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Old June 28, 2019   #1
bower
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Default growing up garlic rounds/bulbils in greenhouse

Funny how you often end up learning something by accident. Such is the tale of the garlic rounds and bulbils which I didn't plant until late January 2019 in the greenhouse. I ran out of space outdoors and decided to use the big tomato containers to grow the remaining rounds as well as bulbils inside. They were up in mid March, grew quickly and flopped over before it was even a semblance of spring outside, so I decided to keep them in the greenhouse until ready to harvest. I have already removed the scapes that formed, and now getting anxious about watering too much, I dug a few small ones to check and decided to take up all that had three leaves or less.


I was delighted to find that some smaller rounds had produced a large round instead of a bulb with small cloves. This may be due to the late planting, maybe conditions in the greenhouse are a factor too, and variety - I will compare the stats when all are harvested.



Anyway, take a look at the beautiful honkin rounds from Early Purple and Germidour. The largest ones are about an inch tall, so they are as big as many a planted clove. It's a great shortcut to sizing up next season.
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Old June 28, 2019   #2
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Here is a pic of Early Purple, Germidour, Ziemiai from left to right in the outdoor bed. It was a very harsh trial - worst of winter conditions for garlic with early freezing in November, wet storms and freezing, extreme cold with little or no snow cover. And no mulch to be had this year. And spring so late, leaves were still opening on the trees on the summer solstice.

Early Purple and Germidour were the first of the rounds to be up, not long after the garlic from cloves in the other row, and scored 6/7 and 5/6 survival. Tips of Germidour were red when they came through the ground, but tenaciously they have managed to grow.
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Old June 28, 2019   #3
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Here's a pic of the garlic in the greenhouse before harvest. I don't know why they flopped over but I'd like to figure it out so I could grow in there without making them look so sad.

Those that formed scapes did stand up a bit - Alexandra in the second tub and Early Purple at the back, have mostly made scapes/bulbs as well as the few rounds. Those will be dug later.
Anyway suffice to say that all of my garlic environments are extreme this year.

Alexandra rounds from bulbils on the left, a few from rounds on the right.
Bulbs will be a few weeks from now.
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Old June 29, 2019   #4
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Those rounds are all nice!
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Old June 29, 2019   #5
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Yeah the rounds from bulbils are also a very good size, especially certain varieties. Some varieties naturally produce a smaller round, but the real question is, how many cloves will those rounds produce, because if the cloves are many and small it can take a long time to size up your bulb. The Early Purple rounds were quite small but in the greenhouse they produced surprisingly big stalks and of course these lovely rounds as well as the bulbs I haven't dug yet. Kolkja Red Russian is another with beautiful big rounds from bulbils, and a couple of small bulbs - one even produced a scape. The half dozen largest are still waiting to be dug. Messidor also produced really big plants which are still green, and I'm guessing they will be mostly divided bulbs, from bulbils.

Then you have varieties which naturally produce smaller rounds. Kolkja Purple I'm guessing is a purple stripe, so like Chesnok it would have many small cloves next year. But maybe I can use the late planting in the greenhouse trick, and fool them into making bigger rounds? Definitely worth a try.
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File Type: jpg Kol-glazer-rounds.JPG (234.5 KB, 74 views)
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Old June 29, 2019   #6
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Another lesson from this season: still don't understand the survival issues in the 'rounds' generation. I always have some losses, even with varieties that are already well adapted to site. My thought has been that it is due to their smaller size, but that theory was blown away this year. The Tallinn rounds from last year were really enormous. Certainly as large as my biggest porcelain cloves. So I was really surprised to see only six of seventeen surviving. It was not the location either, as some were in the back bed with the porcelains and failed there too. The survivors are looking fine and large... what made the difference? Is there gene expression at that stage, and selection for survival of those awful winter conditions? I'm just not sure.
Last year the Siberian produced a much larger round outdoors than in the greenhouse, which is why I impulsively planted all the Siberian rounds outside and since I was out of space, decided to put Alexandra rounds and bulbils both in the greenhouse. Sadly not one Siberian survived! And they were really large rounds as well.
So my size hypothesis is completely blown.

In the pic, gap left by Siberian on the left, Kostyn's Red Russian (from cloves), and Tallinn with gaps followed by Chesnok in the bottom bed, Persian Star in the middle and Spanish Roja at the back; back row is Susan Delafield (from cloves) at the end and the rest are mostly Music. I didn't lose more than a couple of plants all told, not more than you could blame on chance, which is typical of all those grown from cloves regardless of generation.

I'm wondering if rounds are vulnerable when they go through that extra step of differentiating into a cloved bulb? And when does that happen, soon after planting in the fall or later?
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Last edited by bower; June 29, 2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old June 30, 2019   #7
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my german hard neck whatever variety it is that i got from a customer of mine when i was downstate produces some large bulbils, some that are marble sized, others that are
pea sized. the larger bulbils will divide into a small bulb the following year. when i replanted cloves from the small bulbs, i usually got full sized bulbs the following year.
some of the smaller bulbils that got left in the ground due to me missing them for some reason produce an undivided round. they in turn have become rather large bulbs the following year. either way i win. i have had tiny bulbils survive the winter outside fairly well. i grew music up to bulb size from small bulbils. it took three years. i did the same with homestead garlic bulbils from sandhill preservation. not something i would recommend for the impatient gardner, but i liked doing it.



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Old July 1, 2019   #8
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The German hardneck sounds like a great variety. Two years from bulbils is a real score.

Music grown from bulbils was my first garlic ever, and the crazy thing is, they size up really quick even though the bulbils are small and the rounds are not enormous either. Mine have always had four cloves per bulb most of the time, so you end up with a bigger clove for planting. Another porcelain which came from Bonavista was a miss somewhere in the perennial beds, but a couple of years later I found it had produced one really enormous round - that produced a good sized bulb and now it is one of my main crop varieties.
I have even grown Music from bulbils a second time, just to increase my planting stock. It's a great way to try new varieties, but it's also a hedge against losing your stock for any reason in a bad year... especially if they grow up fast! So I want to tweak my methods to make sure I get the best possible survivorship at the small stages.
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Old July 2, 2019   #9
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The other advantage of growing garlic from bulbils is that it serves as a virus breaker. If you suspect that you have viruses in your garlic crop, collect bulbils and plant in pots, then use to replace infected crop.
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Old July 5, 2019   #10
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I must admit that garlic viruses remain a mystery to me. At first I had to get used to the fact that they dry down before harvest, so naturally the leaves are yellowing one way or another. The ones that dry down a bit streaky I thought looked like virus pics, but as Henry said, all garlic has some latent viruses, it may or may not be that the pattern emerging as they dry is due to virus. One thing I have noticed is that there never seems to be any spread of virus-looking leaves from one type to another in the field here. Which is not what they say about it. The experts in France for example have made virus free varieties from meristem tissue culture, but it is also said that they rapidly acquire viruses in the field and that virus is spread by aphids. The aphids here show no interest in garlic at all, so maybe it is a special type of aphid we don't have around.

If all the garlic has some latent virus - or virus exposure in the field - then it must be that some varieties are more prone to symptoms while others are not. The porcelains and the glazed purple stripe that I have seen, are ones that don't show any of that streaky looking leaf. While all the standard purple stripe varieties I've seen are especially streaky, and the others somewhere in between. I think the late season types are maybe less well adapted to our climate, which may not be the case elsewhere. Anyway, all told, I haven't been able to clearly identify or understand anything about garlic virus at this point.
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Old July 6, 2019   #11
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You got really good looking rounds from the bulbils!

I am sad to hear that none of the Siberian rounds survived. That is quite surprising, because it has been the best winter surviver in my garden. If you want to try again, I can save some scapes uncut and send the bulbils to you.

I have read somewhere that the extra large rounds are not good for fall planting, because those may rot easily. I think that it may be due to the thick layer of rotting organic material around the new growth. I planted some extra large Alexandra rounds last fall, but unfortunately did not mark which were the biggest ones , so I could had checked how the did.

I have not harvested any of my bulbil plantings yet, but I did carefully poke the soil in the pots and felt that there are rounds forming.

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Old July 6, 2019   #12
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Thanks Sari! That is interesting to know - I also tried digging up some of the failed ones to see what happened - one was bitten by something but the others that I found appeared to be just frost killed.
If I'd been thinking straight, I would have made sure that every variety had a backup in the greenhouse. And another thing that I forgot to mark, which one of the rounds came from the greenhouse or from outdoors last season. I wondered if greenhouse growing is putting the burden of acclimatizing onto the next generation, and so they are worse prepared.... I do think that once they are past that sensitive stage in the rounds, and are planted as cloves, they will acclimatize anyway.

This year I will be better prepared because I'm thinking about it already! I have raked up and bagged some leaves at my brother's this spring, and stashed some for mulching the garlic babies that do go outdoors. But I'm planning to use the greenhouse as well, to make sure I don't lose any varieties. Large rounds in the greenhouse should give me bulbs if I plant them in fall, and then I will be safely past that delicate stage.
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