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Planting Garlic

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Has anyone had luck planting garlic at home? I've tried using the cloves from the shop bought ones once they start growing that green tip, and had some success, but they end up being just a single fat clove of garlic for the bulb, then the leaves wilt. What's the way to grow they multi-clove bulbs? Or am I just being impatient and picking them too early?

Would love to hear any stories from other garlicky gardeners :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #2 of 9
Garlic is one of the simplest things to grow, DC. Here is the general proceedure. Then we can talk about your specifics.

First, most people fall plant garlic. Depending on your specific conditions, it might not be too late. I'm not sure if it's late fall by you, or already winter? If you can still work the ground, you're ok. All the cloves need is enough time to put down a root structure. Then they'll go dormant over-winter. I've planted them here as late as January, and they've still grown. Sometimes conditions let them actuall sprout before winter sets in, and the leaves get frost bitten on their tips. This is not a problem, and doesn't affect later growth.

Garlic is a heavy feeder, so prep the ground well. I put down a good base of compost, then amend further with bone meal, dried blood, and wood ashes at the rate of 1 cup each per ten row feet. This is turned in well. Long about May (roughly halfway into the growing season) I sidedress with the same amendments.

Keep the bed well weeded. Garlic doesn't like competition. And keep it watered until about a month before harvest, at which time, stop watering.

Depending on variety, the maturation times for garlic is 120-150 days. Bulbling, itself, takes place during the last month of that growth.

Sometimes, due to growing conditions, the plant produces a single, relatively small, undifferentiated bulb. This is called a "rounder." It is perfectly edible. Or you can cure it like a regular head and replant it. The following year you'll get a large, differentiated head.

If you continue using store-bought garlic I would not wait until it sprouted. Buy some specificly to plant. Once you get garlic going it's a self-sustaining crop. But, frankly, I would look into buying some of the so-called gourmet garlics and try growing them.

BTW, while the differentiated bulb is the main goal, don't forget the other edible parts of garlic. The young plants---green garlic---can be used just like scallions. And the hardneck varieties put out scapes, which are a culinary treat.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you KY for your reply, I reckon I'm ready to get planting. It's the first day of winter today, had a frost overnight, but the ground is still workable so it should be fine to plant still. I've got a small plot that I've been resting and added some good mature compost soil to, but I'll add more food into it as per your suggestions.

I did get impatient with my last crop I think - not knowing what I was doing basically :) The rounder cloves were delicious - such a different flavour from the store bought. I'll check out the nursery and see if they have any varietals, I may have to look online for a supplier, we're kind of out in the boondocks here.

I'm looking forward to giving it a good try (and a patient try!!) this time - the store bought stuff is often disappointing and as for the chopped garlic in jars....well...its handy in an emergency but no real substitute. Thanks again.
DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 9
DC Sunshine,

Where are you located in Australia? You generally want to plant garlic a good two months before your average killing frost date. Meaning the date when there is a 50% chance of a killing freeze.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey Mudbug,

I'm in Tasmania, about as far south as you can get here. We've already had nights of -8 deg C (dunno what that is in deg F) and it looks like getting colder - so I reckon I've prob missed it for this year. But I'll revisit the thread early enough next year to get it in at the right time.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #6 of 9
KYH,
what a great explanation! I knew to plant garlic in the fall but my past trials were mediocre at best but at least I enjoyed using the leaves.
I am definitely planting garlic this coming fall after reading this...

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #7 of 9
I had no joy as well so would also like to know
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
French-Tarn,
If you look at KYH's message in this thread, that gives a really good explanation.

Good Luck!

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #9 of 9
I don't have any success either but only because my dogs dig them up. ;)
Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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