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zeedman

What, nobody planting garlic this year?

Strange not to see a garlic thread by now, I know there are a lot of growers here. I just planted my 2022/2023 garlic on Oct 24th. A little later than usual, but it's been warmer than usual, so all is good. Had 9 varieties last year, but dropped one (Dubna Standard) because it was a 3rd MPS (Marbled Purple Stripe) variety, and I am going down to 2 varieties of each type.

  • Carpati (artichoke)
  • Estonian Red (MPS)
  • Georgian Fire (porcelain)
  • German White (porcelain)
  • Krasnodar Red (MPS)
  • Ron's Single Center (artichoke)
  • Special Idaho (rocambole)
  • Vic's (rocambole)

Planted 20 of each. Originally, I had intended to replace Dubna Standard with Japanese (Asiatic type) but that will have to wait until next year.


All of the garlic was neglected last year due to a death in my family, but still did great. I fully expect that next year, with TLC & light fertilization, they will do even better.



Comments (37)

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    3 months ago

    Sorry about your family's loss.

    I finished planting my garlic about a week or so ago. I only grow three varieties anymore as they seem to do well for me: Khabar, Polish Jenn, and Inchellium Red. My favorite is Polish Jenn.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked cindy-6b/7a VA
  • kitasei2
    3 months ago

    mine went invthis week - my first time!

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked kitasei2
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  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I'm planting garlic for the first time this year, instead of one kind of onion. I was pleased that my local nursery had them but I was shocked to see that they were labelled, in their entirety, "GARLIC". That is, I don't have a clue what variety they are. I protested a bit, and they got the buyer online who said that he was unable to get any more details, except that they were "good for the south", and they were, uh, white. Um, soft core, I guess, and all garlic cloves are white. Northern white and German white are both hard core. Oh, they were all bagged in little paper bags marked with the website of some gardening outfit that actually doesn't exist anymore.

    This nursery is usually very responsible, but this is really atrocious marketing. I gave them a piece of my mind, and they slinked away.

    I guess I could dig down and try to identify their supplier. This nursery does know how to market onions. They get a big shipment of several short day varieties in mid-November from Dixondale (no shipping charges!) and the varieties are called out responsibly. So I guess the only lesson I'm going to learn about garlic this season is that I can grow them. Gee, if anyone knows how to identify garlic varieties by looking at cloves, I guess I could post a picture.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Daninthedirt, if you have time, you might be able to get some idea of the variety by searching through this site. You can click on any photo to enlarge it, for a good look at the cloves. A lot of good garlic info there, on all the varieties that were at one point in SSE's collection.

    Heirloom Garlic Archive

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    3 months ago

    Thanks, zeedman. That's a nice website. That being said, the heads all look pretty much the same, and the cloves are either whitish or reddish. I guess that does narrow it down a little bit. I won't be pulling the cloves until I'm ready to plant, which might not be for a week or so.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
  • kevin9408
    3 months ago

    I planted mine last week in a new spot. 350 cloves planted in new beds of dirt fluffed down a foot amended with a yard of compost, triple 17 fertilizer, magnesium sulfate and some gypsum.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked kevin9408
  • party_music50
    2 months ago

    I should be out there planting right now!

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked party_music50
  • CA Kate z9
    2 months ago

    I had a clove that was sprouting and so I seperated it and planted each. They are all in one large pot and growing quite well. It will be interesting to see what I get.

    When we lived out in the country I planted about 10 differnt kinds….. and fed the Italian Gophers handsomely. We never got a one and I gave up on that venture.


    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked CA Kate z9
  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    I got mine in a couple weeks ago. I had to reset last year, and ordered a variety of things. A couple dropped off the list for this year. But what in this year are small plantings of Armenian, Chesnok Red Penoski Purple Georgian Crystal, Crysilys Purple, Northern White, and Up North. Up North was a gift from a BiL in upper Wi, I don't know what it acually is. I'm only doing 8 of each to keep up seed stock for now. I did larger plantings of Dunganski, German Xtra Hardy, Music, And Early Italian for named varieties. A large planting each of Home Hardneck, and Home Softneck, grown out from mother clusters here for years. And introduced a large planting of Jolly, a large softneck from a local farm. It is very good, so I decided to plant a bunch to see how it fares against the other softnecks next year.

    The bed is also tucked under it's pine straw for the winter.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked beesneeds
  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago

    You have to be careful about garlic planting instructions, depending on where you are. You see lots of garlic planting instructions that DEMAND that garlic be planted deep and covered with loads of mulch. As in, 5-6 inches deep, with as much mulch on top!! But that's because, if you're up north, planting in November subjects them to fierce freezes, and the ground freezes. That can not only kill the germinating seedling, but the freeze-thaw cycle can kick the clove up to the surface. Deep planting, and insulating with mulch protects them. Down here, the soil NEVER freezes. Not even close. 2 inches deep is plenty, and I understand that mulch isn't usually used.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
  • ekgrows
    2 months ago

    I will, but it's still to warm. I've still got highs in the 70's. Probably plant it next week. I've got german extra hardy, music, armenian, romanian red, and bogatyr. Unfortunately, I lost my planting record from last year, so they are 1,2,3,4, and bogatyr. lol. Still hoping it will show up so I can properly identify the other 4.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked ekgrows
  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
    2 months ago

    I will, but not for several weeks. Would love to get a bit of rain so I can more easily rototill the garden first.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
  • Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
    2 months ago

    Mine went in about 2 weeks ago. One of my favorite crops. Easy, never had any issues - none, ever. Each year when I finish my last clove I get depressed.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
  • wcthomas
    2 months ago

    Finished putting mine in yesterday. Tilled in Harmony with a little limestone, and planted Music (135), Estonian Red (135), and Russian Red (180) for a total of 450 cloves. Watered well and laid down 3" of dried grass clippings mixed with a bit of chopped leaves. Always a good feeling closing the garden gates for the winter!




  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    2 months ago

    Nice Tom! I need to try Estonia Red again. I grew a small amount once before and got the biggest bulbs I've ever harvested but the next year I had a bad case of white rot and lost all of the Estonia Red and a couple other varieties.


    Don't forget to put your rakes away for the winter!

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
    2 months ago

    Got mine in the ground today - a couple weeks later than my usual Halloween-ish, but the weather has been freakishly warm this November, in the mid 70s most days. Anyway, my harvest last year was a dismal failure so I decided to scale back and only planted what survived rather than buying new stock. I ended up with 38 Montana Zemo, 18 Kyjev and 4 Music, plus a few unknowns that I found sprouting in my beds when I went out to plant. We'll see if they survive transplant. I increased spacing a lot this year, too, from around 6" last year to 10" this time. Fingers crossed for a better harvest in 2023!

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago

    This is my first year planting garlic and, as noted earlier, I somewhat disappointingly seem to have an anonymous variety. They're coming up, but I'm surprised that the germination rate in my garden bed appears to be only 70% or so. Is that normal? I only planted out the large cloves in my bed, and threw some of the smaller ones in a couple of containers, which are also coming up, but the germination rate for those is unclear. I'm filling in my bed with smaller cloves which, I gather, will not produce as well.

  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    Winter is offically here. We got four inches of snow over the weekend, a nice blanket over the beds. Good thing, we got more snow falling and probably hitting some January cold temps over the next week or so.

    Took a handful of small heads and put them in a planter last week. Filled the other half with little onion sets. In the kitchen window they are already popping up. Fresh green garlic and onion greens :) Got some green onion tails regrowing in one of the pepper pots in the window too. The peppers are taking forever to go orange, sigh. Even when there is snow I still like to garden in the window.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked beesneeds
  • party_music50
    2 months ago

    I nearly always grow fresh parsley through the winter (two pots this year), and try to remember to save some Egyptian Walking Onions to pot up for growing indoors. Thanks for reminding me... I'm off to the gardens to look for EWO bulbils!

  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    One of these days I need to get some EWO... I always seem to look in the catalogs at the wrong time of year and they are sold out. Or stupid expensive. I did finally get a ramp patch started this year, hopefully in a few years I can get lots of them to grow in out back.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    2 months ago

    beesneeds - You could try here. I just ordered some.

    https://www.etsy.com/market/walking_onion

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    The best place to get Walking Onions is from other gardeners. The bulbil clusters mature in mid- to late Summer, and are usually traded then (although plants are sometimes traded in Spring). I maintain several different perennial onions, and usually have walking onion bulbils stored over the winter... but not this year. Too much snow on the ground to dig some out now. :-( Send me a PM next year if you don't find any elsewhere.

  • Donald V Zone 6 north Ohio
    2 months ago

    dadinthedirt that seems low. I never pay attention but I also never recall have gaps in my rows. Some do seem to take longer so may be more will come up? Fresh garlic is one of my favorite things from my garden!

  • wcthomas
    2 months ago

    dadinthedirt, I typically have a germination rate of 98+%. If you mulched the garlic, check under the mulch in the gaps to see if any plants are laying sideways. A coarse mulch such as leaves can be difficult for some shoots to penetrate and they will grow along the ground instead of upright. These can be rescued by removing some mulch and standing the plants up.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked wcthomas
  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago

    Thank you. I was pretty careful in planting to make sure that the cloves were all right side-up, and there was no mulch applied on top (warm climate). Clove depth was two inches. I had four bulbs, and I'm beginning to suspect that one was just dead. Good to know that germination rate ought to be much higher.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    2 months ago

    I typically get around 90% germination but don't always see 90% emerge with top growth in the fall. In your warmer climate you may see growth all winter. If soil stay above 40ish they should continue to grow.

    Did the cloves from that one bulb show and browning or softness?

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I've had both good & bad emergence over the years. The common factor in all of the bad years was excessive soil moisture, due to a combination of excessive precipitation (including snow melt), heavy soil, and poor drainage. In all of those years, the garlic was planted at ground level... sometimes mulched, sometimes not. Since I began planting in a raised bed, losses have been almost non-existent. Last year, I only lost 5-6 out of 150. Like @wcthomas, I watch carefully when sprouting begins, to free any which may be trapped under the mulch... but with course hay as mulch, most sprouts thread their way through without difficulty.


    Artichoke varieties seem to be the most sensitive to waterlogged soil. One sign that this is happening, is that many of the surviving plants will form "stem cloves" well above the soil line. If you get those cloves, keep them, because they are the silver lining within that otherwise dark cloud. Planting those cloves in a location separate from the rest of the garlic can, in a couple years, yield fresh stock free of the soil-borne diseases which can accumulate over time in garlic bulbs. Periodically refreshing stock via bulbils, and rotating planting areas year-to-year, will help to maintain garlic bulbs at their largest.

  • kevin9408
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I typically have a 98%+ germination rate too. Dan, did you refrigerate your garlic for about two months? You should have for your Zone 8, and should be just now be thinking about planting garlic., Nov. - Dec. is your planting window.

    Garlic doesn't need to be protected from the freezing temperatures, and using thick mulch when the garlic hasn't went through vernalization will not grow a bulb next year. Dan if your bulbs didn't have a sufficient period of vernalization your only chance of getting a bulb is NOT to mulch until spring to keep the weeds down.

    Old dutch of St. Paul, Minnesota who stopped posting Sept. 2021, stated he never mulched his garlic. He was never concerned about size and wasn't looking for big bulbs and never mentioned the cloves heaving out of the ground. The cloves will heave up if planted to late and hasn't put out roots to hold them in the ground when it freezes without mulch, but planting early will have two much top growth and will weaken the plant. But up north if you plant late usually a blanket of snow will insulate the ground so little worry, you'll just get smaller bulbs.

    I've went from a few inches to a foot of dried leaves with no difference in outcome, and I'd rake excess mulch into the rows before they sprouted for weed control if needed. The eight Midwest universities suggest garlic will benefit with 2"-4" of straw mulch but they don't say how they'll benefit or if it's even necessary. No it's not necessary. but I do it for two reasons, to control weeds and the other of a lesser concern is to give the garlic the time to grow a bigger roots system before the ground does freeze. Because I do want bigger bulbs and nothing to do with heaving.

    Planting depth varies by whom ever you reference and I have seen a few web sites stating 5" to 6" deep, and they should be dismissed . Up here in the cold north the mutual consensus from eight Midwest universities recommend planting to a depth of 3"-4" deep, or with the top of the clove twice the depth of the clove height . Sure, like I'm going to go by the clove size, and I just stick them all in about an inch or two regardless of size, and has worked for me. For central Texas many sites recommend planting garlic 2"-3" inches deep, or twice the depth of clove size (I guess garlic is smaller in Texas), so to me 6 of one or half dozen of the another, and no precision is involved. But over 4 inches and you may have problems.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago

    Well, I didn't keep track of which cloves came out of which bulbs, but all the bulbs looked pretty reasonable. I'm just saying that if a quarter didn't germinate, and there were four bulbs, one bad bulb could explain it. The bed is somewhat raised, and moist, but certainly not waterlogged. As I said, I filled in the gaps with smaller cloves. Do I understand that smaller cloves are not as productive?

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    2 months ago

    As a rule smaller cloves yield smaller bulbs but still usable.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    " The eight Midwest universities suggest garlic will benefit with 2"-4" of straw mulch but they don't say how they'll benefit or if it's even necessary. No it's not necessary. but I do it for two reasons, to control weeds and the other of a lesser concern is to give the garlic the time to grow a bigger roots system before the ground does freeze. Because I do want bigger bulbs and nothing to do with heaving."


    I did get some frost heave in the years when I didn't mulch - and none when mulched. Planting time for me is somewhat subject to weather, but I always plant ASAP after the October frost. I've never had sprouting though, so it's possible that I could move up that planting window somewhat without penalty. Maybe an experiment to try next year, weather permitting... it's rare that I get TWO dry planting windows.


    Two additional benefits of mulch. In addition to allowing more root growth before the ground freezes, it also delays thawing in Spring. This prevents premature sprouting should there be an unusually warm spell in Winter. Those are not uncommon here... a prolonged early thaw as recently as 2021 tricked fruit trees into flowering, and the subsequent freeze destroyed most of that year's crop (including mine). Unmulched garlic might not be killed if it sprouted then underwent a hard freeze, but it would likely be stunted to some degree.


    The other potential benefit of mulch is that if a green-cut material is used (such as hay) it will begin to break down relatively quickly, releasing some nutrients as it does so. i prefer to use a grass/clover hay, and other than whatever material may be turned under before planting, add no fertilizer other than that.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Re vernalization of garlic, I see a couple of references suggesting that, but most of the references for me growing locally, including our extension, make any mention of that. No, I didn't do that. Quite possibly it was already done on the bulbs that were sold in the nursery. Might be wise for a home-brew batch, though. My winter should accomodate that.

  • kevin9408
    2 months ago

    Dan, you got me wondering so I did a search for information, and I made a slight mistake only half true. Hardnecks require 6 to 12 weeks of cooling at least below 40 to 45 degrees to produce bulbs. Softnecks on the other hand do not require vernalization to produce a bulb, but chilling them in the fridge for two to six weeks and they will produce larger bulbs. Sorry for the mistake and did also find that purchased bulbs may have already been subjected to a cold period for the required amount of time. So your assumption that vernalization may have already been done before hand could indeed be correct. .


  • daninthedirt (USDA 8b, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Thanks. That makes some sense out of the fact that several sites recommended vernalization, and several never even brought it up. Now, I *think* I have softnecks, because I'm down south, but as I said, these were sold as strangely anonymous and with virtually no info. Also, instructions about how to GROW garlic may not bother with worries about bulb size. Next year, I'll make sure to chill them, if just to hope for larger bulbs.

    My mother has a stand of garlic in a large bed that self-produces a lot every year, so when I go to visit, I grab a bag of them. Though I think they are elephant garlic which is somewhat inferior, flavor-wise. I've never had to grow them myself. Just doing it out of curiosity this year.

  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    I do a couple rounds of mulch. As I harvest garlic, I rake last years mulch that sat on the bed all summer into the garden path to mulch there. I put down a green mulch layer over the bed along with some quick growing stuff till it's time to plant in garlic in the fall. When I pull the quick grow stuff, I leave the green mulch- it's usually pretty well broken down. Usually gets mixed in as I'm raking and smoothing the bed for reset. After I plant in the garlic, I lay down an inch or two of pine straw.

    I don't know if it really helps with heaves or not. But it sure does help with weed supression and keeping the bed evenly moist during the summer.

    zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin thanked beesneeds
  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    2 months ago

    I've seen zero emergence on my garlic since I planted on Halloween. We've had several lows in the teens since then, but the soil is now thawed. I'm going to mulch with a few inches of shredded leaves today and cover the bed with some hardware cloth to keep the mulch in place and the tree rats out.

    I've dug one of my horseradish beds a couple weeks ago and got it processed last weekend. I've got 5 pints of HR in the freezer plus a couple more left from last year. I'm going to leave my other 3'x3' bed until next fall to see what 2 year old roots look like.

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