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Old July 19, 2009   #1
tjg911
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Default garlic harvest results

the weather was beautiful today, very low humidity and temps in the low 70's so i decided to dig the garlic rather than doing it a week later surely in 88 degrees with a dew point of 66 to 73.

some varieties appeared to being just about ready to be dug while some varieties looked like they were ok to keep growing for another 10-12 days.

i started at the end of the bed where the german white was. i dug the 1st and the bulb was huge! so i dug all 3 rows of german white. some bulbs were large but none larger than the 1st. 1 bulb had some cloves out of the paper wrapper. so 23 good, 1 bad.


the korean red was next in the bed and looked to be ready to dig as the lower half of the plants were drying up. again the 1st bulb was huge none of the others were as big. korean red doesn't get that big and most bulbs were average to slightly larger than i have grown in the past. the odd thing is that 8 bulbs are pure white while the rest are red. now i wonder how there are 8 white bulbs? believe me i am extremely careful when digging, drying, storing and selecting cloves to plant. i label everything and keep a map in the house of what is what whether in the shed drying or when planting. i keep each variety in a separate labeled bag when selecting cloves to be planted. i store them with a fool proof labeling system in the basement. believe me i am totally anal about this so i can't imagine i mixed any cloves up. i can't recall if the bulbs i selected those cloves from were white but since i was so surprised that i have to think not. anyway, 24 good bulbs and i'll only plant cloves from the red bulbs. i'd think that korean red should have a reddish wrapper so i have to think i mixed some of these up, if so it was last year's planting as i used my planting guide incorrectly so i may have thought some plants were korean red when they were german something.


next was german red. what a waste of space! very small bulbs and i will not plant this variety again even tho i have grown it now for 3 years. the bulbs are 1/2 the size of what i expected and i did not expect huge bulbs. 24 good bulbs.

now here's where i may have been too hasty. i have 2 different groups of music. one group is my music from seed i have grown for 3 years, the other is from a local organic farmer. i called it gauger's music as his last name is gauger. i wanted to see the size and taste difference between his music and mine so i bought $25 of his garlic last august. a friend bought into his csa and his music had reddish tints on the wrapper and the bulbs were big even for music. i can't remember now if any of my gauger's music bulbs have red on them.


gauger's music plants' had just 1 set of lower leaves dying and the plants looked like they need another 10 to 12 days. but it was dry and cool and i had it in my head to dig it all up so i started to dig. i got 1/2 way thru and stopped to leave the other 1/2 to grow. i dug 33 plants and 32 were good, 1 was bad. some pretty good sized bulbs but some not so big, this is why i think the plant's appearance said they needed more time.


i then looked at my music and these plants looked significantly drier. where gauger's music stalks are still green, my music plants have their stalks showing yellows and lower leaves are dying off so i decided to dig all of my music. this area of the bed gets just a little less sun and the bulbs were smaller than i expected and i'm sure it is from less sun. music bulbs are usually pretty good sized and while some were some were a bit small. 65 good 2 bad.


so i have about 170 bulbs hanging in the shed and about another 33 still in the garden, i wished i left all of gauger's music. but some of gauger's and some of my music had burst bulbs and this is the concern because that lessens storage capicity. the cloves were not covered by the paper wrapper and they were open and apart from the other side that was enclosed by the paper. some big cloves so i may use them for seed.


all in all, i'm happy with the results. i have to find a replacement for german red. i may go back to growing nootka rose, a softneck. i have 2 or 3 bulbs of nootka rose still left and they are still as hard as a rock! no green shoots coming out of the cloves tho some cloves have a bit of green inside them but very very few. mind you these nootka rose were dug last july about the 25th or 28th. nootka rose is the king of storage! i'll have to buy some from another organic farmer in morris who i initially got all my garlic from. the really cool thing about nootka rose is it peels pretty easy, not as easy has a hardneck but nothing like the garlic from the grocery store. i have read that garlic will acclimate to your climate so my nootka rose may eventually turn into a hardneck after years of growing it?


tom
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Old July 21, 2009   #2
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Because it reproduces asexually there is no genetic mixing with each generation so garlic can only adapt to a local climate through rare mutation followed by selection for those traits over many generations. It is a population phenomenon, not an individual plant phenomenon, and is easier to bring about if you start out with a very large, genetically diverse (variable) set of seed garlic to start with, ...difficult when using standardized, named cultivars (genetic clones), because those should not be variable. Ther is no chance that a softneck will turn into a hard neck or vice versus.


I'm happy to report that my early spring planted softneck garlic is full of cloves. That means I do not have to bust my hump getting an area prepped for late fall planting. They are not as large as I would like, but that is a soil problem.
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Old July 21, 2009   #3
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can't recall where but i'm sure i read that if you grow softnecks up north they eventually turn into hardnecks. so you say that is incorrect?

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Old July 21, 2009   #4
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what i have read is that a soft neck can form a scape like a hard neck under periods of stress. i don't think they stay that way. i haven't seen it happen with the soft necks that i grew when i lived in the U.P. of michigan. they either grew well or they didn't.


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Old July 22, 2009   #5
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Hardnecks and softnecks are two distinct genetic groups of garlic, analogous to "hounds" and "terriers" if speaking about dog breeds, and because genetic mixing is impossible with garlic (you could cross a hound with a terrier) you are pretty much stuck with what you planted (a Bloodhound garlic or a Jack Russell garlic). Environmental conditions/stress may affect growth, but it won't change the genetic makeup of the plant.
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Old July 22, 2009   #6
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Some softnecks can bolt and form a scape if stressed, such as very cold weather, with some varieties more sensitive than others to climate. This is especially true if they were grown in warmer climates and then planted up north.

In "The Complete Book of Garlic", the author Ted Jordan Meredith states:
"Creole and Silverskin cultivars are in groups that are at the genetic threshold for bolting, where environmental conditions play a major role in dictating whether bolting will occur".

Other cultivars that may or may not bolt according to environmental conditions include Turbans, and Asiatics.

My garlic is a bit late this year due to the cool wet spring we had, but so far July has been perfect - mostly sunny and temps in the low 80s by day and mid 60s by night. I've harvested about 60% so far and expect to have all in by the end of July. Since I only grow 250 plants I have the luxury of pulling some plants every other day as they brown down.

A few Russian Reds and Estonians failed to put up a scape, but instead put out a strange long thin folded leaf. These then rotted from the top down, but the bulbs were salvageable when pulled a bit early. Never saw this before and assume it was due to the wet weather.

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Old July 22, 2009   #7
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ok, i am wrong and i need to remember this softnecks can become hardneck nonsense because it is deeply ingrained in my head.

today i called a local organic farmer who i bought all my stock from initially. we stay in touch each year to compare harvests and sometimes i buy different varieties i don't have. i asked him and he agreed this can't happen.

he did remind me that sometimes a softneck will put up a scape. now i have seen this and thought it was odd but it is a low % of plants that do it. maybe this re enforced my idea about sn going hn.

buying more nootka rose from rich cuz i did not plant it last fall and i'm replacing german red with nr. i still have 2 bulbs of nr and they are hard as a rock and no shoots growing out of them. 12 month storage, how can you beat that when all the porcelans have been finished due to sprouting by early to mid april.

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Old August 1, 2009   #8
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i dug the last of the garlic yesterday. 1/2 of this variety was dug on 7/19 and i thought the bulbs were a bit small for music. what i took out a week and a half later really doesn't look any bigger, i thought the extra time would result in bigger bulbs. virtually no sun in june, maybe 2 or 3 days and some of those may have been just 3-5 hours, and not a lot in july either. so i think this effected the bulbs. my copra onions are 33-50% smaller than normal so i think the lack of sun is at fault. rotten year for many things but the swiss chard is thrieving!

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Old September 9, 2009   #9
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i trimmed those last bulbs in the aug 1 post. out of 27 bulbs 13 had burst their wrappers! i don't know what to think. the 1st 1/2 of this variety (gauger's music) had 1 burst bulb out of 35 or so bulbs where the 27 i trimmed today had 13 that burst their wrapper! it seems that leaving them in for an extra 12 days was the reason. i will say the cloves are ginormous so i'm not surprised the wrappers were burst! these burst bulbs will be the seed stock for this variety.

also my german red is not as bad as i stated. most bulbs are good sized and i have some really large cloves for seed. i will grow german red again i just have to eat this variety and korean red 1st as they don't store as long as german white and music.

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Old September 10, 2009   #10
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I just noticed this thread, but wanted to say virtually all my Nootka Rose had scapes this year, out of 15.I didn't check that close, I just removed them. They were smaller and thinner than hardneck scapes.

Bulb size is much bigger than last years. Of course that is because they were planted last fall (mid-late October), while last years were planted in spring.
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Old September 10, 2009   #11
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Folks - tell me what you think the ideal soil/sun is for garlic. I just received my first garlic purchases & want to give them a lovely raised bed.... or pots. Seems you are pulling garlic later than I thought - maybe it is earlier down here? Full sun or filtered light? I know they hate weeds so it must be well mulched... any advice would be most appreciated. TIA
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Old September 10, 2009   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barkeater View Post
I just noticed this thread, but wanted to say virtually all my Nootka Rose had scapes this year, out of 15.I didn't check that close, I just removed them. They were smaller and thinner than hardneck scapes.

Bulb size is much bigger than last years. Of course that is because they were planted last fall (mid-late October), while last years were planted in spring.

i grew nootka rose for a couple of seasons. sometimes they did put up a scape but most did not. the scapes are quite a bit shorter and thinner.

i decided to not grow nootka rose again and maybe you'd want to investigate this too. while NR keeps a year they are small bulbs with small cloves with lots of tiny interior cloves. i spent quite a bit of time emailing http://www.wegrowgarlic.com out in wisconsin. they are great! i found out that NR is a silverskin variety but another softneck that will also store a full year and has larger cloves, less tiny interior cloves and larger bulbs is an artichoke variety called Chamiskuri (they are sold out now). here's a description -

(artichoke variety) Long storing, large bulbs. Originally from the village of Chamiskuri, Chobi Province, Megrelien Region, Republic of Georgia. Gatersleben #K 6035. Averages 13 cloves per bulb.

so if you grow an artichoke vs a silverskin variety you will get that long term storage, larger cloves with less tiny interior cloves and a larger bulb. just a thought for you. while they are out of chamiskuri they may have other artichokes in stock. they are very friendly and helpful.

tom
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Old September 10, 2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormymater View Post
Folks - tell me what you think the ideal soil/sun is for garlic. I just received my first garlic purchases & want to give them a lovely raised bed.... or pots. Seems you are pulling garlic later than I thought - maybe it is earlier down here? Full sun or filtered light? I know they hate weeds so it must be well mulched... any advice would be most appreciated. TIA
garlic needs full sun all day. the soil should have good drainage, mine is sandy loam. it likes rich loose soil, no rocks and lots of organic matter in the soil. i mulch mine with 4-6" of shredded leaves when i plant. i remove the mulch leaving 1" of mulch about 3/20 depending upon how warm it is and if i see the green shoots starting to appear, obviously you'll need to uncover it sooner.

i plant around late october or early november but i'm not sure about your area, typically you plant about 4-5 weeks before the soil freezes for winter. i assume your soil freezes? it would be best to find someone that knows when to plant and remove mulch for your area you can't go by connecticut as my climate is different than yours.

if you grow hardneck varieties then you have to cut the scape when it completes 1 full curl. you can eat the scape, i find the bottom 4-5" is the tenderest and i toss the rest.

timing your harvest is important! dig too soon and you'll get smaller bulbs but wait too long and the cloves will grow so large they burst the wrapper. if you grow a lot of garlic for storage all year then bursting the wrapper is not good as it is suppose to shorten the storage life. when the bottom 1/2 of the plant drys and the leaves turn brown dig some to see if it is ready, typically it is at that point. different varieties will mature slightly sooner or later but basicly at the same time. i dig about 7/20 to 7/28.

do not leave dug bulbs sit in the sun! i move the dug bulbs to my shed and tie them up in bunches of 5 and tie them to crw or crw cages. air circulation is important. they are cured in 4 weeks at which time you cut the stalk 1" above the top of the bulb and trim the roots to 1/4". store in a cool dry place NOT a fridge.

tom
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Old September 10, 2009   #14
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Tom = thanks for the most helpful tutorial. I have not yet opened my box from the wegrowgarlicfolks b/c so busy canning salsa, tomato jams, tomato sauces & tomato marmalade - & now getting into the late season peaches & first of the apples!
Our ground never really freezes here (though we did see snowflakes 3 times last winter - rare at the beach) & I am thinking of trying some garlic in pots - will be planting along the edges of my raised beds b/c I need the center for tomatoes of course (gonna have 'em in the ground by April 1 2010). I may email the wegrowgarlic folks to see about good pot sizes - I have them all LOL. Thank you again - this helps me figure out what I have to do out in the jungle-garden.
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Old September 11, 2009   #15
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Stormymater, you don't want to leave the garlic in the shipping box. Take them out and place them in a location with decent air circulation until ready to plant.

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