Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print
daninthedirt

gave my garlic a haircut today

daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
last month
last modified: last month

This is my first year seriously growing garlic. They were put in in November, and the plants are now large, more than two feet tall. But many of the older, broad leaves are brown and dry. There are many bright green long thin-shaft leaves/shoots popping up alongside the green broad older leaves. I've trimmed off all the brown/dead leaves. Maybe unnecessary, but the plants certainly don't need them anymore, and the bed just looks cleaner. But this is totally unlike the onions, just adjacent to them, that are completely green, and bulbing beautifully. Is this normal behavior for garlic, where leaves just start dying long before maturity?

Comments (14)

  • gardengrl66 z5
    last month

    I grow garlic every year (different zone to be sure). I wonder if those thinner leaves your describe are the "scapes" coming up? That usually precedes the bulbing by a few weeks. With our garlic you don't see the bulbs like you do with onions, they are deeper under the ground and the only way to tell is to pull a plant, and see how it looks. Fortunately whatever is under ground at this point will taste like garlic and so not all is lost by pulling a "test" plant!

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    last month

    Any chance you can share a pic? I'm having a hard time imagining your "many bright green long thin-shaft leaves/shoots" description. Garlic plants grow a single stalk with newer leaves emerging higher up on the stalk. If new leaves are popping up at the base of the plant or from below soil level then it makes me wonder if your bulbs had already divided and are now resprouting.

    Rodney

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    last month

    Also, leaves dying is the sign that the plants have matured. Like that's exactly what you are waiting for. There are no other signs of maturity. When about half the leaves have died you harvest. The plant will die back regardless of bulb size so if the bulbs are small when this happens, well, then you'll just have to use small bulbs. They aren't like a carrot where you can leave them in the ground longer to get bigger.

    Rodney

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    Original Author
    last month

    Well, when I dig down, there is no indication that the bulbs have matured. I don't expect maturation for another few months. I guess what I'm seeing in these thin-shaft leaves is the pointy end of maybe quarter-inch wide new leaves. Now, garlic scapes are stems with flowers on the ends, no? These have no flowers. None at all. Not sure if this picture does the situation justice. You can see in the center one of these vary narrow new leaves, and there are a couple of other narrow ones. You can also see a lot of brown. As I said, all my onions remain completely green, even though they are less than a month from harvest.



  • robert567
    last month

    These don't look right, that is not exactly how the leaves turn brown when starting to go dormant, it looks like they are resprouting new growth, like Rodney stated. They do look "old". You may have soft neck, which do not form a flower scape.


    You should pull a few and see if you can tell what is going on.

  • floraluk2
    last month

    I agree. That isn't normal browning. They look diseased. Look at some images of garlic white rot and see what you think.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Well the trouble with white rot is that it infects onions as well. I've got fifty sweet onions right next to these garlic plants that are all doing great. The garlic ARE soft neck - California Early. To the extent they are sprouting new growth, may I presume they will eventually mature?

  • theforgottenone1013 (SE MI zone 5b/6a)
    last month

    Agree with the others. Definitely not normal and I'm not sure what is to blame. Maybe a virus? No idea whether they will produce bulbs or not, but the good thing is that garlic is useable at any stage of growth or size.

    Rodney

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    Original Author
    23 days ago
    last modified: 23 days ago

    Well, my garlic continued to brown, and I figured I had to dig it up, scrap it, and plant something else. SURPRISE! I dig it up, and the bulbs are LARGE. So the answer is that my garlic was browning because it was ready to harvest. Now, this garlic was planted with my onions, in November, and I was figuring it would mature well after my 1015s. I had no real schedule on this, because I had never grown garlic before, but I thought I had read that they took longer than onions to mature. But my 1015s are also huge, and will come out next week, right on schedule, as they've done for the past many years. Learn something new every day!

    So, let's see. How do I store harvested garlic for replanting this coming November? Do I separate the cloves, or keep them in whole bulbs? I assume I just dry everything first? For eating, like the onions, I was intending to dry them for a few weeks and then tie them all up. Are the ones I save to plant just the ones that I don't eat? Is it that simple?

  • beesneeds
    23 days ago

    Yes, let your garlic cure with the greens on if you want to have them for storage. If they are softneck, you can braid the greens. Leave the roots on too. As the garlic cures, the greens and roots will dry and it lets you know when it's done. Make sure you keep them in a place with good air flow and out of sunlight for curing. After it's cured, you can store seed garlic like you do eating garlic.

    I tend to choose the best and biggest cloves in head first for seed stock. So do garlic seed sellers. After culling out the seed stock, we eat the rest.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    I am still somewhat puzzled about my garlic. Harvest was excellent, but they were in the ground for only 180 days. The DTM is supposed to be about 240 for these, I believe. Now, I just harvested my 1015s, which were adjacent, and the crop was the best I've ever had. Each of my fifty onions are more than a pound. I planted them the standard 4 inches apart, and by the time I did harvest, they were practically touching. Now this was the first year I fertilized them all seriously. I applied ammonium nitrate every three weeks. I'm wondering if that made the difference in onions and garlic.

  • robert567
    15 days ago

    You have a warm winter, your garlic doesn't go dormant like in cold winters, so I'm not surprised it grew similar to the onion plants. Just like the onions, you want the garlic done before summer Texas heat.


    Did you figure out about the new sprouting stems? Were some cloves growing? You may want to eat those first.

  • daninthedirt (USDA 9a, HZ9, CentTX, Sunset z30, Cfa)
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Bottom line is that upon harvest, bulbs looked pretty normal. The new stems didn't seem to make any difference, though it might have been interesting to see if the new stems came out of new cloves.

    Not sure about dormancy. I planted the cloves, and they came up promptly and grew. Do you expect something different in colder regions? Ah, but these were newly purchased cloves to plant. Maybe these cloves had been pre-exposed to low temperatures for a month or so in order to skip the regular dormancy period? Does the regular DTM *include* a month or two of dormancy before sprouting? That would explain a lot. Does this mean that I should refrigerate my new cloves for a month before planting? My soil temperature NEVER gets below about 50F.