Garlic-help required! – Gardening & Smallholding – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Garlic-help required!

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Topic starter
(@ozchick)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago

Hello,

I'm sure there's someone out there who can help me.

I'm a newish but not novice gardener and I'm having problems with growing garlic.
Last year I planted cloves in February/March and they came up quickly producing 20-30cm high strong shoots. These remained green for a few months and then dried and shrivelled. I dug up the bulbs and found small spring garlic which were lovely but not what I was after.
Someone told me I should have planted them in autumn!
So this time I planted cloves toward the end of last year and again strong shoots were produced quickly but again they have now dried and shrivelled. I dug up a lovely plump spring bulb which when cut showed signs of cloves beginning to form and it was very delicious in my pasta sauce tonight but still not what I'm looking for!

My soil is wonderful. Not heavy clay nor sand, well draining but moisture retentive and I easily grow most other things! The plants haven't suffered from lack of water (a chance would be a fine thing!)
What am I doing wrong?

Help please!

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2 Replies
Community Member
(@jackal)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 2
Posted by: @ozchick

Hello,

I'm sure there's someone out there who can help me.

I'm a newish but not novice gardener and I'm having problems with growing garlic.
Last year I planted cloves in February/March and they came up quickly producing 20-30cm high strong shoots. These remained green for a few months and then dried and shrivelled. I dug up the bulbs and found small spring garlic which were lovely but not what I was after.
Someone told me I should have planted them in autumn!
So this time I planted cloves toward the end of last year and again strong shoots were produced quickly but again they have now dried and shrivelled. I dug up a lovely plump spring bulb which when cut showed signs of cloves beginning to form and it was very delicious in my pasta sauce tonight but still not what I'm looking for!

My soil is wonderful. Not heavy clay nor sand, well draining but moisture retentive and I easily grow most other things! The plants haven't suffered from lack of water (a chance would be a fine thing!)
What am I doing wrong?

Help please!

Plant your garlic cloves 2 to 3 months before winter. They have to grow through winter cold to activate the vernilization process which makes them split into cloves in the bulb. Do not plant imported garlic (quite often found in supermarkets etc as they will have been irradiated to kill germs/bugs  from infecting other countries fields etc.) Find a local farmer/grower source to obtain locally grown cloves. Mulch your soil well with Horse/cattle manure, cut grass,untreated wood shavings or good compost. Feed with high source of nitrogen while starting to grow (organic or commercial,your choice) once you have 6 to eight leaves switch to 2-3-4 fertilizer and feed once every 3 to 4 weeks. As weather warms up and a third of the leaves start dying off let the ground dry out for about 2-3 weeks and then dig them out.Store in dry warm/coolish area and do not wash them. (Will get mouldy)

Cheers Dave,happy farming!

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Community Member
(@jackal)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 2

Ps. The larger the cloves you plant,the larger the bulbs you will end up with. Make sure you save your largest bulbs at harvest to replant their cloves for next season to be rewarded with possibly larger bulbs again. Do not plant the cloves too close to each other as they will compete for nutrients and clear weeds out for same reason. The variant/type you plant also affects size: egyptian pink grows smaller than egyptian white but the flavour/strength is more pungent in the pink one (my favourite)

Do not water too wet, drainage is important and they prefer just moist soil.

Cheers, Dave.

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Posts: 1296
VIP Member
(@joe-k)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago

For years I have had the same problems as you are having & I really look forward to your post getting some solid replies :)

Tried planting just about every season always with same results

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Posts: 2381
VIP Member
(@x-camone)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago

Could it be rust? Starts off with yellowish/orange or brown spots and streaks on leaves, spreads rapidly and can kill off the top growth completely. If this happens before the bulbs form properly they will suffer and be stunted or non-existent. Even if they do form properly they may be affected in store.

Mine are bad on top this year but I haven't lifted any bulbs yet.

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Posts: 2841
VIP Member
(@shelby)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago

could it be that you are using the shop bought cloves?

In the farmers market they sell special seed garlic bulbs which you split and plant in the autumn.

Not sure what the difference is but that's where the locals get theirs from.

Also broad bean seeds,dried peas etc all are stored in large buckets and you scoop up he amount required and they weigh them.

G.

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Posts: 1296
VIP Member
(@joe-k)
Member
Joined: 13 years ago

Hi Shelby you have made a very valid point !
I use shop bought cloves & the bulbs are imported as the carton say's from Spain

I wonder if the seed the growers use is a F1 Hybrid - if it is then as far as I know the seed saved will not grow true , but then I stand to be corrected if I'm wrong.

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