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bower July 24, 2016 09:24 PM

harvesting rounds early, for big rounds?
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So... I did something impulsive today. I had a couple of patches of garlic rounds growing here and there in the garden. Several patches of Persian Star, I had a lot of them last year. I noticed that some of the smaller ones were starting to die down, and so I dug a few... and then I dug up the whole patch.

Aside from being too hot to do anything sensible, my reasoning was that these looked like good sized rounds at this stage, which would produce a full sized bulb next year. I thought if I leave them longer, they will likely form a bunch of small cloves, and those won't get me a full sized Persian Star. Is this reasonable? :?!?: Is there a reason not to do this, is mostly what I'm wondering. As I have more of these "extra" rounds still in the garden. Is there any harm of harvesting early that would affect the 'seed' quality?

You can see these Persian Stars are nice size rounds, and would surely make a full sized bulb next year. Maybe one or two of them I could feel some bumps, cloves already forming, but the rest are... still round.

bower July 24, 2016 09:39 PM

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There's another patch I dug today, it was a garlic that came to me as rounds with no name from the Bonavista Social Club several years ago. They've been living in the garden and weren't dug several years in a row because they died down early and vanished, only to reappear in the spring. This year I moved them to a different location and gave some attention but they are still pretty small. The greens are smaller than a pencil on all of these that I dug. Some of these had fallen over and I suspected they were about to do that disappearing act again, so I dug them up too.
They had formed a 'nest' of rounds with 4-5 small stalks.
The wrappers on these are not too nice, and some yellowing near the roots on one of them, but the rounds are quite a size. Concerns about quality, might stop me from replanting these. Any thoughts about the health of the rounds would be much appreciated.

Father'sDaughter July 24, 2016 10:52 PM

I'm no expert, but I'd say you're fine with the early harvest. The only reason to delay garlic harvesting is to give them time to get larger. Your Persian Star rounds look to be a good size despite a slightly early harvest. Not sure if I would replant the ones that feel like they've started dividing, I think I'd probably just store and them up.

As for the no name variety, if it were me I'd let them cure and see how they look come planting time. The roots look nice and healthy and well attached.

bower July 24, 2016 10:58 PM

Thanks, FD. Good idea to cure and then inspect. :yes: Hopefully I can get the black wrapper off them after they cured a bit, and get a really good look.

I seem to remember finding yellow on bought garlic a time ago, and they were not good eatin. So although I don't know what it is, I am a bit concerned to see the yellow.

zipcode July 25, 2016 10:32 AM

Maybe there's something I don't know about your particular type of garlic, but the garlics I've grown always start making the cloves since small. The earlier you pick them, the smaller the cloves are, but the number is the same. The only possible reason to pick early for me is disease (which is a very common problem in wet years, they rot real fast).

Father'sDaughter July 25, 2016 11:52 AM

I'm assuming Bower is developing new seeds stock from bulbils.

If you're starting garlic from bulbils vs cloves, it can take a couple of years before they actually start dividing so all you get are rounds. The rounds are harvested and re-planted each year until you get a regular multi-clove head.

bower July 25, 2016 02:30 PM

Yes that's right. The Persian Star rounds I planted in the fall were from bulbils the previous year. So I guess that makes these year three. I'm going to take a close look though because for sure one or two of them have the clove 'bumps' already.
Zipcode makes a good point, I think some varieties may divide more readily than others, too.
And my farm friend pointed out, some varieties are also prone to produce "doubles' in the field ie more than one stalk, maybe there was a split internally we couldn't see or they are prone to divide while growing. :?!?: I have a few of these this year too...

My impression is that the purple stripes like Persian Star and Chesnok Red have more cloves per bulb than a porcelain, so those cloves can be quite small. For example last year my Chesnok shrunk to very tiny things but had all their fully wrapped tiny cloves - you could never hope to get a full size bulb from such little ones.
The rounds that I dug were the smaller ones I planted, and the tops are less than pencil thick. I can only expect that the cloves would be very tiny if they formed. So my best chance to get full size next year, is if the rounds I harvested early don't divide (or aren't already divided inside).

The only garlic I've grown to full size from bulbils are the Music now in year four. Last year was quite a bad year for my crop, but instead of making the usual four but smaller cloves, the Music made only two cloves apiece but they were a nice size clove. The plants from them are as big as any of the commercial size seed stock I got from the farm last year, so it looks like they are reaching full size at year four. 8-) Not as many as I expected but, they are from nothing so that's got to be good. :D

bower July 25, 2016 03:11 PM

Well... very interesting.
Zipcode is right that most of the Persian Star have already divided and are not rounds. After groping my way through them all, I measured the tops - only the dozen with greens 2mm wide or less are rounds.
It also seems that there are fewer cloves than a regular size bulb of Persian Star - about half the number. So it looks like they're doing as the Music did last year.
So I will leave the rest of them to mature as big a cloves as they can. No worries since I still have lots and indeed the bigger ones are the ones I left. These will do as early snacks. :cute:

The opposite is true of the Bonavista Social Club garlic that were growing as multiple shoots in a 'nest'. Even the largest ones are all rounds with no divisions.

So now I'm wondering if this is by variety, or if it's because of growing multiples together. Maybe I'll dig up the "doubles" from my main garlic patch and see (or feel, rather, since I obviously can't see very well!) whether they are rounds or cloves.

Do crazy things, learn crazy things. :dizzy::twisted:

henry July 25, 2016 03:46 PM

If you had to cut a scape off them they will have divided if not they will be rounds. Those hardnecks that do not form a scape are always rounds.

Nematode July 25, 2016 05:33 PM


Originally Posted by henry (Post 581267)
If you had to cut a scape off them they will have divided if not they will be rounds.

Thats a nice tidbit Henry.

bower July 25, 2016 06:34 PM

Thanks, Henry! That'll make it easy. :D:?:

Father'sDaughter July 25, 2016 06:47 PM


Originally Posted by henry (Post 581267)
If you had to cut a scape off them they will have divided if not they will be rounds.

I learned something new today! Thanks.

henry July 25, 2016 06:53 PM

I should have said if they did not form a scape they will be rounds.


Originally Posted by Father'sDaughter (Post 581332)
I learned something new today! Thanks.

bower July 29, 2017 08:22 PM

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The scape or not for bulb or round came in handy again, since I missed a few of those small bulbs of Persian Star which came again this year... I left them to do their thing, hoping for some rounds, and I got some nice ones. :D One bulb which was probably in the worst situation (less nutrients and more competition) didn't produce any scapes at all, it was all rounds, and much larger than the cloves the year before. A couple of others produced a mix of scaping stalks and rounds. Only one had all scapes, which I've left in the ground for a few more weeks although I doubt they'll be any size, so close together. The others I pulled today before a big rain tomorrow.:)

Father'sDaughter July 29, 2017 10:17 PM

Those look great, Bower! A few even look like they wanted to separate this year. Hopefully next year your be pulling up full heads.

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