Handling and Planting Garlic Cloves

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Homegrown garlic is more delicious than store bought

I am fascinated by all the alliums, but especially garlic. It is the one veggie of which we can grow a full year's supply, and our homegrown garlic is finer and more varied than we could possibly buy. Many of you share my passion for garlic, as reflected in the many thoughtful comments to my previous GrowVeg posts on planting garlic, and then harvesting and curing the crop.

But there's more. I also get direct emails that raise intriguing garlic planting issues, for example the way some bulbs refuse to separate into perfectly plantable cloves:

"What do you do about the cloves where the paper skin comes off as you are separating them? This happens to me a lot when I prepare to plant. Part or most of the paper wrapper will separate from the clove. Can you still plant these?"

Broken garlic cloves

What a great question! Garlic bulbs naturally shrink as they cure, and then shrink more in storage. This is the natural course of things, because dormancy lasts only so long, and the cloves must get busy changing into new plants. This natural shrinkage makes garlic cloves easier to peel, but naked cloves are not what you want in your garden. The wrapper/skins contain chemical compounds that do various things – inhibit the emergence of a sprout until roots have formed, deter invasive microbes, and probably leach "come hither" signals to appropriate strains of garlic-friendly bacteria.

My soil is very active, biologically speaking, and cloves that enter that world need to be wearing their full armor. If I have more naked cloves than I can use, I dry them and make small batches of delicious garlic powder, or slice and pickle them just like other quick pickles.

Garlic needs planty of organic matter to grow well

The Need to Feed

The next notable letter came in late spring, when a reader with new raised beds described an autumn garlic planting that simply failed to thrive: "They are not growing and look spindly and pale. I dug up a plant and the roots looked healthy enough, just scrawny."

After a flurry of correspondence, the problem was no fertiliser, which is an essential step in garlic planting. Eventually I distilled our e-conversation into the following two paragraphs, which are part of my new e-book on growing garlic:

Garlic should be considered a heavy feeder, because it will not grow as it should without supplemental nitrogen. Do not skip mixing in a balanced organic fertiliser or high nitrogen compost (such as compost made from poultry manure) when preparing the garlic bed for planting. Regardless of how great your soil is, it does not hold enough nitrogen to completely satisfy garlic.

Plant garlic cloves knuckle deep

To concentrate nutrients where they are most needed, I work a light application of a balanced organic fertiliser into the entire bed, and then form V-shaped planting furrows with a hoe. I fill the furrow halfway with screened homemade compost and a light sprinkling of organic fertiliser before planting garlic cloves knuckle deep. Placing a cache of nutrients below the cloves insures that the roots will find it early on, and hopefully use up all the nutrients just as the bulbs mature. This is the nutritive story you want for your garlic. The soil should be well supplied with nutrients so it can support strong growth in spring. By then most of the roots will be growing so deep that you are not likely to reach them with fertilisers applied at the surface.

What Types to Grow

The top question I hear when I give gardening talks is "What types of garlic should I grow?" and my best answer is "all of them." I have been growing garlic in various locations for many years, and though I have favourites, my collection is constantly changing. Each year I save and replant a few bulbs of "Music' porcelain, "Spanish Roja' rocambole, and little "Korean Red', because it is such a good keeper. Indeed, varieties with small to medium-size bulbs tend to store longer than larger garlic varieties. I also try a new variety each year – this year an early-maturing turban type, in hopes that it is ready to dig in time for summer pickle-making season, and a late-maturing silverskin for braiding. When it comes to planting garlic, there is always new territory to explore.

Different garlic varieties grow well in different regions

Don't worry if sorting through garlic types confuses you, because garlic is truly a global crop that has been refined in different ways in various parts of the world. Begin by getting to know a variety or two that are widely grown in your area and sold at local farmers markets, and experiment from there. When planted in properly prepared beds in October, every garlic clove you plant will grow into a beautiful, big-flavour bulb.

The Kindle edition of Barbara Pleasant's new e-book, Growing, Harvesting and Curing Your Home Grown Garlic, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

By Barbara Pleasant

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Show Comments


"I had a wonderful crop of garlic this year, way more than I can use in 10 years of cooking! I like your suggestion of drying and making garlic powder. Should I put the cloves into the food dryer whole or is it ok to slice them first?"
Pat Roloff on Friday 5 October 2012
"An excellent article thank you I have grown garlic for about 10 years and each year the crops vary - andmost years they improve ! but I have never used you "V" method mentioned about - I will this year. I have one question - why does the skin on some Bulbs turn black- - we have no disease on the land ( that we know of) and all other alliums are fine. "
peta from France on Friday 5 October 2012
"We have successfully grown garlic for a few years now except this year. 99% of the bulbs looked like they had been frozen and quickly turned dark brown and nasty. Just wondering if you know what might have affected them?"
Caroline on Friday 5 October 2012
"Pat, slicing the cloves will make drying go faster. The process is quite aromatic, so you may want to do it outside or on an open-window day…Peta, my best guess as to why some of your garlic bulbs are black is infection with black mold -- a soil-borne fungus that gets between the outer scale layers when a break occurs in the scales or wrappers to let the fungus inside. In my experience this most often happens with garlic left in the ground a bit too long, so prompt harvesting and curing may help with the problem…Caroline, my deepest sympathy on the loss of your garlic crop. In recent years a rare garlic pest called the stem bloat nematode has been spread about on contaminated seed garlic. It causes the bulbs to rot in storage. New York state has been very badly hit in 2011 and 2012. More common fusarium fungi can cause bulbs to rot, too. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 6 October 2012
"Hello, I planted garlic in the spring (a Burpee brand)I did not pick them and I think the stems died off and I thought there was something wrong with them. However, there is now new green shoots. Should I pick the garlic now or wait until next spring? "
Mark on Saturday 6 October 2012
"Mark, your garlic has matured, rested, and broken dormancy. The best thing to do right now would be to dig the bulbs, and carefully separate off the largest cloves that break away with their roots (or root nubs) attached. Replant these, and eat the little cloves. Kept in a plastic bag in the fridge, they will keep for a couple of weeks. I know you may feel like -Duh- but this is a common newbie mistake. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 6 October 2012
"Fantastic advice. I've always wondered whether to fertilize when planting or to wait until spring. No more wimpy heads for me!"
Becky Reed on Saturday 6 October 2012
"Thank you for this info on garlic , i gave up but now im ready to try once more and am looking for a better crop this time ."
LeeAnn on Saturday 6 October 2012
"AHHH! We have had a very very dry summer here on Vancouver Island and I bet you're right... that they matured early and we just picked them at the usual time (August) and they were left too long. Thanks for your insight I really enjoy your mag."
Caroline on Sunday 7 October 2012
"Thank you for the great reminder! Planted several years ago next to outbuilding, but not really tended to. Just planted in my raised beds. "
Beverly on Monday 8 October 2012
"Thanks for all the info. on garlic...I love it! I bought my garlic to plant, but I am concerned about the soil and the conditions whether the garlic will enjoy it enough to grow well. I planted several greens, the lettuce type greens did well,but the Kale did "not" do well, nor the beets did not grow at all,after planting them 3 times. Was the soil lacking something? I used "Mostly Organic Soil, and some soil from Store Bought Planters...and fish emulsion for fertilizer. What do you think about that situation? "
Gaia on Monday 8 October 2012
"When properly used, organic fertilizers make it possible to grow most crops in soil that is on the way to becoming fertile. Follow label directions on the amount to use, but don't skip fertilizing the bed for your garlic before you plant. Fish emulsion is great for providing nitrogen, but is not nearly as beneficial as mixing fertilizer into soil before planting. Good luck! "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 10 October 2012
"A neighbor of mine raises organic garlic and had a wonderful harvest. I took her harvest home in bushel cloth garden bags to process. After peeling and washing all of them i used my Salad Shooter to grate them all down and put them in my dehydrator. After processing til totally dry we split the shredded garlic. I grind mine to powder with a hand mill as i burned up my food processor on it. I also dry and powder tomatoes, horseradish, spices, herbs and anything i can store this way. My house often is filled with the smells of the dehydrator. "
Lizabeth Osterholt on Sunday 14 October 2012
"Thanks Barbara for the encouraging info.on growing garlic. I purchased 60 heads of garlic...(Music Garlic...most to use in "various ways" during the winter months... or until the next season. The cloves are very large. Can the cloves be split at least in two to plant that way? (I live in Southern Ontario,Canada.)In winter I do not have easy access to the watering hose. I am planting around the edges of the house, there's an over hang of roof...often keeping the plants from the wet weather. Hopefully we will have enough snow to keep the plants sufficiently moist. One more thing...Does any one know or have experience with the insects that love garlic? While cleaning up the soil I found Snails, and several other Strange Insects. I wonder what insects love garlic ...I don't want to share... :) I love the idea of drying the garlic...especially making garlic powder. thanks for that idea."
Gaia on Sunday 14 October 2012
"Lizabeth, if your hands get tired from that grinding, invest in a small electric coffee mill dedicated to pulverizing dried garlic and other dried veggies. It works really well...Gaia, do not cut into the cloves before you plant them. The clove and its flat base are a growing unit. Sixty heads is a lot, considering that I get 6 or more plantable cloves from one head of 'Music'. I am less concerned about your site's water than about its compromised sun from being close to a building. Garlic does not need much water in winter, but it needs full sun from late winter onward. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 15 October 2012
"Thanks for all this info - I'm feeling hopeful that I'll finally produce decent sized cloves, so I don't have to peel so many to get enough flavour. Planting today!"
Elspeth on Monday 22 October 2012
"Thanks Barbara for the info. and your "insight on the compromised sun" for growing my garlic. I had not thought much about the sun for growing garlic. I really have to examine if any the space is good for growing. "
Gaia on Monday 22 October 2012
"Planted Oct. 8, and now they are growing - several inches tall. I live in middle Tennessee. How do I protect through the winter? I guess I thought they would not sprout until the springtime. Thanks"
Beverly on Monday 22 October 2012
"Hi Beverly I put plastic bottles without bottoms and without lids on my garlic. It gives them some protection from the cold, and keeps the squirrels away too. The top can poke out of the bottle and keep growing. In spring when it's warmer I remove the bottles."
Elspeth on Monday 22 October 2012
"Great tip, Elspeth! But it really won't hurt if the tops get nipped back by winter, which may or may not happen in middle Tennessee. Either way the garlic will be fine, but a couple of inches of mulch is still a very good idea. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 23 October 2012
"Hi, our first crop of garlic was picked and hung out to dry about a month ago. I've just peeled them to store in olive oil and found some that didn't grow into cloves they are like a small onion and they don't smell like garlic. I'm a newey in this, please help. Most of them are lovely. Cant wait to plant the next crop. Thanx, Yvonne from South Africa."
Yvonne on Sunday 6 January 2013
"Yvonne, those sound like what are called "rounds" which grow from structures called corms. Garlic that is allowed to keep its flowers develop corms as "seeds" at the top of the stalk, and mature garlic that is left in the ground a long time occasionally develops corms around the outside of the bulb. I suspect that your seed garlic included a few corms, which you planted along with the cloves (they look a lot alike).If you save the rounds and plant them this fall, they will grow full-size bulbs. Or you can just eat them. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 8 January 2013
" Can I replant garlic that I bought to cook with at the grocery store. I bought some and it is so strong it is making all my food taste like it in the fridge and the package says to keep in fridge. I don't want it to go to waste or have to throw it away "
Lisa on Saturday 16 February 2013
"Lisa, you can keep your garlic at cool room temperatures until you use it -- refrigeration is not necessary. If the tips of the cloves show green shoots, you can either plant them or eat them. Rather then toss the extras, you can peel whole cloves, put them in a heatproof jar, cover them with hot vinegar, and keep them in the fridge. Pickling the cloves will tame their flavor and make them last for months."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 18 February 2013
"I have just noticed that about 25 of my garlic bulbs just popped out of the ground and are laying sideways roots and all. Bulbs are about 3/4" diameter and were planted about 2" deep in mid October. What may have caused this? There is no sign of animal activity and I have 36" chicken wire around the entire garden. Can the popped bulbs be salvaged and be replanted, if so, how do I store the bulbs as this is still mid-winter in western penna. thanx Bob"
Bob Serfozo on Tuesday 5 March 2013
"Bob, the best think to do is to use whatever tool you must to poke holes in the soil and pop those babies back in. It is possible that freezing and thawing caused them to heave out of the soil. If the garden has no overhead protection, crows could have given the plants a helping hand. Next time plant your cloves deeper, at 3 to 4 inches. Good luck! "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 6 March 2013
"whitcg garlic is mature early, with excess nitrogen or without nitrogen pl reply soon "
mamta bhande on Thursday 11 April 2013
"I hope I am not duplicating…. But I can not see a mention of the problem I seem to have this year. We have grown garlic for years with good crops. THIS YEAR: all our garlic is growing well – considering the cold weather; everything seems to be about a month behind! But as we know nature always seems to catch up. On about 1/3 of our the green shoots seem unable to grow straight. They are almost concertinaed inside the outer (healthy looking) green shoot. It has happened with the odd plant in the past but never with so many in one at one time. Can you advice as to what is going on please? And highlight anything we may have done to caused this and if possible how to rectify. We would like to avoid the problem in the future. thanks fellow gardeners in anticipation of lots of solutions! Peta in SW France "
Peta on Thursday 11 April 2013
"I see occasional problems with fusarium basal rot, which could possibly be the problem. You can dig a sample plant and see if there seems to be fungal growth around the outside of the bulb-to-be. Long rotations with compost are the best cure. Nematodes are another possibility, but I have no experience with them. They can be carried on seed garlic. "
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 12 April 2013
"Thank you Barbara; There is no fungal infection as far as we can see and we do have a 5 year rotation plant on our plot. it is really strange We did had "hite rot" in the UK many years ago and of course could not use the same plot again for any crop from the onion family. we think on that occasion it was brought in by plant offerings for a neighbour! So of course we are extra careful now. We will keep an eye on the crop and may even burn the affected plants just in case Happy gardening Peta in France "
Peta on Saturday 13 April 2013
"Hi after one of the wettest years since we came to SW France I have been amazed are the size of our garlic ( normal purple type not "elephant") ; the bulbs are enormous and they have matured a good 4 weeks earlier than usual. Of course this is not a problem. However in the middle of one row we found lots of tiny green shoots ( where we had planted garlic cloves) emerging from what can only be described as minute garlic cloves. Very strange.- Can you explain what they are , what has happened and what do I do with them? I hate throwing things away .... Can I leave them in the ground to grow . WILL they grow? and should I then dry them as normal , ready to replant next year? "
peta in france on Tuesday 2 July 2013
"Sometimes garlic makes little corms on the outside of the bulb, which probably broke away when you pulled the plants. If replanted or allowed to grow, these little plants will produce "rounds" -- large single cloves. If those are replanted, they will produce bulbs. Of course, you can always pull the tiny plants and use them like green onions/scallions. Some people call these g'allions."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 3 July 2013
"Thank you Barbara.I will take note Just for interest the tiny corns are not on the outside of the garlic bulbs- but are clustered around each other - about 30 of them in a confirmed clump. "
peta in france on Wednesday 3 July 2013
"All I can say is....sometimes garlic does strange things. This year I have one plant that seems to be exploding from within, erupting into more than a dozen plantlets, and it seems the entire plant is involved. I'm waiting to see what it does -- perhaps make a cluster of minute cloves like yours?"
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 4 July 2013
"Gardening never ceases to amaze! I'd be interested to know what happens "
peta in france on Thursday 4 July 2013
JOAN on Wednesday 21 August 2013
"I love this site. I've been doing garlic about 4 years now. And I'm going to try a new type next year. Maybe even this fall if I can find some before the end of this month. My question is this. A friend of mine wants to plant garlic and because the spot he has for a garden is full of weeds, he said he was going to spread some weed killer on before he plants.I don't think he should. Maybe advise from someone else would help. Any helpful advise? Thanks "
Sandra Kassa on Monday 14 October 2013
"Sandra, of course I agree with you, and the type of herbicide you "spread" (active ingredient Trifluralin) is not labeled for use on garlic. It will not kill existing weeds, only prevent new ones from sprouting, which can be accomplished with mulch. Then again, the only gardens we can control are our own. "
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 17 October 2013
"This will be my third year growing garlic with any degree of confidence. It has been very interesting. My 2011 crop of Music did very well from a fall planting but was very hot raw. My fall planting for 2012 of several varieties all failed probably due to a very long cold and oscillating spring when my garden didn't even thaw here in Minneapolis until mid to late May; so my garlic was spring planted at the end of May; some types did very well, some didn't. Music and 'Mexican Purple' (a creole at any rate) both produced 2" bulbs with nice large cloves, but softnecks produced only a few rounds. The softnecks went down about the end of June; the rest were harvested the end of July and cured out nicely anyway. The Music was much milder last summer. I put out quite a variety this fall. We will see what we will see, I guess. I found an heirloom variety escaped from a long deceased relative's garden growing feral in my sister's lawn and flower beds. It has maintained itself for decades now with no care; so it should be very hardy. Although the bulbs were tiny, on the order of barely an inch they all had 7 or 8 tiny cloves inside as well a full scapes of bulbils. I have a 'patch' of both cloves and bulbils of those planted just to see what happens. Hopefully more care and careful fertilization will increase bulb size. They have proven to be able to take care of themselves, but will they size up enough to cook with? that is the question. Beyond being a hardneck, that is about all I know about them at this time, beyond probably having been in that part of the family for perhaps something like at least a century. "
hawkeye on Wednesday 27 November 2013
"I didn't get my garlic planted this fall. Will the bulbs last until spring? "
Carleen Soule on Thursday 19 December 2013
"Maybe. It doesn't hurt to try. If they were organic, you can certainly cook with the cloves of those that start to dry out or soften. You can also put a part of them under refrigeration to see if that will hold them long enough to eventually plant, bearing in mind that they will sprout almost immediately when taken out if not before. Always pick among the firmest for trying the refrigeration and try to avoid storing them with any fruits or vegetables that give off ethylene. The smallest will often keep better than the biggest ones, too. You will have better luck with the softnecks probably than the hardnecks, although among the hardnecks some of the porcelains may do better than other types of hardnecks. It also depends on how long you have been holding them, too. I brought in some lates myself to hold against possibly needing to replant some next spring. I tried to pick more northern nurseries whose bulbs might have matured later in the season for more latitude, but I do not expect all of those to last long enough, maybe not any... It will be a gamble, but better than no chance at all for some varieties that will not be available next spring. Even then spring planting what is available then is better than no garlic."
hawkeye on Sunday 29 December 2013
"All the shoots of my garlic bulbs and I planted in November have just been nipped off by something above the ground. They not been eaten, just nipped off and left lying on the soil. Do you know what caused it and have I now lost the garlic crop for this year?"
Sid on Thursday 2 January 2014
"Sounds like cutworms. Garlic growing from inside the shoot may recover, but ultimate bulb size will certainly be reduced."
hawkeye on Friday 3 January 2014
"Sid, your garlic will be fine. In cold winter climates the little plants lose their tops every year, but keep growing below ground. If the plants are heavily mulched you may want to pull the material back to expose the ground to winter birds that will eat cutworms. Rabbits are suspects, too, especially if the shoots were cut off an an angle. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 18 January 2014
"I don't have a comment but rather a question which I hope you can explain. Being growing garlic for years with great success. What are the small cloves that are attached to but seem to be growing outside the main bulb. What causes this to happen and can this cloves be used? Thank you, any insight will be helpful."
Michael Fontana on Monday 11 May 2015
"Michael, those are often called corms, and I would describe them as super-cloves from a reproductive point of view. The corm wrappers are extra thick, and the corms are designed to pull away from the main head. Garlic wants to live, and corms are a secondary reproductive strategy. If the main head rots, the corms would probably survive."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 14 May 2015
"The problem was obviously rabbits. The vegetable patch was enclosed by wire and there has been no problem this year. "
Sid Cass on Thursday 14 May 2015
"Sid, Your problem actually sounds more like cutworms. Rabbits would have eaten the cutoff portions, cutworms never do. Cutworm problems vary from year to year, but are always worse on new beds that were sod or are adjacent to sod. There are different types of cutworms, some of which cut off right at the soil level and other climb up the stalk a bit. All of them are nocturnal and very often spend the day burrowed just into the soil at the base of their latest victims. They are moth larvae and BT works on them very well. You may also have rabbit problems; so the wire fencing is probably not wasted. If you see rabbits, you will very likely have some issues in your garden. My nemesis are the squirrels who love my tomatoes and winter squashes. My air rifle, they don't love quite so much. "
hawkeye on Thursday 14 May 2015
"Home base were giving away all their seed garlic cloves so I garbed some but now I'm not sure if it's too late in the year to put them in and if I wait till next year will they have gone bad? Can I plant them out now for a late crop or will they keep? "
Elle on Tuesday 23 June 2015
"Cloves you would get this time of year are from last year's crop, and if planted on schedule, in October, would now be forming new bulbs. But garlic is a survivor, and you have nothing to lose by planting them in moist soil. They may grow for a while, then go dormant and come back in the fall."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 24 June 2015
"Go ahead and plant them. If they are not all dried out and shriveled up, they should grow, but will likely not bulb up much any more this year. I have a very late bed,put in a couple of weeks ago that is all up now to about 4 inches that were plump cloves salvaged from bulbs where most of the other cloves had all shriveled up and dried up. For me that is an experiment. Be sure to only plant plump cloves. One year I planted at the end of May and still got decent bulbs in August. That was Music which is amazing in general, but that would be too much to expect now almost a month later. What you have almost certainly not hold until planting time next fall; so if you have the space, you have nothing to lose by putting them out now. "
hawkeye on Wednesday 24 June 2015
"Re: Sandra's comment on her neighbors plan to use Weed Killer: Reminded me to ask if there is a particular fertilizer for garlic? I use fish emulsion as well as organic vegetable fertilizer for everything in my garden. I would like to try my luck with garlic this year. Lots of good reads here, thanks everyone."
gaia on Wednesday 24 June 2015
"Garlic needs food for two entirely different seasons. First a good bulb food for winter survival and root growth, but secondly you need to provide additional nitrogen for active growth in the spring so you get the strong tops needed to build your bulbs. As important is a well prepared bed to plant in when fall comes. Special care for drainage with elevation if at all necessary, but also additional organic matter, good compost, etc. in addition to the fall bulb fertilizer. In the spring as soon as growth starts begin top dressing. About every other week, I use Milorganite, which I have never had burn anything but still provides nitrogen. The more robust your garlic tops in general the bigger your eventual bulbs will be. But stop fertilizing a good month or so ahead of harvest to give the plants time to actually mature and do their bulb building."
hawkeye on Wednesday 24 June 2015
"Hawkeye, thanks for the info. well appreciated! I will be using that guidance for planting in Autumn."
Gaia on Thursday 25 June 2015
"To Plant only Large cloves and Garlic powder advice is very useful. "
Amit Tarali on Friday 7 August 2015
"Hello, thanks for the info on garlic growing. My question is, is there a way one can make garlic cloves to sprout quickly like one month instead of two. I would like to plant garlic on a large scale but i am afraid of planting garlic then it takes forever to sprout. How can i go about this.?"
Wilson Muema on Wednesday 19 August 2015
"Wilson, where are you located? Here in Minnesota, I treat my fall planted garlic like I do my tulips. I put them in the ground in the fall and don't expect to see them until spring. Last year a couple of varieties sprouted right away, but then went dormant with cold weather to resume once spring thaw got going. You can probably get a very quick sprout by planting in the early spring provided you get a good long refrigeration on the bulbs before hand. Personally I save spring planting as a fall back against faiure of my fall planting. "
hawkeye on Wednesday 19 August 2015
"Unless garlic is ready to break dormancy there is little you can do. Refrigerating the planting stock for a couple of weeks might encourage them, but that might not be a good idea unless you live where winters are mild. In cold winter climates, encouraging too much fall growth uses up limited food resources in the clove, and may increase risk of winter injury."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 19 August 2015
"Barbara, I did not and do not recommend the refrigeration treatment for fall planting. If I was unclear about that, then this clears it up I hope: the refrigeration treatment is only for spring planted cloves and is meant to get them going quickly in place of vernalization in the ground from a fall planting. I have had some pretty quick response from cloves planted in the spring with no cold treatment though. And some of my fallplanted cloves (mid October) also came right up and then went dormant with freeze up only to start growing again in the spring almost where they left off the previous fall. My most dependable hardnecks don't do that, though. Like tulips they don't put in a showing until the following spring. Right now I have a small experimental bed of cloves that were never cold treated and were stored at room temperature planted in June that came right up. It does not look like they will send out scapes. What I am hoping for is a reversion to large rounds. They came out of a set of small bulbs where most of the cloves had dried up, but there were a few that were still fully plump. Those I planted and got a 100% stand. The jury is definitely still out on what they will end up producing. There are all sorts of things that can happen to garlic, mostly depending on how particular varieties react to particular areas. Still - on ground with decent drainage and with a bit of an elevated bed, garlic is about as easy to grow as any of our vegetables. I even have a feral that had been taking care of itself in zone 4 for close to 30 years since it was last cultivated. I am now in year two getting some passable but still small bulb size. Garlic is not all that hard to grow. "
hawkeye on Wednesday 19 August 2015
"can you use plasti mulch for beter result"
tushar jagtap on Tuesday 2 February 2016
"Black plastic mulch will warm the soil and prevent weeds, but garlic makes so much of its growth in cold weather that neither would be a benefit. An organic winter mulch gives you more flexibility, too. You can use more or less, depending on the weather, and it will passively improve the soil. Many organic gardeners avoid plastics when they can."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 2 February 2016
"Thanks for the great information. 2 questions: 1- how does organic winter mulch differ from summer mulch? 2- somewhere in the above blog it is mentioned to stop feeding one month before harvesting. How do I know when I'm one month before harvest? Actually, when do I know when to harvest? Thanks,"
Patricia Sweigert on Monday 24 October 2016
"Hi there, just wondering how long before planting the garlic cloves do you separate them from the garlic head? Dawn"
Dawn Roberts on Friday 16 November 2018
"Dawn, there is no wait time needed, so you can separate cloves and plant them on the same day. Should there be a delay, separated cloves are usually patient about being planted. The one thing to watch is the condition of the basal plates at the bottom of the cloves. The new roots grow from the edges, and damaged or dried out cloves can fail to grow if those cells are injured. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 20 November 2018

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