is something to it someplace.Surpriseing to think that martins z4 would be colder and root growth should be less than yours by half overwinter it does make 1 ponder the overall full light amount thats mentioned above for garlic maturity.
I wonder what would happen if I start and get bottom and top growth now over the next 2 months-then freeze the garlic and rethaw and plant out in Nov.those bulbs.Would they resprout and die back the same as fall planted might and then just slowly go on with minimal root growth overwinter and do well and a have bigger better final product come maturity?I may try it.
I do know that slugs can and will decimate spring leaf growth sometimes or frost will kill the top growth off and I'll still get close to the same results for bulbs.It happened 2 years ago-frostkill,regrowth frostkill ect.(3 times in spring 2003)only a novice but I have not noticed any abnormal size differences between that year and the last 2.Actually if it goes as said the garlic has done better possibly due to the replantings in the same area.
Bill


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Am I hearing here that our longer days up north may give us an advantage? (It would be nice to think that there is an upside to our dark bitter winters). If so, should I be placing my beds to max out the number of direct sunlight hours?

My main garden has trees to the east and west which cut down a total of an hour to ninety minutes on either side of the day. My current garlic bed was getting about 12 hours of direct sunlight at harvest time. How worthwhile would it be creating beds somewhere else on my property which would get another hour of sunlight? Would it be worth having to carry water, for instance?


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>Am I hearing here that our longer days up north may give us an advantage? <

You're hearing it, Uncle John. But only as speculation on my part. I don't think the difference between 12 and 13 hours will be significant, though.

But what we've finally come to is what we've known all along: large cloves from large heads produce best. But small bulbs from large bulbs will also produce large bulbs _if you're willing to wait a second year for them_.

But what I'm still confused about is this. If a small clove from a large head produces rounders that need a second year, and large cloves from small heads produce rounders that need a second year, and in that second year both of them produce large heads, then what's the point of wasting a large head as seed stock?


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Who's on First, What's on Second! I really wish that there was some definite report to refer to on this topic. In zones 3-5, one can plant garlic in mid-October and get zero fall growth. Harvest is in late July, plants are dead. One can plant garlic a week after Labor Day and have 6" foliage when winter arrives. Harvest is in late July, plants are dead. One can plant garlic the first week of April. Harvest is in late July, plants are dead. See a pattern here? 120 growth days for two of those situations, 150 or so for the other. It's thus obvious that the length of the day is what determines when the plants are mature. Mature, in this case, is when the plant has reached the maximum that it is going to grow in that particular year. In some cases, that indeed would mean having to take two full seasons to obtain large or extra-large divided bulbs. With the supposed longer period of growth in zones 6-8, it would be interesting to see what difference the size of the clove would make. If those zones have 180 growing days, then everything should be larger in proportion but it isn't. Music is going to be about the same size in zone 3 or 8.

I do have some varieties which no doubt are going to need an extra year in the "hospital" before I'll see any decent bulbs. There are 4 in all and they were planted in mid-October last year. That was a full month later than most of the others. They were done the same time as the others and one of the 4 actually produced only rounds. After having seen elephant garlic invariably take 2 seasons for me, I'm used to it and can live with it. Those 4 special ones may be that slow by natural habit as they turned out to be no better for the gardener that gave them to me. One thing for certain is that I'll have nice rounds to plant back for some, small cloves for the others.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

I think here in zone 7 we have a harder time getting larger heads. We have just enough cold and winter that the root growth is less than zones 8-10. Our garlic goes dormant here . But we get lots of sun and heat here in May and june , making our garlic ready in june (the same time those in zone 8-9 who had root groth all winter). I think those in northen and southern zones have the advantage over us. Our Music never gets as big as the north or our friends who grow Music on the NC coast in zone 8.


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The key being length of day makes a ton of sense given onion behavior. That brings up a strange contrary possiblity on where to place my bed for optimal performance.

The remaining issue is whether garlic starts ending given a magic number of daylight hours (either a running total, or per day), or just after the solstice when it "discerns" that the days are getting shorter.

If indeed it is the former, it might not be in my best interests to move my garlic to where it can receive more daylight hours. In that instance my garlic should mature later, have more time in the ground sill growing, and hence end up larger.

There is a third option: given that in warmer zones where garlic sprouts earlier it also finishes earlier despite shorter days, it seems to me that the magic number is probably a set number of days (day/night cycles) after sprouting. In this instance it would be important to give your plants all the light possible in those days by giving them the sunniest spot and generous spacing. This past year I gave them more space than previous 5"-6" with rows about 8", and am not sure if I can afford more space for them next year.

On the other, other, hand, Martin reported his ice beds that thawed a month later, and still matured at the same time as his main bed with sizes that were likely, but not certifiably, similar. That would seem to support the Solstice theorem. So after a round of meticulous irrefutable logic, I remain confused.

John


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

>I remain confused. <

Yeah, so? What's yer point? You don't expect to be any different than the rest of us, do you? :>)


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

John, if garlic maturity didn't depend upon the length of day, one could plant cloves anytime in April or May and expect maximum size bulbs some time in the fall. Maturity would be when the plant had reached its physical limits. Nothing else short of frozen ground would stop them. The fact that both fall and spring planted cloves may mature within a few weeks of each other attests to that.

Consider where most of our garlic varieties came from. The softnecks are mostly Mediterranean and the hardnecks from further north. Trace a line around the world beginning in Milwaukee and you'll run into Rome. Thus virtually all of Europe has a longer day than even I have. But after the summer solstice, the days shorten up quickly. That's the conditions which garlic originally developed in. Thus it seems plausible that a shorter day, or perhaps a longer night, is the trigger which stops garlic at about the same time no matter when it was planted.

I don't think that moving garlic to a more or less sunny area would make much difference. It doesn't do a thing here. Due to some junk shrubs getting too high in my east neighbor's lot line, my main bed doesn't see direct sunlight until nearly 11AM. Then it's good until around 6PM. 6 or 7 hours of sun seems adequate. In the front bed, it's full sun the entire day. Didn't make any difference although I did begin there with the harvest. Indeed, it was not a certifiable test since it was not a case of the same varieties in two beds having a big difference in sun hours. The only variety which did end up in two bed was my old heirloom. Although one was buried under ice for several weeks longer than the other, that bed sees the sun at least 2 hours earlier than the main bed. Didn't matter as nearly identical results were obtained.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

We start harvesting turbans in May and almost all our garlic has been harvested BEFORE summer soltice????
The Garlic Lady


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>Soren, so what's been the result in terms of bulb size? Are all your bulbs large, when you do that? Or do you get normal variation in size? <

Gardenlad, I get normal variation in size in healthy plants. But I see very rarely a diseased plant now.
I still believe that all the cloves in variety contain the same genes, except of course for the rare mutation.

Interesting with the timeprogram discussion. My garlic vary a bit in harvesttime from year to year, but just a week or two. I live fairly high to the north in the latitude of 55 degrees N - like the southern alaska.

This year I harvested the first variety (softneck) on june 23, and the others (hardnecks) july 9.

Sren.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Martin
Can I have your oppinion as to wether I would get larger bulbs if I used row cover to boost the sprouting of the topwrowth/leaves by a month?Wow if its totally the day length we may be able to get larger bulbs if they can be made to sprout a month earlier as long as the ground has thawed enough for good root growth along with getting the leaf growth to come on earlier.I'm for larger bulbs if possible with more/totally full size cloves.
Bill


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Bill - Martin's tale of his iced beds that thawed a month later, but matured in sync with his main bed and with bulbs that (as best as he could tell) were likely of similar size (comparing mainly apples to oranges), would seem to indicate that row covers may not help your cause. I am interested in his take too, and would love to find that row covers help garlic. It may turn out that it is better to have them sprout later so that the days are longer during their growth/maturation phases (if the number of days between sprout and harvest are fixed, for instance).

I should point out that I am almost completely sold on row covers for hot peppers; I covered about half my peppers this year with hooped row covers, and left the others uncovered. The covered ones are substantially larger, even accounting for the fact that they were planted out earlier. While I am losing a significant number of flowers to high temperatures under the row covers, it seems that there are more blossoms, and so the fruit is still more plentiful and larger than the naked plants. I am waiting until the end of the season to make a final judgement, but at this point I expect to cover all my peppers next year.


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Again, we can find 10 different opinions from 10 different sources. For years, rule around here was planting either right after Labor Day or very early in April. Along comes the Internet and it's still the same thing. Look at every source of planting information. The only constant is to use the largest cloves to get the largest bulbs. After that, everyone seems to have a different planting date within each zone. I still like my second weekend of September for planting here. Yes, some years the ground is frozen in late October and there's zero growth of anything until second week of April. Other years, we still can find dandelions blooming on Thanksgiving Day. It was about 3 years ago when we were hunting deer while wearing T-shirts! That year, I just kept piling on more and more leaves as mulch and the garlic just kept growing up through it! I finally gave up trying to protect the leaves. That resulted in a great harvest. This year, I'm going with that again. That is, aiming for the weekend after Labor Day, around the 10th. I may hold back the few softnecks for later but all hardnecks are going in as early as practical. And that's what I'd advise for zones 3 to 5.

No clue as to what a row cover would do. Would it be the same or better than a nice warm and thick mulch? It would have to be of an advantage in the spring to warm the soil and start the plants growing again. The standard is to use mulch for both winter protection as well as spring warmth. Insulating row covers should have the same effects. It's definitely worth experimenting with unless someone can come up with anything negative about it.

Martin


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Actually, I find that mulch slows the spring end of the process. My grass mulch held the frost in my garlic bed at least two weeks longer than the surrounding soil.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

I'll start out by stating I am new to this, with only one year growing an unknown purple softneck with mixed results, mainly because I didn't feed well. I will feed this year!

My experience was that I planted them in mid November and harvested the second week in July, all bulbs well papered. We do not often get a freeze here in Santa Barbara, and I noticed growth from December on.

So for those in a colder climate, does the bulb form _before_ it goes dormant (as I think I understand from and earlier Martin post)? And after bulb formation, and then dormancy, it just continues to grow larger in the spring?

This is a fascinating discussion!

~Thalia


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Thalia, there indeed would be the start of the formation of a bulb before dormancy if there is active green growth. At that point, it would be much like an onion scallion with just a slight swelling. The seed clove would have been used up and transformed into the beginnings of a round bulb. The plant will continue to grow as long as the soil temperature is suitable, probably around 40F. At that point in growth, the plant does not know if it growing into winter or out of winter. In California, it would just keep growing. In Wisconsin, it must go into a defensive mode to survive and that is the dormancy period. Hardnecks can do it almost without fail. Most Mediterranean softnecks don't seem to have developed that defense mechanism since it wasn't needed in its wild form.

Martin


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I found some discussion on climatic and growth of garlic at the link below from OSU. It might be interesting to seek out a professional garlic researcher, who might be found in California:
http://westernfarmpress.com/mag/farming_varieties_around_world/

"GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

Information from various publications indicates that:

* Matured garlic cloves, planted in the fall, go through a short (about 2-week) dormant period. With adequate moisture and temperature (see below), roots emerge and leaves sprout, and the plant goes through a period of vegetative growth. With the onset of winter, the plant undergoes vernalization (induced to bulb and flower) by low winter temperatures.

* Although vernalized, no inflorescence or lateral buds (that later form the bulb) are developed until early spring with the onset of lengthening days and suitable temperatures. Proper bulbing is a function of adequate growth, vernalization, and subsequent growth under long days.

Some temperate-region varieties may be adapted to spring planting because the long photoperiod of northern temperate regions are adequate, even if only minimal cold treatment has occurred. The degree of bulbing and flower stalk formation varies considerably and with genotype. From a flowering standpoint, three classifications are reported:

1. Non-bolting types. These do not form flower stalks, or do so only rarely. Only primary cloves form (as in strains of California Early and California Late).

2. Incomplete bolting types. These usually produce a flower stalk, the terminal of which (the bulbils) often remains enclosed in the pseudostem. Some of these types form a second set of cloves within the primary cloves, and may be confused with non-bolting types.

3. Complete bolting types. These bolt readily, producing a scape that terminates in an inflorescence containing sterile flowers and topsets (bulbils).

The relationship between temperature and photoperiod is complex and variety dependent. Generally, a photoperiod longer than a critical value is the main factor inducing storage leaf formation after a period of cold treatment. Also, the longer the cold treatment, the shorter the critical photoperiod required for storage leaf induction (and subsequent bulb formation).

A garlic bulb develops from the bud primordia (2 or 3) of the cloves that are planted. Each bud primordia forms between two and six growing points, each of which develops a lateral bud which later develop into a clove. Temperatures during growth determine the rate of leaf growth, clove, and flower stalk development. Clove formation in non-bolting types differs slightly in that lateral-bud primordia (which form the cloves), form in the axil of the youngest 6-8 foliage leaves, beginning with the oldest one. At maturity, these develop into cloves. The growing point may then either form a clove and go dormant, or form an incomplete leaf that degenerates.

A garlic bulb can therefore be best described as an aggregate of cloves surrounded by a sheath consisting of the basal portions of one or more mature dry leaves. Each clove consists of a vegetative bud and two modified mature leaves. The inner of these two leaves forms a thickened base that makes up the clove. The base of the outer leaf forms the dry sheath surrounding the clove. The blades of both these leaves abort just above the clove. The vegetative bud is imbedded in the clove and consists of one or two leaf initials.

CLIMATIC REQUIREMENTS

Garlic grown in temperate regions such as the Pacific Northwest is responsive to temperature and photoperiod for proper clove and bulb formation (and subsequent seedstalk development of some varieties). Varieties adapted to southern latitudes, that bulb under the temperature and short day conditions common to those latitudes, may not bulb or segment properly in the Pacific Northwest.

With varieties such as California Early and California Late, a period of cold exposure is needed for proper bulbing and clove development. That cold treatment is thought to be about 6 to 8 weeks of a mean temperatures below 40 F but may be considerably shorter with some strains. Garlic may be sensitive to a cold treatment range of between 32 and 50 F and is sensitive either during growth or while the cloves are in storage. Photoperiod interacts with temperature so that cloves held in cold storage will bulb quickly when planted in spring (increasing photoperiod) resulting in small bulbs.

Bulb and clove size is related to the amount of vegetative growth that takes place before bulb and clove initiation occurs. This determines optimum clove storage temperature, planting date and associated growing temperatures and changing day length.

Cloves exposed to adequate cold treatment may have a reversion of vernalization under water stress and high temperatures (above 85 F) so normal bulbing does not occur. The longer the cold treatment, however, the more difficult it is to devernalize the plants. Also, plants that are growing rapidly with good soil moisture are less susceptible to devernalization."

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU commercial Garlic Production


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Yep! Everything's there! "Photoperiod" and "vernalizaton", two very important things about alliums in general and garlic in particular. Us common gardeners know them as day length and dormancy.

Note the one thing which pertains to this thread's title, about bulb size. Size of the eventual bulb is determined by the amount of leaf growth. That means that a larger clove will have more energy to produce more foliage, which I think that I mentioned. An interesting test may be to plant small cloves a month earlier in the fall. Then plant larger cloves at your normal time. Anyone see any reason why the eventual results won't be the same? 2 or 3 leaves in the fall versus none. The early smaller cloves would already be 2 or 3 leaves ahead of the larger ones when spring arrives. Somewhere along the line, one will catch to the other.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

  • Posted by coho z8/9 N. Calif (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 12, 05 at 0:53

An excellent article, Thanks Jay.
Martin and Brook, Looks like the term corm in place of bubil was put to rest.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Coho: Nobody likes a wiseass! :>)

Martin: Re: earlier planting. It's always been taken as a given that fall growth is meaningless in terms of bulb development. That "growth" is measured from the time the plants start in the spring.

Now you're suggesting that fall growth does, indeed, contribute to bulb development.

If that's the case, aren't we back to the growth period being six months? I mean, if we're going to count from the time of planting.

Also, if you're right, why don't we just plant all our seed stock in September? That would guarantee the largest possible bulbs.


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I think I like the term bulblet(in reference to elephant garlic) better than bulbil, which I prefer for aerial topsets.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

  • Posted by coho z8/9 N. Calif (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 14, 05 at 0:27

GardenLad,
I know. Its a dirty job. But some one has to do it!


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Indeed, the growth period and temperature thing was discussed in 2003. A certain amount of fall growth MUST contribute to eventual bulb size. Every known source of garlic-growing information will tell you that planting in the spring is also OK but results in smaller bulbs. If so, they have to be getting a head start somewhere and that can only be in the fall. That growth may be very slow due to the low temperatures or normal during an unseasonable warm spell. Garlic has the ability to shut down when temperatures are too low and start again when conditions are more favorable. However, the slow growth is better as more effort is used to produce roots.

Stating a starting time for all zones doesn't work. Mid-September applies only to zones 3-5. Lower zones have their own established and documented best planting dates. All dates are so that the plants do not have too much top growth. One reason may be that too much fall growth would trigger the beginnings of division and eventual premature maturity. Second week of September has worked fine for me, no matter if winter comes early or late.

Martin


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

>If so, they have to be getting a head start somewhere and that can only be in the fall. <

Perhaps, Martin. And perhaps not.

Down here my garlic tops start showing new growth in February. Which means, of course, that the roots had awoken before than. How much earlier remains to be seen. But let's call it February 1 for the sake of discussion.

If I were to spring pant it likely wouldn't be until March that the soil was truly workable. So, let's say March 1 for planting.

That's a month more of growing time the fall planted garlic had then the spring planted.

What I'm saying is that the head start didn't necessarily come from the fall planting, but from garlic naturally starting earlier than most of us think.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

I rarely get any growth in the fall, when I plant, but I think that the roots must be getting started. I have planted on a nice day in Feb cause I didn't have time earlier, and got a great crop. I have also planted the bulbil and got edible cloves. Yes they were a little small, but tasted great. I have a hard time sending out the largest cloves to seed, that just seems wasteful. This is the first time I have managed to grow a years supply, do not exspect to be buying any at the store unless my family makes off with what I have.


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RE: Bulb Size v Clove Size for planting

Hi Folks,
just to throw my two cents in here....
last year i planted in first week of september, first week of october and right around christmas. (same variety)
first week of sept. - 8 inches of growth
first week of oct. - no growth
Christmas planting - no growth
when i harvested them, the october and christmas plantings were the same size... the september bulbs were much bigger.
i think that the root system the clove puts out in the fall survives the winter and gives it a jump on the others.

later,

Matti


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