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Old September 19, 2017   #1
JoParrott
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Default Need advice on garlic

I have grown garlic for years with quite good success. I don't use seed garlic- I buy organic garlic. I have grown it in the same place, amending each year with steer manure and compost. My harvests for 2 years have been just average- I think I will use a new location this year. Question: Is the size of the harvested clove dependent upon the size that is planted? Or is the soil fertility more important? I appreciate any input--thanks- Jo in WA
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Old September 19, 2017   #2
bitterwort
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I vote for both--and would throw in variety too. I started ten years ago with some unknown variety garlic from a local farmers market. Individual cloves were small at first, but I've been saving and planting the largest cloves each year and now the individual cloves are huge, mostly an inch in diameter each if it's been a good year.

At planting time we add plenty of compost but also a good supply of granular fertilizer and mix it all in well; then we cover the entire bed with a thick layer a ground-up leaves. We try to add liquid fertilizer a couple of times in the spring as well once they're up and have started growing. At this point, the variety we've been growing and selecting the longest fairly consistently produces heads that are at least 3 inches in diameter, with 5 or sometime 6 cloves each. I started a different variety several years later, and planting only the largest cloves each year has increased their size as well.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Salaam
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Just my experience... I too use composted manure - sheep, cow, and chicken - only. I've never mulched, but this year for the first time I'll use what you see here:

http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=44655

But, I use local seed garlic, and I think perhaps that's important because it's acclimatized. As for size, this year's was large compared with what I planted. I believe the resulting size should be only somewhat larger than what was planted.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Gardeneer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoParrott View Post
I have grown garlic for years with quite good success. I don't use seed garlic- I buy organic garlic. I have grown it in the same place, amending each year with steer manure and compost. My harvests for 2 years have been just average- I think I will use a new location this year. Question: Is the size of the harvested clove dependent upon the size that is planted? Or is the soil fertility more important? I appreciate any input--thanks- Jo in WA
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Question: Is the size of the harvested clove dependent upon the size that is planted? Or is the soil fertility more important?
I plant only the biggest outer cloves, never the tiny inner ones.
To my understanding , bigger cloves grow better garlic. But the size of garlic might be variety dependent too.

Garlic being a leafy vegetable can benefit from extra nitrogen.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
PhilaGardener
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Interesting - my best performing garlic also is a local farmer's market!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
bower
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It is certainly true that the size of cloves planted plays into the size of next year's bulb, so planting the largest is generally advised.
Soil fertility also plays a part, and IMO spacing does as well. Larger spacing makes it easier to get big bulbs, so space wide if you can. I planted mine about 8 inches apart and they were nice but at the farm we planted a foot or 18 inches apart and they were huge, from the same sized cloves. Granted the farm soil is better than mine too. And depth of planting has an effect. If you plant too shallow or too deep you will get smaller bulbs. Rule of thumb that seems to work best, is height of the clove X 2 above it. so make your hole 3 clove heights deep. We had a hundred foot row of garlic that went over a rocky patch, and that area they were mostly planted shallower - the bulbs were not up to normal size. Yes fertility could play a part, but within that rocky patch the only normal sized bulbs were the ones that were planted deeper. So the depth did play a part IMO.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
JRinPA
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Originally Posted by PhilaGardener View Post
Interesting - my best performing garlic also is a local farmer's market!
We have walking garlic that has been wild in the garden since the 70s when my parent's bought it. At times we would dig it up and thin and transplant. It seems to grow just fine, here. In the next month I am building a raised bed to keep the dogs out and make it more orderly with row planting.

I don't know garlic but it is probably purple stripe. I don't know where it came from, but the house has been greek owned since the beginning (50s) and the original owners had dates or figs and other Mediterranean crops. They dug up many plants and took them with when they moved, but the garlic, pear, and plum trees remained. The plum tree got black rot of some sort when I was a kid but the pear tree is still going at this point. Time will tell if the lantern flies destroy it.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
JoParrott
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OK- I am prepping my garden for next year- moving my garlic bed because the harvest had declined. I have inherited about 200 lbs of fresh chicken poop- it is moist- I don't know if new chicken doo is hot or not. will it be OK to add it now to the garlic bed and then plant the garlic in about 2-3 weeks? or should I add old manure. I will mix it in the rest of the garden for next spring planting. Thanks for any help- Jo
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
imp
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Chicken poop is very very "hot". Compost it before you use it or put it on top of a bed you won't be using all winter, let it break down that way. High in N normally.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
JoParrott
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Thanks, Imp--
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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You are welcome.

About the only poop you can use directly without burning your plants up would be rabbit poop. All others must be aged or composted before use.

Your chicken poop will be a great nitrogen booster after it ages and great especially for corns or something that has a need to put up "structure" before fruiting. Lucky you to get so much!!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
JoParrott
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OK, I can use some more advice from all of you good people--- I have sifted the fresh chicken poop, and there is a full wheelbarrow of it. I don't have space to make a compost pile or do layer composting. Will it age and compost in the wheelbarrow, or does it need to be mixed with other materials? I have dried leaves, but no aerated containers to put them in. Will it be OK to just put it in a big plastic half barrel to keep for later?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #13
imp
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If you can, just layer it with leaves on the ground, it will compost there. Containers without drainage will sour compost.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoParrott View Post
I have inherited about 200 lbs of fresh chicken poop
Jo, If I may suggest that you rub vick vapor rub inside your nostrils? Chicken poo is a really good fertilizer but lord honey the aroma!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
JoParrott
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If you can, just layer it with leaves on the ground, it will compost there. Containers without drainage will sour compost.
That's the problem---I don't have any space to layer it on the ground--my back yard is a small area and I am using every square inch.
There is no odor to it at all-- maybe it is not as fresh as I thought-

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