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Planting garlic???

Posted by milehighgirl 5/CO (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 4, 09 at 1:49

I just received a garlic order from Seeds of Change that I placed last spring. It came without planting instructions, and the ones I have found on line say, "Plant garlic in the fall, about 6 weeks before the first frost in your area." Well, since we've already had our first frost, what should I do?

Should I plant them in pots and keep them in my garage, or put them in the ground now, knowing they will not be able to start until next spring? How far apart, how deep?

Sorry, but I'm a total newbie with regard to garlic!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Planting garlic???

I grow lots of garlic, and I haven't planted mine yet - but will over the next 10 days. The idea is to get it in the ground in the fall, water it in so the roots start to develop before the soil gets too cold / frozen.

Loosen up the soil down to about 6" or more, if you have some compost, dig it in. Break the heads apart, plant the cloves flat side down about 5 - 6" apart, 4" deep. If you want large heads, then don't bother planting the tiny cloves, just use the big ones.

Once planted and watered in, I'd mulch the bed with a few inches of leaves, grass clippings, straw, etc. The books talk about frost heave shoving the cloves out, in practice, around here, the problem is the soil drying out over the winter, which the mulch helps prevent.

In the early spring, they'll be up and running, and you'd want to give a good fertilization in early May, I usually soak some home-made compost in a bucket and pour the results all along the row. A side dressing with a high soluble nitrogen fertilizer in early June gives a boost. Be sure to break off the scapes as soon as possible, I do mine just as soon as the white, swelling part shows up. Plan on harvesting in July.

Not rocket science, here. Be sure to save the best looking heads to plant next year, and save on those outrageous prices.....


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Great explanation from David. I can also suggest looking on youtube for "how to" videos on doing just about anything garden related. I'm a visual person and prefer to just watch someone do it. Good Luck! I planted my garlic and shallots a couple of weeks ago.


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newbie garlic planter as well -

THANKS for the question and the info


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Might I suggest Ron Engeland's fantastic book "Growing Great Garlic" (?). That book is our garlic bible. We live in SW Colorado (sounds like you're in Denver or vicinity.) We usually shoot for about October 15 planting, and we're at 7,000 ft elevation, so you should be fine as long as you get them in before Nov. 1st.

David is absolutely correct in stating scapes should be removed as soon as possible for the largest bulbs. that assumes you are planting some hardneck garlic. We always leave a set amount with the scapes on until harvest. Those we will keep for long-term storage. The bulbs will not be as large, but they will store better and longer than bulbs with the scapes removed.

Hope you enjoy growing garlic. It is one of my favorite crops. I would highly recommend you consider some drip irrigation for the garlic. You will get the best bulbs with regular water. We put the drip tape under our mulch. You'll use far less water that way, and you won't waste water on weeds. Good luck!


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Local library has that book available - woo hoo - going this am to check it out!!


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Just a fun fact here...did you all know that 73 percent of garlic that we consume in this country is grown in China? Who'd have thought. Especially since it's so easy to grow...


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There was some considerable outrage amongst professional garlic growers about 5 years ago, Chinese garlic was coming into the country and being sold wholesale at about 1/3 the base, local production cost. And now, with the big producers out of business, look at the cost of seed garlic - $3-4 a head .... (WHAT?!?! )

I got mine in yesterday, just shy of two gallons of cloves. Our irrigation water is about done and getting pretty iffy - I'm at the end of the ditch, and they keep closing down the ditch flow as more and more folks stop for the season.

Peterpotato - How much more time, practically, does leaving the scape give you? I settled on a niche of just growing Music Pink garlic several years ago, and I can get, if I have average curing conditions, 12 months w/o the scape. But I don't know much at all about the other varieties.


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  • Posted by jnfr z5b CO (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 7, 09 at 22:36

Planted my garlic today. It's my first time trying to grow this. Thanks for the reminder about mulching. I need to do that!


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David52: All our varieties stored for over 12 months this past year. My understanding is leaving the scape on allows the garlic to "harden off" which is especially important in poor storage years. The first year we grew garlic we topped all of it (the hardnecks) early on and many of them only stored for 4-5 months with any quality. So I'd like to say that for us the storage time was better than doubled by letting them harden off. I'd love to hear others experience with this.

The conventional wisdom has always been to clip them as soon as possible. The clipped bulbs are probably 30% larger on average. Those get used for seed or sale at market.

I'm a big fan of "Music" as well, and the porcelains in general. Those big, fat, easy to peel cloves are very appealing on many levels, and Music has that lovely pink tint.

We've been winnowing our own selections and we're down to about 8 now, I think. Have you tried Tochliavri? It is probably one of very few I prefer to the Music. I've shared it with some others, including family members in Western NY, and it has been stellar there as well - so it is widely adapted. Let me know if you're interested, we'll get some to you.


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I had planned on trying to grow garlic this year, but never got around to placing an order. I thought maybe the feed/ranch supply store here would carry it, since they carry onion sets in the spring, but the don't have any, and all of the garden centers around here are shutting down for the season already. I can't even find a bag of compost anywhere!

Do you guys think I still have time to place an order, or is that pushing my luck a bit?

Bonnie


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I am reading the Growing Great Garlic book and the author says hardnecks have poor storage, but the best flavor.

I am so glad peterpotato recommended the read. Who knew there was so much info on garlic??

I am making the mistake of failing to preprep the growing area, but life got in the way this summer. I hope my garlic will forgive me this year.

Bonnie - I might be able to share my cloves with you, but I can't plant this weekend, maybe next. I'll add manure to my area this weekend - weather permitting - and then plant in the next week. I'll pm you when I'm done and see if you want my extra cloves. I must have nearly 20 varieties. I selected them based on hotter flavor and clove quantity. I wanted varieties with few cloves. However, I did get Roja from the Berry Patch because it's yummy, although it has many cloves. I could send a whole head of that. I read in the book that the cloves need to be planted within a few days of separating from the head. I could send priority - that can't take long - right? Will you be able to plant next week?

I also read that environmental conditions will alter the flavor and clove quantity. I think I read that "ideal" conditions bring out the variances in variety; less then ideal make the garlic varieties look/tastes more similar.

Seems way more challenging then growing tomatoes??


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Peter, if you find Tochliavri better than Music, I'd like to give it a try - I'll shoot you an email via gweb, which may or may not be working, let me know if you don't get one.

Re timing of garlic planting, some of my friends rather often *forget* to plant in the fall and stick them in the ground in March, and they still do pretty well. Growing really, really big bulbs requires a bit of timing and effort, but growing the size bulbs that one finds in the grocery store isn't all that hard.

The plant itself is rather remarkable. When canning season rolls around, we go through I dunno how much garlic - so we'll sit out in the shade somewhere with a couple of baskets, a wooden plank, and one of those tube garlic peelers, and so dozens of heads at once - put the peeled cloves in a bag in the fridge. When we run across a damaged clove we'll toss it on the lawn, or just drop some into the grass and can't find it, and DD11 'helps' so there go a few more. Anyway, there they are lying on top the lawn in September - abandoned to the whims of winter weather.

Come March, here come all these little garlic plants shooting up. And I'll be mowing grass until July and suddenly get a whiff of garlic - they're still alive.


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Bonnie let me look I may have some extra. Also I've planted from cloves from the grocery store if you find what you like and they have always done well. They are usually softneck. I plant mainly hardneck myself. How much do you want to plant?

Peter I'm wondering how much size difference that you have noticed. Since I've started growing garlic I've hear and read remove the scapes and then others like a grower in WI that really got me started said it makes little or no difference on size. And unless you are going to use the scapes like many do it really doesn't matter. So here in extreme SW KS I removed the scapes on 50% of a variety and left them on the other 50%. And on the 10 varieties the size ended up averaging the same. I measured each bulb with dial calipers so fairly accurate. That was this summer so won't know about storage yet. And these were hardneck types. So curious what size difference you have seen.

I purchased cloves from two sources this year. I got great cloves from a farm in Pueblo I'm attaching a link too. Was surprised to to find one so close. And figure what does well for them should here also. Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: South Road garlic farm


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We definitely saw a substantial reduction in size on the bulbs that we left the scapes on. Without measuring them I'd give a guesstimation of about 30% smaller, on average.


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I take my scapes off and use them in cooking. Double bonus.

I just got back from three weeks of travel and will plant my garlic mid-week when the soil warms up a bit, as I prepared my beds before I left. So there is time. Whether a supplier can turn around an order before Nov. is a different issue however...

Dan


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Thanks Deb and Jay, for offering to share your extras! I only have about 4 square feet available, so I'm not sure how much I can fit in that space. David said 5" - 6" apart, so would that be 4 per sq. ft? Sorry, I need more coffee before I do any math this morning, LOL.

Bonnie


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Well, if Peterpotato offers advice on growing garlic, I would listen. Yesterday they swung by and dropped off a couple heads of Tochliavri, and I gave him a couple heads of Music, and the exchange was, well, sorta like ...... you and your friend set up gift swap? And you come up with a 10 dollar gift certificate to Walmart? And you friend gives you a diamond studded Rolex?


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Thank you David, you are most gracious. Your Music garlic is most delicious and bears absolutely no resemblence to a Walmart gift certificate. I notice you are also very generous with your time and knowledge here on the forums, and that is worthy of note in these ultra busy times. Thanks again for the tour of your lovely property. See you around...


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peterpotato, thanks for your advice about the book, "Growing Great Garlic". I admit it was a bit more than I expected so I had to hunker down and study. I learned sooo much! I am excited to hopefully get some good garlic next year. I'm worried that my clay soil won't do well for a few years. How have you all prepared your soil for it's first planting?

elkwc, thanks for the tip on South Road garlic farm. I called to order but he had just sold his last of Musik. I got Inchelium and Red Toch, along with some for eating this winter. I had already bought Mother of Pearl from Seeds of Change. Boy, South Road's prices are a LOT better!!!

Thanks again for all your tips. I have high hopes, but from my experience it takes a few years of trying to finally succeed.

How much garlic per person should one plant for a years supply?


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How much garlic per person should one plant for a years supply?

In our house of 3 1/2 (the 6 YO doesn't eat that much garlic), we are about 12-15 heads into our June harvest of ~55 heads of garlic, and I've been gone for more than a month since June, so usage is lower than normal. Not sure we'll have enough until next year, & planted a few more cloves this season to hopefully last the year.

BTW, The Garlic Store is located in Ft Collins and has a large selection. Very happy with the quality of planting stock I got from them this year & hopefully this batch will satisfy everyone's tastes (and that Musik description sounds yummy).

Dan


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"Red Toch" is another name for the Tochliavri - or so the innernet tells me....

We do three dishes that use up an awful lot of garlic, and they all start off the same way ...... peel a couple - three heads of garlic, chop up in a food processor, put in a skillet with olive oil, and cook at a medium heat until lightly tan and crisp.

Use that on garlic bread, or sprinkled on a pasta dish, or in hummus.

One remains 'vampire free' for some time.


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We are, so to say David, heating up our garlic intake with garlic bread as it gets cooler, and our hummus intake increases as well. Homemade hummus with home grown garlic...yum. As you say. You can't grow too much garlic. Give some away and make someone very happy.

Dan


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I second the thanks on the recommendation of the book. Great read.

My garlic rows began as solid clay as well. I pick axed the clay, laid blood meal and alfalfa pellets. Then horse manure compost and leaf mold. I mixed HD compost and clay buster into the original clay, after smashing the clumps with a sledge hammer. Then this was added back to the rows.

Fun times at my age, I must say.

Today, I bought a straw bale and mulched with the mower. Grass clippings and straw piles are waiting for planting and then I'll top the rows with this mulch. When my maple trees dump their leaves, I'll add mulched leaves to the rows as well.

In a few years, I should have awesome garlic!!


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  • Posted by jnfr z5b CO (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 7, 09 at 19:54

Well, I never got around to mulching my garlic. We were away on vacation, then of course I was pretty busy shoveling snow for a while there. Then we had this lovely week of weather in the 60s and 70s, and I looked at the garden today and all my garlic has sprouted. I really hope I don't lose it all, but guess I'd better get that mulching done fast.


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I mulched heavily and mine is also sprouting.

I thought that was a good thing, as long as the top growth doesn't get too tall.


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  • Posted by jnfr z5b CO (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 8, 09 at 0:15

I've never grown it before, so I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed.


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Mine always starts in the fall and lasts over the winter.

Dan


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In agreement with dan on this.....


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Since my original post I've planted several garlic crops. Last year my garlic tops died down and I presumed my crop had failed due to drought as I did not water too much. I bought more garlic sets and planted in a different location. This spring my original garlic bed came back in full force and every garlic bulb put out several sprouts. This was a set-back for me since I had planned to make this area my permanent asparagus bed.

I transplanted the garlic from my original bed and they seemed to do relatively well considering the upheaval. Now the same thing has happened despite regular watering; both beds have died back above ground.

I now realize that just because they do not have tops does not mean they do not have bulbs. Is this normal for garlic? I have heard you should harvest when the tops curl over but since I don't have any tops when should I harvest?


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  • Posted by gjcore 5 South Aurora Co. (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 17:57

You might as well dig around and see what's there. If there's healthy bulbs in the ground they'll probably start growing again and the next harvest will be poor. Generally garlic is harvested in July and planted in October. It is possible for a spring planting and early fall harvest though it will probably not be as good as the standard times.


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Harvest in July? Ugh! I'll be digging it up this week then. Thank you.


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