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svalli July 23, 2018 03:52 AM

Results from my bulbil plantings
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I have now harvested almost all the rounds, which were grown from bulbils. I planted some into pots last fall and buried those to the raised bed soil and covered with piece of foam insulation. When the ground had thawed I dug the pots up and let the shoots emerge outdoors.

Some bulbils were planted into pots this spring and kept in the greenhouse in the beginning. Later I moved those outside, when the greenhouse was getting too warm. Those grew the shoots sooner than the ones planted during fall.

What I noticed was that the fall planted bulbils produced bigger rounds. Watering and fertilizing for these was the same, but the potting soil was different. I'm not sure what caused this size difference, but this makes me wonder, if I should keep on planting even the tiniest bulbils already at fall time.

An exception to the size of fall planted was with one rocambole, which had so huge bulbils that I planted some into Rootrainer cells in the spring and transplanted to the field same time as some spring planted garlic. These field grown produced the biggest rounds and one started even growing a scape. However the ones which grew in containers whole time produced bigger rounds in the container, which was plated during fall. Some of the spring planted and container grown stayed same size as the original bulbils.
This variety is the most common with home gardeners in Finland, but I have not grown it earlier and finally got a bag of huge bulbils late last fall. It goes by name Alexandra and may be same or similar as Red Russian. Now I have enough large rounds to plant those directly to the field this fall and see next year how it grows compared to the purple stripe and marbled purple stripe, which are most of my hardneck varieties.


PhilaGardener July 23, 2018 07:12 AM

Very nice looking rounds!

PureHarvest July 23, 2018 09:34 AM

Wow the Alexandria are huge!
Nice job Sari.

bower July 23, 2018 09:37 PM

Wow you should get nice bulbs from those Alexandra rounds! :)
I have taken up the bulbils that I planted in pots in the greenhouse in November, but the outdoor ones aren't ready yet. They came up quite late, and we did have snow in June. The survivorship outdoors wasn't good at all this winter, so I was really glad I kept some in the greenhouse.

I need to fix my browser so I can post a picture. Tallinn rounds are very large, and Siberian and Ziemiai also. :yes: All of them increased in size quite a lot - even the Early Purple which were quite small made some nice rounds. Will be interested to compare the outdoor ones.

My scapes are coming out now, and I'm looking forward to leave some on the plants and harvest them later all together to grow some better bulbils.:D

IronPete July 24, 2018 02:59 PM

Very interesting! I am newish to garlic growing. I bought some cloves a year ago locally that were organic. Hardneck I think. They produced flowers so this spring I planted the bulbils into pots where they are now growing on the deck. I plan to harvest them in late August and dry them a bit and then plant them back into a container outside for the winter. I understand they need to live through a frost in order to segment into cloves. Any suggestions on how I might do this successfully will be appreciated. Thanks! Pete :)

bower July 24, 2018 07:27 PM

IronPete, To plant bulbils or rounds outdoors in a container for the winter, the container needs to have really good drainage for starters. I know our climates are really different although we are geographically close, but I will say that I had containers I thought were well drained, but under certain conditions we did have a thaw and rain didn't run off because the soil was still frozen, then the water refroze as ice on the surface. This happened a couple years ago in some larger tubs I had planted, and the survivorship was really poor. The survival was better in a large but shallower flat, maybe because the side of it is broken so water runs off really easily, or maybe because there wasn't such a large volume of frozen soil, that it thawed sufficiently to drain? But even in this container the weather this past winter was too extreme - we had repeated heavy rain followed by freeze, then more heavy rain, repeat freeze, etc. We always get some of that but this time it was more severe.
The second thing that causes losses is extreme cold when the ground is not protected by heavy mulch or snow. Bulbils and rounds are more susceptible, maybe because they are smaller and they aren't planted as deep as a large clove. But even mature cloves can be killed if the cold is severe and not mulched or snow covered. Leaves or kelp make good mulches.
I am looking for new techniques or strategies to improve the survivorship of bulbils and rounds whether in containers or in the ground. In ground and raised bed is a safer place than a container, from a drainage standpoint. There may be other issues though, like predation by wireworms. I'm not sure why the survival of my last crop of rounds in the ground was only about 70%, whether the mulch was not good enough, wireworms et some, or what. :?!?:
I might try hilling the soil over them, then mulch, and then smooth it out in spring so they're not too deep. :?!?: There has to be a better hedge against wierd winter weather.

Father'sDaughter July 25, 2018 12:45 AM

I grow in raised beds with shredded oak leaves for winter mulch. What worked for me with this past year was cutting off the bottom 3" of some 4"x4"x6" deep pots, burying them 2" into my beds and planting the bulbils inside them the same time I planted garlic cloves. I planted 27 bulbils and harvested 26 small rounds which will be planted the same way this fall.

IronPete July 27, 2018 09:44 PM

Hey Bower, thanks for the heads up! I get the impression that they won't make it in our crazy weather. I may get my friend to plant them in his garden for the winter instead. If I do when does one harvest them? First thing in the spring or is August the time? Pete :)
PS: wireworm is quite a plague around here apparently. All the potato farmers are planting musttard fields and then plowing them under as that apparently kills the wireworm as they begin to break down. In the meantime we have these enormous and incredibly beautiful yellow fields all over the island! Reminds me of the Quapelle Valley in Saskatchewan! PK

bower July 27, 2018 10:12 PM

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Hey Pete. I wouldn't go so far that they won't survive - but only that you may lose some if the winter is too wierd. I think the idea of burying pots in the ground is a good one. But here's a pic of the flat I've been using for about 5 years now, and most years the survival has been quite good whether I sowed thickly or spaced carefully or whichever. The flat is an old DFO fish tray - it's about 2 1/2 feet long I think and 2 feet wide, about a foot deep. I mulch with kelp most of the time - just a heap of the raw stuff from the beach.

The survivors here are the bulbils I planted out in the fall same time as the garlic. They're getting close to ready in spite of the late start to spring here. The lower leaf is starting to yellow, and they're starting to flop down. My porcelain scapes were just ready to harvest yesterday, and bulbils are usually ready in a week or two from now, maybe ten days before the garlic is ready to harvest.
Wireworms are a curse!!! :shock: I need to get some mustard seed too. :yes:
I hear that radishes make a good trap crop too, but the beasts have such a long life cycle (6 years or something!) it can take a lot of work just to get the population down to manageable if they're bad. I know they love potatoes...

bower July 28, 2018 08:42 PM

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So here are the pics of all the rounds which I grew in large pots in the greenhouse. Planted late fall, they were up by February, and in late spring I moved them outdoors to continue growing - they were drying down already when the outdoor ones were just getting started.
The wire rack is about one inch square.

bower July 28, 2018 09:13 PM

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When I went out this evening I saw that the outdoor rounds were mostly flopping down, so I decided to dig them up and compare size with the ones grown in pots in the greenhouse.
There seem to be differences that depend on the variety.
Keeping in mind that I chose 8 or 9 of the largest bulbils from these varieties, which I planted in the greenhouse just in case of a bad winter. So the outdoor survivors came from bulbils that were a little bit smaller.
There is not a lot of size difference for Tallinn, which also had the best survivorship through the awful winter conditions - close to 50 %. (10/24). The rows had shifted quite a bit and one of them was turned partly upsidedown so there was a lot of disturbance from the flooding freezing and thawing, even in spite of a thick kelp mulch. The outdoor rounds are as big as the indoor ones or a little bigger.

These are really enormous compared to porcelain rounds, and I can't wait to see them grown up into garlic. :D
Siberian is a very interesting result - the outdoor survivor (only one!) is much larger than the ones grown in the greenhouse. :surprised: This one must have been growing like mad during our June winter, so really vigorous even in the cold, but less than 5% survival rate perhaps due to the rain, freezing, rain, freezing, more rain....

Lyubasha and Ziemiai don't show a significant size difference between greenhouse and outdoors, keeping in mind that the outdoor ones were smaller to begin with. Ziemiai survival of the floods was 8%; Lyubasha had lower survival in both greenhouse and outside.

svalli July 30, 2018 03:33 AM

Looks good bower! Some of those may grow to divided bulbs, if planted this fall.

If you want more varieties, I have bulbils for some new varieties, which I purchased last fall. I lifted the garlic already, but left the scapes on and the bulbils will still grow a bit and mature, while the garlic is drying.


bower July 30, 2018 09:17 AM

Yes, I'm really excited about growing out these rounds! :D I may keep some of each in the greenhouse as well, just to compare the size and survival, and in case of another flukey wet winter.

I would love to swap with you again Sari. :) I was planning to send you some bulbils anyway because I'm sure I will get bigger ones by harvesting the way you do, while last year I only had a few kinds of bulbils from cut scapes....

I think your technique for bulbils is exactly right for our short season and climate. I know that in places with longer and dryer seasons they leave them in the field until the bulbils are fully mature. Several of my varieties came from bulbils grown at my friend's farm this way - but by the time of harvest, bulbils were already sprouted because at that time it is already fall here and cool and damp. I had the same problem of sprouting when I put cut scapes in water. So lifting the whole plant at harvest time to allow them to finish in a dry environment is the best plan for us. :yes:
I've been thinking that leaves may be a better mulch for outdoor bulbils than the kelp. I think leaves are a better protection from torrential rain if that occurs again. And maybe I will try planting rounds in low ridges inside the raised bed too, just to provide extra drainage.
I'm really loving growing up new varieties from bulbils, and learning so much in the process... it's exciting. :D

svalli July 27, 2019 07:03 AM

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I have now harvested the rounds grown from the small rounds grown from bulbils last year. The small ones grew to such size, that next year those will very likely produce divided bulbs. I am very happy, since I am one step closer to get these varieties growing on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.


bower July 27, 2019 09:34 AM

They look good Sari! :) Interesting that they produced a larger round instead of dividing. Did you plant fall or spring? Eventually I would like to understand exactly what method to use to get the result you desire when growing up, and shorten the time to full size bulbs.

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