dandt1

Creole garlic umbels/bulbils

dandt1
6 months ago

Quick question for any experienced garlic growers. This is my first year growing a creole subtype (Ajo Rojo). I'm in zone 7 and it seems that looking at lower leaves, my creole garlic should be ready to harvest (photo included) Seems a little early (although I know it can depend on climate and various factors). But also wanted to try to harvest some of the umbels and bulbils to expand my crop. The umbel looks really rather small. I know creole garlic bulbils are in fact smaller than many other varieties but my question is 1) do they look mature enough already? and 2) if not, what would you do: snip some and put in water to allow them to further mature? Thanks for any input.





Comments (11)

  • Liz Gross (5a, WI)
    6 months ago

    Looks like you still have the scapes on top. First, I'd snip those off and make some omelets or pesto. Then the garlic can probably take another week at least, maybe a couple. I wait for 3-4 leaves to die. Not sure why you'd worry about saving any umbels. Just harvest all the garlic, let it dry, store it appropriately, and then plant the largest cloves this fall for next year's crop.


    I'm in zone 5a, so I'm used to a different season from yours, but I suspect the process is largely the same.

  • dandt1
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Main reason I was considering saving umbels/bulbils was to expand my crop more rapidly. A single umbel could result in 40+ new garlic (albeit not full size for a couple years). I definitely have done the traditional way saving the largest cloves and replanting, which I will do again. Just wanted to try growing from bulbul stage as well. But I wasn’t sure if these umbels looked mature yet. I was actually snipping some off to use the scapes but wanted to keep some on to harvest bulbils.


    In terms of leaves, several already have about 5 leaves dead already.

  • Liz Gross (5a, WI)
    6 months ago

    Ah, gotcha. Sorry I can't help with that. I've never tried saving the umbels, since I always had plenty of seed garlic to plant from each crop.

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
    6 months ago

    The scapes need to stay on a lot longer. For the largest bulbils, leave a few bulbs to grow on and mature the stalk with the bulbils. The wrappers on the bulbs will break down before harvest but you can use those cloves for fall planting along with the bulbils. Bulbils are a great way to dramatically increase seed stock. It usually takes a couple years to get good sized bulbs from bulbils. Make sure to mark the planting rows well as the early sprouts are thin - almost grasslike in many varieities. The first year you may only get small rounds. Those can be replanted and will grow good bulbs the next season. There are some garlic varieties that have fewer, but larger bulbils. Those may grow bulbs the first season. I don't know about the size of Ajo Rojo.

  • OldDutch
    6 months ago

    The scapes need to straighten out and stretch. They will open a head that is obvious and the bulbils in that head will also be obvious. You will have to allow those bulbil plants longer before you harvest what will almost certainly be smaller bulbs in order to get the most mature bulbils. IMO bulbils take enough extra time and effort that one is usually pretty close to even simply by saving a few extra cloves to plant back year by year, and then you don't need the extra nursery beds either.

    What you have there in general is not yet ready to harvest either. Still too green and way too green if you are going to wait for the bulbils.

  • dandt1
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Okay thanks everyone for the input. I’ve seen the bulbils burst out of umbels on my Turban garlic but haven’t grown Creole garlic before. Knew the bulbils are supposed to be significantly smaller so wasn’t sure what to expect the umbels to look like. Just thought this Creole was getting close to harvest given about half the lower leaves are dead.

  • ekgrows
    6 months ago

    If half of the leaves are dead, It's ready. Dig up a plant or 2 to check, but unless a disease is killing your garlic - when half of the leaves are dead - it's ready. Any longer, and you'll have very little wrapper left. Leave a few in the ground to flower, then harvest the bulbils from those.

    Every turban I've grown has behaved more like a soft-neck type - where the bulbils form mid stalk, and are formed early. They are ready when the garlic is harvested. True hardback types need to have the scape flower to produce them. Hope this helps.


  • dandt1
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Thanks for everyone’s input. So for the bulbils, do they need any special care or preparation before planting in the fall? I think I’ve read where some say just separate them and store in paper bag or something.

  • OldDutch
    2 months ago

    Probably best to leave the head together, whole, until it is time to plant. Paper bag works but the bulbils of some types are so tiny they may get lost in the seams. Handle them gently but they don't need to be treated differently otherwise, just that they will be ready to cure quite a bit later than normally harvested bulbs. And you may have to be careful not to scatter the tinier varieties.

  • dandt1
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Appreciate the input. My plan is to try to grow both bulbs and bulbils this upcoming fall in order to more rapidly expand my overall production in the next couple of seasons. Will be an interesting experiment as I’ll be trying this with both creole and turban varieties.

  • zqnmegan
    2 months ago

    I slip an organza bag over the umbel and write the varietal group and description of the bulb inside the bag and pull tight the drawstring. When fully cured, I just cut the scape and plant the entire umbel, the bulbils are tiny and take up to 3 seasons to size up, our winters are too cold for creoles so that don’t grow very large. Love the favour, storage and colour of the cloves.