An All Things Plants Favorite: Garlic

By dave
August 27, 2015

What is the absolute easiest edible plant you can grow? I spent my entire morning contemplating that question, and nothing came to mind that beats garlic. As everyone knows, it's a bulb, planted in the fall, grown through the winter, and harvested in very early summer. It requires no special care during the growing season, and has absolutely innumerable uses. Let's talk about this incredible plant.

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Aug 26, 2015 8:11 PM CST
Name: Gigi Adenium
Florida (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Roses Plumerias Orchids Miniature Gardening Hibiscus
Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
@drdawg, I know you grow and sell heirloom garlics.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite pastime. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/c... plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g...
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Aug 26, 2015 8:22 PM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Yep, Gigi, that is my one and only "cash-crop". It funds my orchid addiction. Whistling

Speaking of garlic, I have noticed a tendency of many of the commercial growers/businesses to begin to sell their gourmet garlic, not by the 1/4 lb. or lb., but by the bulb. The bulb is typically and same price as their 1/4 lb. was last year. I have contacted two of the major sellers of heirloom, gourmet garlic and asked what I was buying. Was it a 1/4 lb. bulb or a 1 oz. bulb? That difference in price per pound is tremendous. Neither one of those sellers had the guts to respond to my question. I wonder why? Whistling

I will continue to sell my garlic by the pound. I just wish I could grow more. Sighing!
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
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Aug 26, 2015 8:42 PM CST
Name: Patty
Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Plumerias Orchids Garden Photography Birds Garden Art
Miniature Gardening Cat Lover Butterflies Bookworm Bromeliad Region: Florida
Can we grow garlic here in Sarasota? I buy enough garlic (I am half Italian! lol) that I wish there was garlic stock I could buy! I never thought about growing it here though...and if I can grow it... can I cure/dry it in all this humidity?
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Aug 26, 2015 9:17 PM CST
Name: Gigi Adenium
Florida (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Roses Plumerias Orchids Miniature Gardening Hibiscus
Region: Florida Container Gardener Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents Butterflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
I have never done one, I grew onions one time.
©by Gigi Plumeria "Gardening is my favorite pastime. I grow whatever plant that catches my attention." Plumeria Photos http://www.flickr.com/groups/c... plant photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g...
Last edited by GigiPlumeria Aug 26, 2015 9:18 PM Icon for preview
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Aug 27, 2015 5:29 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Patty, last question first. You are not much more humid than I am, here in Mississippi. The only time we get a break from our 70-90% relative humidity is when we get cold fronts through. Some of those fronts will never make it down to Sarasota though. Regardless of the humidity, you just want to cure it where it is not in direct sunlight and can be kept dry. I cure my garlic in one of my shaded greenhouses, which by the end of May will be basically empty of plants.

There are several folks in central/southern FL that purchase my garlic, and I am sure some of those plant it. Check with @florange, @orchidgal, @gardenglory, and with @p1mkw and see if they can tell you anything about growing it in Florida.

I have read that Cuban Purple grows well in coastal areas and in Florida, but I have never grown it. You might want to plant a Creole variety(s) in any case and a few to look for is the Creole Red, Ajo Rojo, Rose de Lautrac, Labera Purple, and Pescadero Red. There are a few others but I have grown all I listed. Creole is more expensive and often really hard to find.

You would plant your garlic later than I do. Your extension service can give you advice on growing garlic and tell you its planting time.
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
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Aug 27, 2015 6:08 AM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
I'm not that knowledgeable about garlic but was given a local heirloom start of garlic years ago. It is planted and left in ground as a perennial. It is dug only as needed. You will find patches of it growing wild in ditches or pastures.

The elderly man that shared with me told me that the old timers believed it also repelled snakes so they would plant around chicken pens, etc.

Winter grower here. It puts on new growth in October, growing through winter, scaping in May and the foliage dying back in June for approximate seasons.
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
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Aug 27, 2015 6:34 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
I never knew you could just leave it in the ground year after year, Kristi. I just assumed it would rot. Live and learn. I plant all mine from mid-October till early November, depending on when I have the garden cleared and have the time.

Generally, only the hardnecks form scapes and occasionally a softneck will. I had one softneck variety form scapes this year and I had never seen that before. I thought I had it mislabeled, but when I contacted a commercial grower, I was told that the variety often formed scapes. Not every variety of my hardneck will form scapes. Some varieties do consistently though.
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
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Aug 27, 2015 6:36 AM CST
Garden.org Admin
Name: Dave Whitinger
Southlake, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Garden Research Contributor Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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pod said:I'm not that knowledgeable about garlic but was given a local heirloom start of garlic years ago. It is planted and left in ground as a perennial. It is dug only as needed. You will find patches of it growing wild in ditches or pastures.


One of our local elderly men does this. He has a patch of garlic that grows as a perennial and he only digs as much as he wants.
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Aug 27, 2015 6:42 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
I wonder if this "perennial" planting works because you are in such a dry area compared to me, and you have extremely well-draining soil. I sit on clay....... thick, heavy, awful clay. It is either thick molasses or like concrete. Either way, it simply does not drain. That's why I had to build my raised garden so high, 30-36" depth.
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 27, 2015 9:38 AM CST
Name: Patty
Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Plumerias Orchids Garden Photography Birds Garden Art
Miniature Gardening Cat Lover Butterflies Bookworm Bromeliad Region: Florida
Thanks for the info Ken...not sure I really want to start another 'project' at this time...but will keep it in mind for the future (cause I'm sure I'll have more time on my hands then... Rolling on the floor laughing )
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Aug 27, 2015 10:35 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Thumbs up
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 27, 2015 4:12 PM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
Plant Identifier Region: Georgia Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter Garden Sages Bookworm
@drdawg,
I just looked at your tropical plant site and don't see garlic; it it listed on a different site? Thanks.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
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Aug 27, 2015 4:29 PM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Greene, I sold out (actually over-sold) of all my garlic the first week of June. I won't have any more until next spring. I don't even bother to list it on my website. I have a waiting list of folks that purchase it every year and additionally, I post it in the "Classifieds" in mid-May so that ATP subscribers can get in on the action. The early bird gets the worm. Whistling
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 27, 2015 7:11 PM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
Plant Identifier Region: Georgia Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter Garden Sages Bookworm
Not a problem. I always try to support the small grower before ordering from the 'big guys'.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
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Aug 27, 2015 8:07 PM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Get in early Greene. Whistling
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 27, 2015 9:00 PM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Rabbit Keeper Frugal Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level
Plant Identifier Region: Georgia Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter Garden Sages Bookworm
Not me. If it weren't for the last minute, I would get nothing accomplished. I'll buy locally.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
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Aug 28, 2015 5:13 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Okey, dokey.
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 29, 2015 10:21 PM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
drdawg said: Generally, only the hardnecks form scapes and occasionally a softneck will. I had one softneck variety form scapes this year and I had never seen that before. I thought I had it mislabeled, but when I contacted a commercial grower, I was told that the variety often formed scapes. Not every variety of my hardneck will form scapes. Some varieties do consistently though.

I frequently confuse myself on this. Is it hardneck or softneck that is generally best suited to the southern climate?

The area of Texas that I am in is very similar to Louisiana and other points to the east. I am near the LA border and it is pine trees, red clay, excessive moisture through winter with the soil turning to concrete in summer. Sound similar to yours?

I have moved my bed of garlic a few times over the years and will always have volunteers pop up in the old bed for the next few years even though I thought I had dug all the bulbs. This same old timer told me that was the small brown corms that would develop a few years later. I will say that with the density of our soil, the garlic forms smaller bulbs that you might want to produce.

And, I agree with Daves' comment that this is the easiest edible plant I grow ~ right next to multiplier onions which I leave in ground as perennial also.
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
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Aug 30, 2015 5:38 AM CST
Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Bromeliad Vegetable Grower Region: United States of America Tropicals Plumerias Orchids
Region: Mississippi Master Gardener: Mississippi Hummingbirder Cat Lover Composter Seller of Garden Stuff
Softnecks and Creole garlic are better suited for southern and coastal areas. Your area is a lot like mine here in Starkville, MS, and I grow all three categories of garlic. They all seem to grow well. I do have the garlic in well-draining soil and the majority of it grows in a raised bed. The garlic you see coming up may be hardneck and the scapes "seeded" the garden. Do you know what variety(s) of garlic you grew the last few years?
drdawg (Dr. Kenneth Ramsey)

I don't have gray hair, I have a lot of wisdom-highlights. I must be very wise.
Image
Aug 30, 2015 6:50 AM CST
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Herbs Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 2
drdawg said: Do you know what variety(s) of garlic you grew the last few years?

No... the only one I've ever grown is that passalong heirloom that I got from an old friend. Unfortunately he is near passing along so I can't pick his gardening brain any longer. He said in early days this garlic used to be a cash crop here and there would be fields of it growing. Thanks for asking though. Thank You!
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch

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