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Photos of what might be 'Italian' garlic, just pulled this morning. I bought the planting material from an Italian woman at a market, so whether the variety originated in Italy or not, I don't know.

Anyway ... I planted out the individual bulbs in mid-March 2009 and they grew quickly (in relation to Elephant Garlic) to be ready to harvest now in mid-July.

I notice some bulblets on the stem - second and third pix - are these plantlets to be put in the ground now or do I need to wait until Autumn again?

I've mostly grown Elephant Garlic which is a different species and with some differences in its life cycle to the traditional garlic.

Any info will be very useful :-)

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Wow those bulblets on the stem are interesting, I've not seen those before. I gues try half half and see what happens. Geez it was ready quickly - maybe I should check mine.

The variety looks a lot like one we get from Food Connect - I wonder if Wade would know?
On reflection, I probably bought the planting material from a Lockyer/Brisbane Valley farmer who sold potatoes, cabbages and garlic at the North Lakes farmer's market. Regardless ... the purple colour seems fairly common with garlics so it might not indicate a specific variety.

Yes, I was surprised how fast it was ready! I was looking at these half-fallen-over small plants and figuring they needed something (like what?!) and thought they'd be better off without the weeds. The weeds are now waiting for the next compost-making day and that's how I found out I had mature garlic sitting there waiting to be dug up. They're a bit small, 3 to 4 cloves is all I got per plant. But at least they are organic and home-grown and we'll enjoy them just the same.

If the plants don't look as though they are thriving, dig around and see what's what. I'm used to growing Elephant Garlic and those plants are *huge* and take well into the warm weather to mature.

I'll have a go at planting the bulblets and see what transpires.
i have been trying to grow garlic for the last 2-3 years with not much luck , a very good book i have VEGTABLES by Roger Phillips &Martyn Rix say this " Garlic is generally planted in spring , in climates with a cold winter , or autumn in Mediteranean climates. Single cloves are set firmly in the ground , in sandy soil in a warm position. Thease often make single solid bulbs called 'rounds' in the first year , and if kept overwinter and planted next spring / autumn , will form a large , multicloved bulb ". there is a lot of further info on the history etc but thats all in reference to cultivation . It does also say " In sotheast Asia , Dr Herklots records that garlic is often harvested when immature , and that the leaves and stem are used as well as the bulb . good luck with them , yours are far better than mine , which once again have done next to nothing , but i will leave them in untill spring .
Might depend on the micro-climate Chris ... they shoot by themselves if you put them into the soil (read that somewhere and found it worked!) but I reckon, if you have a cool spot but with enough light, planting in spring might work.

My garden is either a feast or famine with warmth and light. The back is shaded in winter except for a couple of spots where there's a gap in the trees (that's where the garlic is). The front is open to the west with sunlight for most of the day .

The double-event life-cycle quoted above sounds more like Elephant Garlic than the true garlic varieties I've tried to grow which yield a few cloves each time. There was some smart-arse farmer at the local farmer's market who was selling 'rounds' recently. I asked him if they would grow into cloves next year and he smugly told me they'd been 'treated in a special way' so they would not grow. The mind boggles at what mischief he'd been up to.

One of the large fruit and veg shops here (in Rothwell) sells 'garlic shoots' from China which are about a foot long, dark green and just tied each end. Garlic seems to have a flat leaf closer to a leek than an onion, these shoot-things look as though they are round but then I didn't check very closely.

Around Briz I believe garlic is a marginal crop - or should I say, the climate generally is marginal for garlic so wherever you get it to grow, you've had a win and a pat on the collective garlic-growing back is in order ;-)
I think the "garlic shoots" from China are the stalks of garlic chive flowers, I harvest mine when they are just buds and the stalks are so tender and delicious....
I was going to see if my garlic is bulbing up but have decided to be good and wait a bit longer, a few leaves are yellowing but mostly they look pretty healthy and grey - just impatient as usual!
I've eaten both those garlic shoots and garlic chive flowers from Asian grocers, the shoot stalks are round and much longer and thicker then the garlic chive flowers. It's got crunchy texture and a bit of garlicky flavour. We put garlic shoots in stirfrys and garlic chive flowers in omelettes... garlic chive is a good one to grow as they are perenials and suitable for our climate, which gives you a bit of garlic flavour when you have no garlic :)

About planting garlic, I've planted some cloves from a purple variety, and a white largish variety purchased from farmers markets in 2008 Autumn.. most were killed by alphids, and smoothered by weeds. There were a few which survived, and I dug one of the largish ones out and it was like a small onion bulbs with no segments. I left the rest in the ground, and I found they shoot again this Autumn. Will check what they did this time when they die off ~
I checked mine- they're not fat yet, although they've started. Only the oldest leaves are drying out so it's not surprising. I think I might have put mine in in April, but I can't be sure.
We ran out of garlic so I tried ours (planted May I think) - but it was more like garlic leek than garlic! There was no cloves so I will just have to be patient awhile longer. I have some more that wasn't planted until about July so they might not have time before the heat.
I planted some about a month ago and it never came up (I'm hoping because it's winter). Will leave it in and hope for the best when spring comes around - early this year so they say. I have clay soil so I"m wondering if they don't like that too.
How is everyone's garlic going? Last time I tried one was 26/07 and it was like garlic leek (it is the elephant garlic supposed to be better for warm climates), have a number of plants in different gardens and they are all different sizes and all seem to be still green/ grey and haven't gone yellow yet.

When do you normally harvest garlic?
Some has been picked, some of the Elephant cloves are popping up here and there from up to 3 years ago.

Elephant 'garlic' is a weird plant, not a true garlic but garlicky-enough in flavour for a lot of us. It has a two-stage life-cycle. If you plant out the huge cloves it's renowned for, you won't necessarily get a big-cloved crop. What you get is some of this, some of that. Frustrating and confusing.

Now: what I have picked in the last 3 years is a mix of big cloved plants (as you would hope), then single cloves with and without the 'little yellow jobs' hanging off them. These 'l-y-j' are smaller versions of the big ones but with a very hard shell. Eventually you will live long enough for the l-y-js to produce an edible plant. But they take some months and up to years to shoot. Cracking the shell might be an option if you could do it without damaging the embryo. So you get singles, multiples and little yellow jobs all in the one crop. Some of the plants are huge and they are the multiples usually and the rest are smaller. Usually they will wither without going to flower, but if a flower stem pops up, chop it off or (so I'm told) the plant won't put all its efforts into the cloves. That applies to other varieties of garlic, too.

The other garlic, the regular stuff, I put into the crisper for a month prior to planting in March. Whatever days were auspicious for below-ground plantings - garlic is counted as below-ground for the lunar planting cycle. I bought the planting material from a Lockyer Valley farmer who came to a farmers' market and some other planting material from Argentina. Since I didn't mark exactly where which one had gone, I don't know what the specific results were. But I do have a small crop of ordinary garlic.

Planting garlic involves breaking the knob up into individual cloves and planting it pointy-end up about an inch under the soil surface and awaiting results. Now planting it in the middle of winter on clay soil might not be the most advantageous, I don't know since I haven't tried. Mine are planted above-ground in a loamy mix of potting mix, compost, perlite, vermiculite and anything else to hand including residues of cover crops. So it's well-drained, a bit too well-drained at times because it doesn't hold water all that well although well enough for the garlic, apparently. I plant around March when the weather cools off a bit.

The plants don't have to go yellow, though - once they start looking wilted and some fall over, it's time to pull them up. Pull up the whole plant, don't try to trim at this stage. Put them aside in an airy place and wait until the whole plant is dry, then trim off the roots and tops or plait the tops if you know how to do that.

Some pix: this year's ordinary garlic, earlier Elephant cloves with the 'little yellow jobs' and earlier Elephant growing among the Heartsease.


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