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tjg911

growing garlic for personal use with long term storage in mind

TJG911
17 years ago

okay, normally i research rather than ask but i want personal experience opinions, i can't get that from a book. as usual this is a long winded thread (just look at the name of the thread!) but i'd appreciate some details from people with experience. no offense but when people in the deep south ask about growing different vegetables that i know how to grow, i don't reply. it's got to be really different conditions and i'd assume the same applies to garlic. you may not be in ct but i know some of you are in northern latitudes and some much colder winters than me. seems to me most cold winter people have good advice for my climate.

i grew garlic only 2 seasons here in ct (i'm in zone 5b last frost date memorial day 1st frost date around october 1) about 10 years ago. i knew when to plant but i did use a store bought softneck, probably silverskin is it? anyway, the 1st year i planted on columbus day weekend and harvested around early to mid july. the results were good but i grew only 10 or 12 plants if even that many. the 2nd year same thing, more cloves were planted but a wet spring in conjunction with grass or leaf mulch caused the soil to stay damp. many plants got moldy or rotted. after that bad experience, i felt garlic was cheap in the store and my garden was only 1/2 the size it is now. i couldn't afford the space for such a small return so i gave up growing garlic. my emphasis is on fresh eating (1/3) and storage (2/3) of my garden space.

i have been reassessing what vegetables i grow and especially how much of each - i have 6 nice rutabagas that i just don't want to use! i like them i'm just too lazy to use them! the garlic in all the grocery stores around here has been just pathetic for many months. i am wondering if i can grow enough and more importantly store it long enough so i am not at the mercy of this california crap with it's bad spots, sprouting cloves, dried out cloves and bland taste! i am willing to grow less of other things to get enough garlic but i eat a lot, a real lot, of garlic. i think i'd need 75 bulbs so perhaps space is an issue.

so here are my specs and desires.

(1) are the hardneck varieties the correct type for me to grow? should i avoid the softnecks? won't a softneck grown here turn into a hardneck if i save seed season after season?

(2) hardnecks have a short storage time, is that correct? seems i have read that the softnecks store the longest. since i want to store garlic as long as possible, is 6 months the max from any variety hard or soft? for example, i know about onions and there are some varieties, like copra, that i can store for up to 12 months. i like hot garlic and i'd think, like with onions, the hotter the garlic the longer the storage due to the sulfur compounds? is that true?

(3) what varieties would grow well in ct and have the maximum storage time? should i grow multiple varieties of both hard and softneck? for example, i grow ailsa craig exhibition for a sweet onion they keep to 2/1, redwing for a medium storage red onion they'll keep to march or april and for the longest storage i grow copra.

(4) i know that growing your garlic from your own seed acclimates the garlic to your area and is the cheap way to go because garlic is expensive to buy from seed companies! since i'd harvest in early to mid july (if i remember correctly) then plant the cloves around the 2nd weekend in october that seed would only need to be stored for 3 months. are my comments correct?

(5) i do remember that for a short time the grocery stores here sell a hardneck garlic. the bulbs are smallish, just 6 or 8 cloves, the wrapper shows a bit of red but is mostly whitish, but they have a distinctly reddish wrapper on each of the cloves and it is rather hot with sweetish crisp taste. i assume this is not from california and is locally produced since it is a hardneck with cloves that peel easy vs that california crap plus it is only in the stores for say 4-6 weeks. any idea the variety from that description? i like it, so if i bought pounds of it (typically a bargain at just $2.99 a pound vs buying it via a seed company) would it store until october? if yes in fridge or in a cool dry place?

(6) now for the big issue. how much space do i need, ie what is the spacing between cloves for me to harvest 75 bulbs? using onions again, i grow three 4' X 4' beds in a straight line butted up against each other so i use just 48 square feet of garden and get 3 varieties of onions that will last me until the following august harvest. i have not bought onions in years! can i pull this off with garlic by planting a 4' wide strip for X feet in length to save space (no rows) and to at least minimumize having to buy it?

(7) i remember reading that you should not store garlic in the fridge but then i read here people say to store garlic between 32-40 degrees. do i store garlic under the same conditions as onions? copra and redwing are in the garage around freezing while alisa craig are in the fridge at 43 degrees.

i really would like to grow that hardneck that is in the grocery stores for a few short weeks. it is great tasting, peels easy and tastes great compared to the cardboard junk they usually sell. if you think i should start with a specific variety and save seed i'll go that route. my point is to be able to store enough to minimumize buying it.

thanks for your feedback.

tom

Comments (30)

  • rxkeith
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    tom

    general rule of thumb with garlic is 6 inch spacing between bulbs. seed savers uses 8 inch spacing in a diamond shape it looks like from photo in their catalog. i would say 4 inches apart would be the minimum distance between bulbs otherwise bulb size can decrease.
    i've read here soft necks don't do as well in the north, but the ones i grow don't seem to mind. inchelium red, and lorz italian do well for me. i have 3-5 ft of snow cover on the ground most of the winter though, so maybe that helps.
    i keep my garlic and onions in the basement over winter. temp down there is in the mid 50s. mesh bags would be best. mine are in paper grocery bags. most of them keep till april or may in decent shape. my best storing one to date is idaho silver. i was still eating them 13 months after pulling them. the bulbs are only medium size for me. nootka rose is a similar variety, but bigger bulb. i'm hoping that one stores well too.
    for specific varieties that do best in your area, local sources will be your best source of info. many varieties will do well no matter where they are grown. i started out just picking varieties that sounded good to me. i'm still growing them.
    garlic is good.

    keith in calumet

  • pastvast
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm no expert, I've only been growing for a couple years... but for what it's worth here's my $0.02.

    1. You can grow either. Supposedly, hardnecks are easier to grow up north. I can't tell you from experience as I've only grown hardnecks. I like them because the cloves are big (so I don't have to peel as many) and relatively easy to peel. I've never heard of people growing garlic from seed. The only thing I've heard of is "seed garlic" which refers to cloves (I suppose similar to "seed potatoes").

    2. Longnecks supposedly store well for 3-6 months depending on variety. There's a type (racacombe- spelling is wrong) that supposedly stores the best. Mine stored fine for 4 months, and by then I had eaten them all. So sad. We'll see how long this year's harvest will last. The softnecks are the kind that get braided and supposedly can be stored for up to a year. Maybe you should look into planting both?

    4. I only grow from cloves. I've bought hardneck garlic from the store (an organic place) that was quite nice. Instead of buying from seed companies, you could visit a local farmer's market to acquire some. Mine are all unidentified hardnecks, but serve my purposes. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to get my hands on some named varieties to try (or be willing to pay catalog prices).

    7. I store mine in the basement. It stays in the high 50's down there. Alternatively, if you don't think they'll all keep until the next harvest comes in, you could freeze them (never tried it though).

    -Stephanie

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  • jim_k
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You should be able to grow either hard neck or soft neck garlic. The soft neck will store longer than the hard neck, but both will store for a longer time if they are handled correctly.
    It looks like you have a small garden, but you can increase the amount of plants by changing how they are planted. This is how I increase plant production, even though I have a very large garden. I use double rows for my garlic.
    {{gwi:359674}}
    This is a larger picture of the long rows.
    {{gwi:359675}}
    The double rows are about eight inches apart as pictured, you could reduce that to six inches apart if you hand weed. My double rows are about 42 inches apart. This is so I can run a tiller through them in late fall, or if not mulched, tilled in early spring. My mulch is about 8 inches deep when applied, will settle to about four inches deep. The double rows in your 4x4 beds could be reduced to six inches apart for the rows within your bed. I will let you do the math for the number of cloves to plant, rows 6 inches apart, cloves 4 inches apart.
    {{gwi:359676}}
    This is the way I handle my soft neck garlic after it is harvested, braided and hanging somewhere cool. Hard garlic can also be braided somewhat, usually tied in a bunch with a sisal cord and hung like the soft neck. It will last long enough that your next crop will be ready to harvest when the last of this years crop is used up.
    Save several of your largest bulbs from each yearÂs crop to use as the seed cloves next year. You will notice the Garlic tolerates your climate better and produces larger bulbs each year.

  • makalu_gw
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I haven't had too much luck with the softnecks (Inchelium, Silverwhite, etc.) from a standpoint of consistent size over the years so I can't recommend them but others may just have better soil. Hardnecks should grow well for you in CT.

    So far, my experience is that storage seems to vary both with variety and growing season. During wet seasons, the garlic didn't store as well as when it's been moderate or dry. So far, the best storage varieties have been the Premium Northern White from Territorial (very expensive though), Siberian from Filaree and German Extra Hardy from Seed Savers. I harvested in early to mid July and all are still quite firm though the German are starting to get green in the middle and ready to sprout.

    I'd try to grow multiple varieties both for taste as well as to cover the chance that a single variety has a bad year. For example, if we get a wet year, the Killarney Red does great though they are much smaller in drought times. I plant on 6 inch centers in raised beds and regularly get 2 to 2.5 inch bulbs and they'd be bigger if they actually got full sun.

    For those varieties that I replant, you're right ... harvest in July, cure in July / August and re-plant in October so the storage time is pretty short. I end up just hanging them under a porch until the stalks have dried down and then throw them in a mesh bag and hang from the basement rafters at around 60 degrees until planting time. I've also hung them in my pump room at 75 degrees and not seen any problems as long as they have some air circulation.

    I'd give your mystery variety a try for a portion of the crop just to see if it likes the local conditions, especially since you like the taste and the price is right. I don't know what it is but if it's seasonal in the summer timeframe, it should be viable for planting in the fall. I'd suggest storage anywhere except the refrigerator - it always seems to dry out the cloves too quickly.

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    thanks for the info. seems either hard or soft will work here. i do agree, a variety of different varieties is good for diversity. based upon weather 1 variety may excell each year when another is subpar. by having different types i can reduce the risk, starting to sound like financial advice! i'll give this a shot next october.

    i really need to cut back on the amounts of each vegetable i grow. i plant too much (like a bed of carrots that yields 256 carrots! this year i harvested 96 and it's still too many) and that just wastes space even tho it is planted with space saving techniques.

    if i planted 10% of the garden in garlic that's 120 sq ft so that's a fair amount of garlic. the farmers market is a good idea, the organic farm's garlic may be pricy, hopefully some others good it for a lower price. there's a guy locally that grows it (not organic) and he was getting $6.99 a pound and that was at least 5-6 years ago! yikes that's a lot. i definately will scraf up that grocery store hardneck in the summer. i'm sure it's from ct or ma so it'll do fine here. i'll even plant some of the gilroy crap to see how that does.

    thanks,

    tom

  • rxkeith
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    tom

    the varieties that i grow that have some zing to them are music, asian tempest, and georgian crystal. nice big bulbs, large clove size, and still in pretty good shape. they should be ok a couple more months yet. all are hard necks. georgian fire is supposed to be similar to georgian crystal only hotter, haven't grown it yet, so just going by description. hotness is sometimes climate dependent with some varieties so your results may vary.
    don't get too caught up in the price. everyone has a budget, i understand that. you only need to buy the garlic once. if you start with a good quality product, that one purchase is going to give you many, many bulbs over the years.

    keith in calumet

  • pablo_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    A couple/few years ago I bought like 6 varieties and have weeded out a few. My yard doesn't get full sun, and that may have had some effect in which ones did well. I plant about 5" spacing, and maybe 6 plants accross the row. With that spacing, you could get 75 plants in one 4'x4' bed. Elephants need more space.

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "don't get too caught up in the price. everyone has a budget, i understand that. you only need to buy the garlic once. if you start with a good quality product, that one purchase is going to give you many, many bulbs over the years."

    keith, that's something i totally have over looked. thanks so much for plainly stating that. since i harvest in mid july the bulbs only have to keep to columbus day and then i will plant the cloves. so a 1 time purchase should keep me in seed forever? it is expensive to buy but i suspose if i spent for seed what i spend for store garlic over say 4 or 5 months i may be just set for life.

    another great point, i did not realize that i can get the garlic in 4' X 4' beds like my onions with a 16 sq ft block yielding a lot of plants. perhaps a 4' X 8' bed would do it for me.

    gotta give this another try this fall.

    tom

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    hi all, here's an update. i saved all your emails in my inbox for reference and low and behold this thread is still around. great replies in here, thanks again to all for your helpful comments.

    i never saw the hard neck garlic in the grocery stores this year or at the farmer's market. what a bummer! so i went to 2 different health food stores and got a fair amount of garlic for the bargin price of $4.49 (unknown variety) and $6 a pound (music). there's a lot of garlic in a pound. i checked seed catalogs and online today. prices are unreal - $10 to $20 a pound unless you buy 30 or 100 pounds! i may just plant some california store bought soft neck cloves if i don't have enough cloves of the hard neck. i plan on planting 6" on center in either a 4' X 8' or a 4' X 12' bed.

    i know straw seems to be the prefered mulch but straw is expensive here. i have 3 dump truck loads of shredded leaves from last fall. are shredded leaves ok for mulch? mulch 4-6"? remove in spring? storage time for music 6 months?

    thanks,

    tom

  • makalu_gw
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've never managed to get straw to work as mulch ... it attracted lots of mice and either them or my cats would end up digging everything in the bed. I've used both grass clippings (a little more weed seeds than I'd like) and shredded leaves as mulch and they've worked fine as long as they're really well chopped. Four or so inches is good and over the winter it mats down to around an inch or less of cover. Normally, the garlic grows right through it and I leave it in place to help suppress weeds - if your soil holds lots of water, you may need to remove it in spring but you've got lots of time between now and then.

    Depending on storage conditions and how well it was cured, music will make it 6 months or longer.

  • shellshoe_sbcglobal_net
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If this year's crop doesn't do too well, try one more year but this time drive out to the Garlic Farm in W. Granby (a simple web search will yield directions) and purchase your seed from them. I purchased my garlic there last fall and they were very helpful with information regarding growing and storage. So far it looks great in the garden. They grow only German White hardneck, and you know it'll grow good in CT because they're in CT and make their living off of their huge garlic crop. The garlic tastes great, nice and strong-not that wimpy stuff we have at the stores here, and if I remember correctly, I paid $3 a pound for it. Even if I'm wrong about the price, it wasn't more than $5 a pound, so it's still a good deal. Anyway, hope this helps. Happy Gardening!!

  • hostaholic2 z 4, MN
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    For me in zone 4, I've had the best success with the hard necks. The only soft necks that have really done well for me are Kettle River Giant and Polish White. Both form large bulbs with good size cloves. Last year my German Red was hot, hot, HOT! We had a hot dry growing season. Yes the price is expensive, but once you've purchased it you just keep replanting from your own stock. Call me a garlic snob, but I would never plant that bland grocery store stuff.

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Michelle,

    I ended up buying the garlic locally from an organic farmer in Bethlehem that I met at a farmer's market in Bantam. West Granby may be about the same distance from my home but if this works then I'm all set. If not then I'll have to go to WG in August '07 for German White. The cost was just $4 a pound but I bought several pounds so I hope it all grows! I ate all that other stuff I wrote about in the post dated 9/3/06 because what I bought from the guy in Bethlehem was so much better - bigger cloves, mostly music (seems to be the longest storage hardneck) and a few other varieties plus some HUGE grocery store cloves that are an unknown softneck. It was so warm into late fall that a lot of garlic was 4-6" tall in early December before the ground froze and I was able to mulch it. Most of the music did not come up but much of the others did so I am concerned about that side of the bed where nothing was up based upon how much growth occurred on the other end of the bed.

    Now for my question. I put on a good 6" of shredded leaves in mid December. The snow has melted and the mulch is still about 6" thick - it did not pack down much maybe an 1" at the most. I suspect the leaves were so finely shredded there was not much compaction.

    So now I want to know if I should take off say 4" of those shredded leaves and just leave in place 1-2" of shredded leaves? I have very good drainage but the thickness of the leaves is like a 6" thick carpet.

    Tom

  • makalu_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'd reduce the leaves to 1-2" as you say and let the soil warm up since this little cold snap that we're going into should be no problem for them.

    The little music that I grow is just now breaking the ground while things like siberian are up with 4 leaves out so it may just be that the cultivar is slow in our area ... probably a good thing since the leaves of anything that got exposed to the real cold got frostbit so the garlic will have to work a little harder to replace them.

  • lilacs_of_may
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How does garlic do with cold snaps? I planted about 6 x 8 feet worth of garlic last fall. It started coming up in March, but with this cold snap we had temps below freezing for several days. Everything in my garden froze solid. Will the garlic be okay?

    I planted about eight varieties. Got them from The Garlic Store, and almost all of them are coming up. The biggest cloves were from the Transylvanian garlic, and they're also among the biggest plants this spring.

  • johnml
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am on my 4th year of "German Red Hardy" with the original cloves bought from a local farmer's market and some white hard neck I bought at a Chinese grocery store.

    The German has big easy to peel very, very fragrant cloves. The Chinese is smaller and less fragrant.

    On the other hand, The German is just giving up the ghost now (developing green shoots) from harvest last July, whereas the Chinese is still good.

    I plant in October with a little straw mulch. they always seem to make it through a Wisconsin winter just fine.

    I'll use green garlic shoots from now until July unless I have to use cloves in which case I will use the Chinese.

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    well it's a good thing i asked and followed advice to remove the 5" of compressed, wet, heavy layer of leaves.


    i went out last night and of the nearly 200 cloves planted only 5-10 were coming up thru the leaves. much of the leaf mulch was shredded but not that small and some of it was large pieces of leaves. the end result was that some of the garlic was growing just sideways! i have 4-6" greens that were trapped under the heavy layer of wet compacted leaves. so i pulled most of it off leaving an inch or so to conserve moisture and hopefully suppress weeds.


    i was thrilled to see that i have 99-100% growth in the bed. i was worried because back in december, before i mulched, none of the music had broke ground while about 50% of the other varieties had and were 3-5" tall, all this on dec 5th and the ground had not froze yet! since 70% of the bed is music it would have been a disaster if none of the music came up. most of the garlic is about 2" tall and straight, only the longer shoots were flat on the ground.


    6-7" of shredded leaves is a good insulation once the ground freezes to protect the garlic from thaws but i also think that by late march in my area i need to pull most of it off.


    tom

  • lilacs_of_may
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I didn't mulch my garlic bed at all this winter. I'm a new gardener and wasn't aware that I had to.

    But we had an unusual amount of snow this year, and it stayed on the ground, so maybe it mulched it for me. Most Colorado winters that's not the case.

    The garlic's growing fine, and I think pretty much all that I planted last fall came up, except for a couple that the squirrels dug up.

  • makalu_gw
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Tom,

    Great to hear that your garlic is up and moving! And I think that you're exactly right on the mulch - I didn't use any this past year and about 20% of my music rotted / froze. Not a big deal for me since my plantings are weighted more for siberian and german extra hardy which laugh at the cold but I think you would have lost a bunch if not for the insulation. Now that they're out in the sun, they should start going like crazy - let's hope for some mild weather.

  • lilacs_of_may
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I counted last night, and I have exactly 100 garlic plants coming up. There might be more. There might be some slow growers that haven't broken soil yet.

    I think I'd better start gathering garlic recipes.

  • oldroser
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    For future reference, note that it's the biggest cloves that you save to plant. The smaller ones go to the kitchen. Big cloves produce big bulbs - and bigger cloves for next year.

  • korney19
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Tom, what was your opinion of all this and what were your results? How much are you growing this fall?

    I grew some around the driplines for the pumpkin out back, plus I converted a tomato bed 3ft x 8ft (5-6 tomato plants) to garlic (laid a CRW sheet down & planted every 6 inches each way, 96 plants) and it was a huge success. Only about 4 cloves didn't come up--they were runt cloves anyway.

    By the way, I don't really mulch--I added a couple inches of municipal compost before I planted and planted thru it and that was it. I hand watered til about early-mid June until I got all the drip fertigation hooked up.

    I still haven't tried all of the 10 varieties yet. Overall, I consider it a great success--90-100 heads in about 24 square feet--I'll never grow in rows again! Consider square foot garlic & save space for all your other veggies--I hated to see those mater plants go but it was well worth it!

    Mark

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    hi mark,

    glad to hear you did well, but i am not surprised, you are a genius at growing anything! now how's that money tree going? get any seeds yet? :)

    i am NOT a fan of mel bartholowmay (sp?) and his square foot gardening. i know people swear by it, i swear at it! for some things it's ok for others it is a disaster. maybe i did it wrong, any guess what a 4' X 4' square of bush string beans planted 2 or 4" on center looks like? it's a horror show. that said, i'm a big advocate of using 4' sq beds for some things.

    my garlic did fantastic! i grew garlic in '95 and '96 and it was a small amount, 1st year ok the 2nd was not good so i gave up. this past fall i allocated 4' X 12' for garlic (same as onions). i used my 6" onion planting guide to plant the garlic. i had 10 or 11 rows of music, 5 or 6 rows of german white, 2 rows of georgian crystal, 2 rows of an unknown hard neck i got at a health food store and 2 rows of softneck from stop and shop, the cloves for the sn were HUGE.

    of the hardnecks, 3 or 4 plants grew funky, maybe 2 or 3 never came up. of the sn, 1/2 did not come up and compared to the hn it did poorly tho ok. i dug it all about 7/25 and dried it in my shed. i trimmed the roots and stalks on friday. i did very well!

    i did have a problem (only with german white and only 8 or 10 bulbs with about 30+ that are fine) so i went to the farmers market looking for the farmer i bought my garlic from to ask about it but he was not there. so far i have not been able to get him on the phone. i did ask a few farmers why happened and the concensus was that i watered too much. my problem was that only the german white had 8 bulbs that had a white mold or fungus around the stalk within the bulb. the cloves were firm but looked water logged, a sort of translucent pearly grey color. the other 30 or so german white were ok. all the other garlic was ok from what i can discern.

    i did mulch with 5-6" of 1 or 2 year old shredded leaves, removing all but 1" in late march (which was too late but that did not harm anything). i thought that the leaves introduced the problem but then all the garlic should have had it. these guys told me they do not water their garlic, it rains enough here in the spring and summer to suffice. all the sources i read always said to keep it evenly moist but i 100% discount that now. unless we go for 3 weeks without rain, i will not water garlic again.

    however, if you saw the size of the hardneck bulbs they were selling you'd laugh. my german white has some cloves that are so huge that 1 clove is 2/3 the size of their entire bulb! i am not kidding you. my music cloves are just about the same tho i think the german white has larger cloves while music has larger bulbs, more cloves per bulb. my bulbs are about 2.5 to 3" in diameter, theirs were about 1.5 to 1.75"! so like i wonder about watering, you know :)! still, one guy told me garlic originated in siberia and they have wicked dry weather so the no watering does make sense.

    i harvested about 160 bulbs out of about 175 cloves planted. i used 48 sq feet of garden. to compare, i used 120 sq feet for potatoes. i grew 13 superior and 13 yukon gold and got a WHOOPING, SIT DOWN, HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT, 15 pounds of superior and 16 pounds of yukon gold and i use a soaker hose around the seed for adequate water. prior to that, my potatoes were often hollow or very small, so the soaker hose helps. garlic requires only cutting the scape and virtually no weeding with 1" of mulch. digging is easy. potatoes require work to plant, 2 or 3 hillings which is a lot of work in the heat, usually a lot of work killing colorodo potatoe beetles tho i saw only 12-18 this year and no larvae and the digging to get the potatoes is really hard work especially with a soaker hose in there. so i wasted 120 sq feet again! this fall i plan on planting at least 100 sq feet of garlic, NO potatoes, i may plant 125-130 sq feet.

    i plant 6" on center. i know from experience that if you crowd onions you get small bulbs. my red wings and copra are much larger now that i space them 4" on center vs the 3" i used to use. i suspect garlic is the same. i gather you used 6' too using the crw?

    storage is something only time will tell.

    i don't know what to make of the taste of all my garlics. georgian crystal is mild. the others are not like grocery store garlic which is HOT and SPICY. it is what i am used to. some of my cloves have been hot but most are so so. not sure what to make of this. but it is organic, it will be free once i grow enough to plant and eat for the whole year. this is why i need to buy garlic cuz i'd have to plant too much of the harvest based upon the amount i want to plant/grow next season, maybe 3/4! the guy i buy from charges just $4 a pound and he is organic!!!!! one of the guys i talked to at the farmers market told me he wholesales his to whole foods and he is organic and he gets $6.50 a pound, wholesale!!!!! so i gotta find the guy i dealt with last summer for about 30 pounds of garlic and that'd be $120! but i think that would allow me to have enought to plant and eat all year.

    yes, it was very successful and i am very pleased with the results. garlic is easy to grow. the hardest part is cutting the scapes when it's 90 and humid but anything is difficult under those conditions!

    as a side note, ever grow grandfather ashlock (i'm on tomatoes now)? i tried it this year and it is 1 heck of a fantastic tomato rivaling earl's faux! tom's yellow wonder was the only other new variety i grew this year and it too is quite good. i am not a fan of yellow tomatoes but tyw is very good. the 1st 1 i ate i would have thought it was a red tomato it had such good flavor. they are huge too 1 to 3 pounds.

    tom

  • korney19
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Haven't grown either of those tomatoes.

    I planted my garlic at 6'' and my onions were about 4-5'', maybe more but they were in offset rows, so more zigzagged.

    Here's most of my onions:

    Right along the corn:
    {{gwi:359677}}

    The red-purple dots are Red Bull, the greenish-gray dots are ACE. The yellow of course is corn & the tan are double 6x6 doug fir timbers on my driveway. I took whatever bad/clay soil I excavated elsewhere and dumped it there, about an inch or 2, plus compost and coffee grounds a few years ago. Ever year it settles a little so I add a couple inches of municipal compost that I buy ($13-$14 per pickup truck bed load.)

    In a 20 gallon bucket:
    {{gwi:359678}}

    These were planted next to my 4gal buckets of peppers & did well, though they didn't get planted until mid-late May. Some are still standing tall in my yard, I just picked a few today to make Annie's Salsa.

    These were fill-ins in 'Mater Mountain--a pile of dirt & compost on the driveway about 3x5ft by 12-16'' deep:

    {{gwi:359679}}

    'Mater Mountain was the rest of the leftover excavated clay and municipal compost. I usually grow 5 or 6 Sophie's Choice or New Big Dwarf tomatoes there, so just ran a double row down between where the tomatoes would get planted.

    I figure by the time I can eat all these, vidalias will be on sale for 69 cents/lb...

    For the garlic, are you spacing 6" in both directions? (In other words, the rows 6" apart too.) I posted this in another thread but this was the garlic bed:

    {{gwi:359681}}

    I think you can get away with 6'' in every direction with no problems. They are not exactly centered in the squares, I had to offset things a little in the pic taking into account the bed supports and 4x4 corners as well as existing .600'' drip irrigation lines (horizontal lines in light blue & gray.) Plus I snuck in garlic at the corners that aren't shown in the pic.

    And out in the ''pumpkin patch'' (Tom knows how small my yard is!) I planted extras around the zigzagging dripline for the pumpkin.

    {{gwi:359682}}

    The line has shutoff valves at each hairpin, though they weren't needed, as I didn't get all the driplines up and running til almost July. By the time the pumpkin reaches these lines at the far southwest of the yard, it's almost time to harvest the garlic, so there's no real shading problems from 2ft tall pumpkin leaves either.

    I don't know about NOT watering... I think the more water, to a point, the bigger the heads/bulbs... or the more fert the bigger. Maybe they don't water in Siberia because they were under 7 feet of snow all winter! haha. I know my Siberian were maybe my largest, plus Simonetti may have been my largest softneck this year. I think if I watered less they'd all be much smaller.

    I think maybe you should just save the smallest stuff for eating, plant the biggest stuff, and to make your quota needed, try new varieties to plant this year for next year's harvest. It's yet to be seen what kind of storage we get out of all these so don't forget Murphy's Law and be prepared to buy this winter if needed. Plus, if I can grow 96 heads in 24 sq ft, you should be able to grow 192 in 48sf... just plant by squares instead of rows.

    All in all, if I would do something differently next time, I would just rearrange where the different varieties went--Siberia/Siberian and German Extra Hardy were my 2 largest/tallest varieties besides elephant so would plant them at the northern end (all my pics are South on the top, North on the bottom,West on the right, East on the left.)

    I may try Lorz and Kettle River Giant for 2008 too.

    Mark

  • TJG911
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    wow! i'm growing tomatoes you never grew! if you want seeds for grandfather ashlock and tom's yellow wonder (the name is NOT named after me that just happens to be the name) email me and tell me and i'll send you some. no need for a sase. ga is still tasting great and i have to say for whatever reason my other tomatoes are not as good, flavors not as strong, maybe i'm jaded by the immense number of tomatoes i've eaten! like kosovo doesn't seem to be as good as the 1st several, wes seem to be off a bit same for dr. lyle and tyw, aunt gerties gold are just ok, (prue and sun gold are as great as ever, no surprise there) it may be i am picking them too soon like barely showing color. i did this due to rain and to protect from varmints. been cool and rainy lately maybe that's the problem. but ga still is great, i was impressed by the 1 i ate yesterday.

    yes my garlic is planted in 3 beds, each 4' X 4', all 3 in a straight row that then is 4' X 12', no gaps just 3 4' X 4' squares butted against the next. i space each clove in each 4' X 4' square 6" in all directions, i get 64 cloves per square so i figured i planted ~ 180-185 cloves, i had a small amount of 1 square not filled.

    as to watering, all the farmers say no watering is needed as it rains enough. if it were really dry like no rain in 3 weeks i think a watering may be ok then. i hear you about murphy's law.

    tom

  • namfon
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Korney19 -

    What software program did you use to graphically display your garden map ?

    tig911 -

    Great question and great thread. I took a lot of notes.

  • korney19
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I used MS Paint, comes standard with Windows.

  • namfon
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you korney19

  • galfarmer_yahoo_com
    15 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I found this thread by accident and was interested in reading each and every posting. Glad to see so many garlic lovers and those who are willing to try growing it. I like that people are not afraid to make mistakes, ask for advice or to experiment. To me, that is a true gardener!

    I have been organically growing garlic and vegetables for about seven years, first in MA and last year for the first time in CT. For my own use and to sell my excess on my farm stand. I had not so great results this year. I tried small amounts of various varieties to see what would succeed. This was a newly formed garden 2500 sq ft (previous year a lawn) with not so great soil...sandy..more like powder, acid and lacking organic material. What more can I say! In the past, I had good luck with Music and this year it did "just okay", but nothing to call the crop a success. The surprise was Early Italian. Small but each clove produced. The disaster was Spanish Roja which I have always wanted to grow but have never had a good crop even in MA. I think this variety is a better "out west" variety.

    So with using leaf mulch on my entire garden, liming, manure, and some organic fertilizer, I hope to conquer the CT garden soil. This year I am planting the following: Music, Zemo, Chesnok Red, Early Italian Red, German Extra Hardy, Russian Red. these are all new purchased planting stock. I did not have enough of anything this fall to replant...I fault sacrificing my viable planting stock with my culinary urges.

    Zelda08
    galfarmer@yahoo.com

  • korney19
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bump for 2010!!!!

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