Sunday, October 22, 2006

Garlic discoveries

It was Thursday when I noticed my garlic was up. Not all varieties, but a few. This is a new phase of garlic gardening for me. I’ve never actually been here when they pop up.

On closer examination yesterday I noticed that one of the Rocamboles, Sandpoint, was coming up as doubles. Six out of the ten I planted were doubles. This can be easily avoided with careful planting. Doubles hide inside the larger cloves. They have a single wrapper that is home to two (and sometimes three) cloves. The result is when you plant them that you have two heads of garlic competing for the same space and nutrients and you end up with inferior bulb size. If you are careful when you plant, you can feel the ridge inside the wrapper. You have the option of opening the skin and separating the two cloves and planting them bare in the ground, or simply using cloves that are definitely singles.

Well somehow this particular variety had me fooled when I was planting. So I decided to look underground and see if I could separate the doubles and replant.

I put my trowel in as deep as it would go sure that I was well below root level. To my surprise there were 6-8 inch roots on these guys! And since I had planted the cloves a good four inches down this was a one foot long plant already. And they had only been in the ground for 15 days. Yowza! I had no idea that garlic went to work so diligently before the winter set in.

I carefully separated the young plants and replanted one of the cloves in the original hole and the other in a separate bed. I did this for 3 of the 6 doubles. We’ll see what happens.


Justin said...

Hi Leslie,

I planted my garlic around Colombus day and they are poping up just now. Do you think they will survive Massachusetts' winter?

Leslie said...

Hi Justin! Yes, I do think they will survice. In fact if they are stiff necked garlic they will thrive in the Massachusetts winter. Just be sure to cover them with 3-5 inches of straw or mulch. They are busy putting down DEEP roots right now. h

Justin said...

Thanks for your comments. I'll cover them.