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Starting garlic early

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  • Starting garlic early

    I'm wondering what the factors are behind the earliest sensible time for planting garlic (Allium sativum). I've seen advice that any time after the autumn equinox is good and that earlier timings give bigger bulbs.

    Presumably there are drawbacks to planting early September, for example, but I'm not sure what they might be!

  • #2
    If green shoots are too advanced, they tend to get frosted. Not a problem, but any advantage is negated because plant has to regrow those frosted shoots. I think the idea is to have roots to anchor the cloves, but not too much by way of shoots growing before the hard frosts suspend growing. On the other hand, look at garlic as it grows by itself. When do you see volunteer shoots from missed cloves? I think I have only seen them in early spring. But they must have been in the ground early by definition. I see an experiment coming up.

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  • #3
    Thanks. That's very helpful and clarifying.

    Alys Fowler seems to be a good egg so it's interesting that she reckons now is OK And then there's the equinox theory - today I believe.

    I think you're right. Split the available cloves between different times and see which perform best.

    I also picked up from Charles Dowding that growing them in a poly tunnel helps a lot with rust which I had badly this year. So it looks like perhaps a 4-way split is on the cards. All that labelling and recording!

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