The Q&A Archives: Small Garlic

Question: I planted extra select garlic in the spring according to directions sent with bulbs; all the tops have died back.
The bulbs are less than 1" in diameter. I planted in Black Dirt in raised bed planters;any suggestions? Should
we leave them in? Will they come back next year?

Answer: Spring planted garlic will often result in small cloves unless it is planted very early so as to allow full leaf development before bulbing starts in response to the long days and warmer temperatures of summer. This is why many gardeners plant their garlic in the fall. Most gardeners lift their garlic for harvest and then replant only the largest and best individual cloves for the subsequent year's crop. (The small bulbs should be edible even though they are small.)

Generally speaking garlic is not difficult to grow, but it does grow best in a loose, crumbly soil that is rich and has had lots of organic matter worked into it. In addition, a balanced fertilizer can be worked in prior to planting, say three pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet.

You might also wish to perform some basic soil tests to find out what amendments, if any, your soil needs. Your County Extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

Good luck with your garlic!

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