Fall Garlic

meadow

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A Friend of my husband's just gave us all these!! He was chatting with him how our garlic didn't grow and he said "here take this!"
How nice of him!

I grew bulbils this year and discovered that the planting was not intuitive. Turns out you want the pointy end down, not the bulbous end.

I wouldn't hesitate to plant the bulbils right now. Or maybe a portion of them? It looks like your husband's friend was very generous! But you should be harvesting the first rounds by Fall and perhaps can even replant those at the usual garlic planting time! (I'm not experienced with this though, it is only guesswork on my part... but that is what I would do)
 

Manda_Rae

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How nice of him!

I grew bulbils this year and discovered that the planting was not intuitive. Turns out you want the pointy end down, not the bulbous end.

I wouldn't hesitate to plant the bulbils right now. Or maybe a portion of them? It looks like your husband's friend was very generous! But you should be harvesting the first rounds by Fall and perhaps can even replant those at the usual garlic planting time! (I'm not experienced with this though, it is only guesswork on my part... but that is what I would do)
I will try a few this weekend and see how it goes. I feel blessed by the kindness. This isn't the first time he has given us gardening things. We give him eggs all the time. He has a garden I will be giving him some of my extra tomato plants.
 

flowerbug

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None of my garlic grew 😭

i completely missed your planting set up there for some reason, visually, i think i saw the sides of the raised bed and thought it was one area that was still in contact with the subsoil. in your case with the raised area having air underneath it that might just have gotten way too cold even for a hardy garlic.

next time you plant garlic put it in a raised bed but don't put it in a cradle or pot that is isolated from the ground so you have some bottom insulation being provided from the deeper ground. one thing you do need for garlic is that it goes down in the ground but also that there is root space further below the plant and that is what i see lacking in your picture.

had i noticed that earlier i'd likely have said something.

the good news is that you can try again. :) send me a PM towards the middle of summer and i'll mail you some garlic that i grow that i've never been able to kill. i'll also make sure to send you some larger cloves which will give you a stronger plant and we can answer any questions you have about how to plant them here or you can PM me or e-mail, etc.

when you start with the smaller bulbules like you did you don't get a very big plant to grow and that is going to be more vulnerable to harsher conditions.

hang in there! :)
 

flowerbug

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Also, I've noticed from the ones I'm growing out right now that the largest bulbils were the ones I should have focused on for future clove production. The smaller ones could have been planted much closer together to be used for garlicky 'chives'.

i'll do a mini-brain-dump of things i have observed and things about garlic that i hope will provide some context for further efforts to get a successful crop. :)

i've grown garlic to full size from bulbules the size of a grain of rice. they don't need to be planted very deeply (a rough rule of thumb for planting any bulb is plant it three times as deep as the size of the bulb, so if the bulb is 5mm then plant it 15mm deep). the shallower you plant anything the more critical winter issue will be moisture because the shallower the more chance it might dry out if there isn't enough rain or snow cover, the other issue to worry about is frost heave if you have repeated freeze thaw cycles. both of these issues point to a much better idea is to, like you say, plant only the larger cloves or bulbules.

but getting back to those grains of rice, it may take four years to get a decent sized bulb of garlic when starting out with such a tiny plant to begin with.

the larger the bulbule or clove you plant the less critical the direction will be. the plant sprouts and grows out from the top of the clove or bulbule, but it will do ok if you've not planted it too deeply. the green plant growing is what will form the next season's bulb towards the end of the growing season. it will take all that energy from the green plant and make a new bulb.

when starting from a tiny grain you may not get divisions in the bulb into cloves until the 2nd or even 3rd season. it depends upon conditions. if you start with a tiny bulb near the surface and don't lift it and plant it deeper each season it will gradually bury itself deeper (some bulbs like tulips will send out special growths to delve down deeper but i've never seen any garlic do this, but @Zeedman has planted a lot of varieties of garlic so perhaps he's observed this happening?). if you never lift and divide garlic to get bigger bulbs and cloves you will get a big clump of garlic bulbs all growing together. some seasons some of those bulbs and cloves may remain dormant because they are so crowded...
 

Cosmo spring garden

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I will try a few this weekend and see how it goes. I feel blessed by the kindness. This isn't the first time he has given us gardening things. We give him eggs all the time. He has a garden I will be giving him some of my extra tomato plants.
I love knowing people like that! I have friends that love to garden and we share many seeds/plants and ideas. I love the gardening community.
 

Manda_Rae

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i completely missed your planting set up there for some reason, visually, i think i saw the sides of the raised bed and thought it was one area that was still in contact with the subsoil. in your case with the raised area having air underneath it that might just have gotten way too cold even for a hardy garlic.

next time you plant garlic put it in a raised bed but don't put it in a cradle or pot that is isolated from the ground so you have some bottom insulation being provided from the deeper ground. one thing you do need for garlic is that it goes down in the ground but also that there is root space further below the plant and that is what i see lacking in your picture.

had i noticed that earlier i'd likely have said something.

the good news is that you can try again. :) send me a PM towards the middle of summer and i'll mail you some garlic that i grow that i've never been able to kill. i'll also make sure to send you some larger cloves which will give you a stronger plant and we can answer any questions you have about how to plant them here or you can PM me or e-mail, etc.

when you start with the smaller bulbules like you did you don't get a very big plant to grow and that is going to be more vulnerable to harsher conditions.

hang in there! :)
Thank you so much for all the info and help. I don't mind trying again. This was my first go at growing garlic and I honestly wasn't sure how it would go I didn't expect it not to grow at all 🤣
But we'll try again and I'll be choosing another area lol. I'll keep this bed for seasonal things instead lol
 

Zeedman

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A Friend of my husband's just gave us all these!! He was chatting with him how our garlic didn't grow and he said "here take this!"
Those papery capsules are umbels of garlic bulbils... probably of the sub-type rocambole, or marbled purple stripe. Both of those are very winter hardy; and depending upon the variety (which hopefully the friend can provide) they may produce large bulbs in a few years. Provided those large bulbils are still viable (not dried out) they can produce either a "round" (single clove) this year, or a small multi-cloved bulb. The rounds would be best, since they might produce a reasonably large bulb next year when re-planted in the Fall.

Plant the bulbils closely (no more than 2") in an area with loose, well-drained soil. Be prepared to dig the bulbs as soon as the tops brown or tip over, otherwise it will be hard to find them all.

BTW, growing garlic from bulbils can be worth the extra time involved. Garlic bulbs (and their cloves) can accumulate soil-borne diseases and/or pests (such as harmful nematodes) over time, which can gradually reduce bulb size. Provided the bulbils are not allowed to touch the ground, they are free of many of those problems. It is a good policy to periodically refresh hard neck garlic varieties by growing out new stock, from bulbils, on ground that has never grown garlic or onions.
 
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Zeedman

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I was worried when we had the warm up in November theybstarted to grow then we had the freeze out. I read when that happens I might kill the bulb. I will take a look at the suggested reads. Thanks! I'm bummed but maybe next year I'll try a ground level bed instead of the raised up one.

next time you plant garlic put it in a raised bed but don't put it in a cradle or pot that is isolated from the ground so you have some bottom insulation being provided from the deeper ground. one thing you do need for garlic is that it goes down in the ground but also that there is root space further below the plant and that is what i see lacking in your picture.
I concur with @flowerbug 's advice. Garlic cloves can take freezing, but only to a point. I've tried planting it in pots before (both cloves and bulbils) and all of those died. Pots freeze too quickly, compared to ground level. However, planting garlic at ground level runs the risk of stunting due to excessive soil moisture in Spring - especially with dense soil. I learned that lesson the hard way, when 2 consecutive wet years stunted or killed much of my garlic (planted at ground level).

Unless your soil is well drained, a raised bed or hill will increase the chance of success. Plant late & mulch heavily; the mulch prevents frost heave, and delays emergence until temps are more stable. Watch for shoots, and be prepared to (gently) pull the mulch back if sprouts are having difficulty pushing through. Then try to leave the mulch on, since it will promote a stable soil moisture level. The raised bed in my earlier photo is actually on the low end of the garden, much too wet to grow garlic at ground level. The raised bed allows the garlic to safely tap into that moisture when Summer heat arrives, without the bulbs being submerged during heavy rains.
 

Manda_Rae

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I concur with @flowerbug 's advice. Garlic cloves can take freezing, but only to a point. I've tried planting it in pots before (both cloves and bulbils) and all of those died. Pots freeze too quickly, compared to ground level. However, planting garlic at ground level runs the risk of stunting due to excessive soil moisture in Spring - especially with dense soil. I learned that lesson the hard way, when 2 consecutive wet years stunted or killed much of my garlic (planted at ground level).

Unless your soil is well drained, a raised bed or hill will increase the chance of success. Plant late & mulch heavily; the mulch prevents frost heave, and delays emergence until temps are more stable. Watch for shoots, and be prepared to (gently) pull the mulch back if sprouts are having difficulty pushing through. Then try to leave the mulch on, since it will promote a stable soil moisture level. The raised bed in my earlier photo is actually on the low end of the garden, much too wet to grow garlic at ground level. The raised bed allows the garlic to safely tap into that moisture when Summer heat arrives, without the bulbs being submerged during heavy rains.
I discussed it with my husband and I think we are going to put a raised bed specifically for the garlic in the front yard which is much drier. That way it can be on it's own for how ever long they need to be. Our backyard is stopped and tends to get really wet which was why I originally wanted the bed up off the ground.
 

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