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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Garlic growing question

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Garlic growing question Empty Garlic growing question

Post  kiev123 7/3/2011, 4:14 pm

Hi everyone. If anyone has some experience growing garlic....

I planted my elephant garlic and a few regular garlic last fall. Attached is a picture of what the plants look like now. I harvested one of each today and elephant garlic seemed kinda small. Should I cut down the scones and let the leaves turn more brown or just let it be?

Thanks! http://www.flickr.com/photos/50622160@N00/5898602606/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50622160@N00/5898039793/


Last edited by kiev123 on 7/3/2011, 4:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  camprn 7/3/2011, 4:18 pm

Sorry, the photo is missing.
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Post  pattipan 7/3/2011, 11:57 pm

kiev123 wrote:Hi everyone. If anyone has some experience growing garlic....

I planted my elephant garlic and a few regular garlic last fall. Attached is a picture of what the plants look like now. I harvested one of each today and elephant garlic seemed kinda small. Should I cut down the scones and let the leaves turn more brown or just let it be?

Thanks! http://www.flickr.com/photos/50622160@N00/5898602606/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50622160@N00/5898039793/

Kiev,
Your garlic looks more than ready to harvest to me. I pulled mine two weeks ago and I am in the same Zone 6 as you. How many did you plant? I can't tell if it's weeds or something else in the box with your garlic, but competition from these other plants could account for the smallish bulbs. Garlic doesn't like competition. Also the flower stem (called a scape on hardneck garlic) should be removed BEFORE it blooms, as this will also allow the plant to concentrate its energy on growing a bigger bulb. I am not 100% sure about elephant garlic, but I would assume the same would apply to them.

One other tip about the two bulbs you harvested already. I noticed they look very fresh and very clean. Garlic needs to be cured if you want it to have any sort of storage life. Once you pull it, shake off the dirt (gently, don't damage the skins doing this) and then put it in a dry place out of the sun to cure for about two weeks. Just this Saturday I trimmed the roots and removed any excess dirt from mine. The outer skins were nice and dry so this was easy to do. I checked the inside of one of them to see if they were ready for storage, but it still seemed like there was too much moisture inside, so I am giving them a few more days to cure.

I hope that helps. I'd say harvest it, cure it, eat it and then plant more this Fall! I tend to take what I've learned and try for better next year. Smile

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 7/4/2011, 1:27 am

Kiev, Elephant garlic is really more closely related to leeks than to true garlics. For instance, its "scapes" will bloom with real (and attractive) flowers that can set seed (like chives). True garlics on the other hand very, VERY rarely produce flowers or set seed. Instead, the hardneck garlic varieties send up scapes, which produce tiny cloves of garlic, called bulbils which can be planted and will grow into tiny single-chambered bulbs; and, if left in place, the bulbil will produce regular chambered garlics the next year, with the cloves we all know and love. Another difference between elephant garlic and true garlics is, in addition to the large mild cloves, the elephant garlic will produce funny little hard-skinned "cloves" from filaments extended under the main head. Another way it has of reproducing. I've not found these junior cloves of much use--not large or tasty enough to cook with, and a pain if left in the garden where they'll sprout into unwanted baby elephant garlics. Elephant garlic is impressive when well grown and fun to enter in the county fair, but to my mind, it's not great tasting enough to be a good use of garden space. Gimme the real stuff! Nonna
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Post  kiev123 7/4/2011, 3:05 pm

Ok, so from the replies I gather the garlic is ready for harvest. I am thinking of leaving the one flower to see what happens. If I leave it, will it produce more garlic next year?

Oh and I did find the clove you mentioned http://www.flickr.com/photos/50622160@N00/5901642269/
I just left it in the ground thinking that's for next year.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 7/4/2011, 5:28 pm

Yep, Kiev, that's the elephant garlic's sneaky attempt to get ahead of the seed-producing competition. Let us know if it sprouts and what happens after that. BTW, I like to let some elephant garlics send up their flower stalks, then cut them for flower arrangements. Yes, the scent is "an aquired taste," but they are big and beautiful. Grow on, Nonna
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