Ask a Question forum: Questions about planting garlic

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Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 4, 2015 8:33 AM CST
These bulbs came from my grandparents' old homeplace. They're both gone & I'd like to plant these. A friend of theirs dug these up & said they were garlic but they don't look like the garlic I'm used to seeing in stores. These were in north Louisiana & were prolific from what I remember my grandfather saying. (1) ARE these garlic? (2) Any way to find out what kind they are? (3) When & how do I plant? ALL help & advice MUCH appreciated!!!!

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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 4, 2015 9:05 AM CST
Welcome! Kathy.

The picture is not too clear when I click on it for a close-up view. Are there actually cloves here or just a single bulb? What is the diameter of the bulbs?

Perhaps this is one of the "wild" garlics. How about cutting into one (after checking to see if actual cloves exist) and tasting it. This could be an onion and not a garlic.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Dec 4, 2015 10:33 AM CST
Testing wouldn't hurt. It is very possible that those are yearling bulblets. One year old grown from seed (bulbil). If they are planted to field they will look much more like their hard-neck ancestors next June.

In any event plant them to field now. Harvest next June-July.
Name: Kathy
Arkansas (Zone 8b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Region: Arkansas Region: Louisiana Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathy547
Dec 4, 2015 10:55 AM CST
Hopefully this is a better picture!!! I cut into a couple as you can see. I think I can make out where I can separate cloves but I could be mistaken. The bulbs are about the size of a quarter. Not a strong garlic smell but it does taste like garlic. These were given to me months ago so I don't know if that makes a difference. If they're wild, we can still eat them right? My papaw never had a problem but he was backwoods & ate things I'd never touch.

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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 4, 2015 11:47 AM CST
As Tom suggested, I would plant them and see what develops. Again, (and my eyes are not the best) I cannot enlarge the picture without it becoming blurry. If these were growing from this year's seeds (hardneck), they would be this size. They will enlarge into "real" garlic bulbs next year.

Kathy, take a moment and go to "Profile". Then update your profile with your location. Then, every time you post, your location will show in the upper right hand corner. Knowing ones location is always helpful.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Dec 4, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Hi Kathy, and welcome to ATP!

I really hope you do plant some of them. Especially if they naturalize or establish themselves, they'll be a remembrance even if you seldom cook with them. See what they look like in bloom.

And if you do, you can send photos and we would all get to see your papaw's backwoods garlic! (Or onion, or wild garlic, or ...)

>> In any event plant them to field now. Harvest next June-July.

As a wise Ken once said:

"I plant my garlic approximately 2-3" deep and space the cloves on a 4" center.
... I cover all of my garlic with 4-6" of leaves."

http://garden.org/ideas/view/drdawg/2305/Garlic-Part-II/

My guess is that, if it isn't easy to separate the cloves, plant most of those heads or bulbils whole. Maybe experiment with trying to divide a few, just to see whether there really are cloves.

(P.S. - Thanks for the silica gel thumbs-up! If you try it, just don't seal several tablespoons-full of silica gel tightly with a small amount of seed, or dry seed, and leave it for weeks with NO humidity indicator. The seeds would suffer if the RH went below far below 15% and stayed there.) Sealing silica gel with a batch of not-fully-dry-seeds will absorb a lot of the silica gel's "desiccating power" right away, and then it won;t be able to pull the RH below 15%. My plastic jars don't seal well enough to keep the gel "pristine", but a glass jar with rubber seals probably would.)

(Edited to add: cross-posted!)
[Last edited by RickCorey - Dec 4, 2015 11:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Dec 4, 2015 1:46 PM CST
Welcome to All Things Plants, Kathy!

I agree with Tom (Coppice) that they could very well be garlic bulbs that haven't divided into cloves; mine will do that if it's planted in the spring and then harvested that summer, instead of planting in the fall (my growing conditions are obviously much different than yours, however!). I would go ahead and plant them now, whole (unless you can definitely make out a separation of cloves without cutting into them), pointy end up, about 3" deep. Depending on what they do next spring/summer, it should be much easier to figure out just what they are. Once they're up and growing you can post more photos here and hopefully get a better ID. I think it's doubtful that you will be able to find out the exact variety of garlic that you have (assuming that it IS garlic), but we should be able to help you narrow it down to the type of garlic -- at least to hardneck or softneck. I hope you have good luck with growing it -- you will have a true heirloom passed down from your grandparents! Smiling

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