Here at Keene Garlic, we take pride in ensuring that all of our customers grow a successful garlic crop. If you’re new to growing garlic, it’s normal to have a lot of questions regarding garlic care. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we’ve gotten from our customers over the years. If your question isn’t answered here or on our website, we encourage you to send us an email or give us a call. We want our customers to be successful garlic growers!
Why are my garlic bulbs so small?
There are so many reasons why that could be. First, when you have bulbs with multiple sized cloves, the small clove size in these bulbs will always grow into small bulbs which are usually around 1.5-1.75″, but the other size cloves usually size up to large and jumbo-sized bulbs. Look at the pictures of the bulbs cut in half to see the sizes of the cloves. There are also many reasons for bulb size which includes from the size of the bulb and clove planted, amount of sun, climate of the season, soil temps (once soil temps hit 90 degrees the plant wants to die back, and it may not have gotten to its full potential in size), fertilization and nutrient levels in the soil, weeding, watering, and picking the garlic scape right as it starts to curl. Much of this we can control, but we can’t control the climate of the season.
Timing of the harvest is also critical. Harvest to early and the bulbs will be small. Harvest late and you can risk rotting bulbs or bulb wrapper breaking open. See our page on harvesting garlic for tips. I’m not sure what factors played into the small bulb size, but once those are corrected for what you have control over, you really should have great bulb size.
What Happened to My Garlic?
One of our customers planted garlic in the fall and covered the garlic with mulch purchased from a big box store. This spring, his weeds came up bigger than his garlic! Sometimes mulch or straw from big box stores can be full of weed seeds, so make sure you’re watching where you get it from and make sure the mulch is clean. If you start to see weeds coming up, make sure you’re picking them early so you don’t end up with this. I
t’s important to keep your garlic weeded so that your plants don’t have to compete with the weeds. This will help ensure that your garlic bulbs grow nice and big. Thankfully, he resolved the issue, and his garlic plants have a good chance for survival and producing a garlic bulb.
What is the best way to apply fertilizer in the Spring?
In the spring, broadcast the fertilizer over the straw using the application rate. We use extra fertilizer to make up for the fertilizer that doesn’t make it to the plant due to the straw, so we may double the application rate or apply every 7 days until a week before the garlic scapes come. Water/rain will help the fertilizer make its way into the soil. The nutrients will be there for next season too helping build good nutrient rich soil. We never remove the straw. We want the weed suppression and moisture control!
Need a good fertilizer? Check out our Top Selling Organic Fertilizer! This will provide the nutrients that your garlic needs to yield nice large healthy nutrient-dense plants.
Twin Garlic…is this normal?
Thanks for the question! This is two garlic cloves that were planted together. Sometimes we don’t even notice that there could be two garlic cloves in a wrapper. This is most common with Rocambole Garlic.
When you harvest, you will have two garlic bulbs but where they come together they will be flat. They are misshapen, but still delicious!
I harvested my garlic this spring…why does it look like a green onion? I was expecting a bulb of garlic.
Great question! Most of us harvest our garlic in late June or July. Garlic starts to bulb out during the last 3 weeks before harvest, but until then, it will look similar to a green onion. It can be eaten in this stage as what we call “green garlic,” but wait a few more months if you want to harvest a full garlic bulb!
If you have hardneck garlic, you will pick the garlic scapes after they curl once and then the garlic bulbs start to swell. It will take around 3 weeks to develop into a full-sized bulb with cloves. See our website for more info on when to harvest garlic.