Dividing Garlic clumps


You will want to hold onto the garlic until fall and then plant it. Some people plant theirs in the spring but it’s much smaller typically than fall garlic.


Thanks. It’s going to sprout green I imagine in the meantime, that’s a few months away. Is that fine?


No worries it will be ok. Cold will slow it down.


I have been struggling to figure out when to get my garlic and onions in the ground. I thought I had it right this year and got only very small bulbs. I definitely over planted and probably planted too shallow as well.

We usually get three crops most years, so I was considering “fall” after the third crop, which means that tried planting it after the squash died, right around the first frost in December or January. I have trouble being disciplined enough to call fall, fall, when I am still shooting 90 degree weddings in October!

Should I put it in in September, no matter what? I also have a small pile of reserved garlic and onions that didn’t really grow last year. I am not sure sure if I should use them or consider just starting with a variety I ordered.


Everyone’s weather is different but the idea is to plant the garlic as it gets cold and preferably it won’t green up much until next year. Kansas is good about normally getting cold by at least October and then I put in the garlic ASAP and harvest the next July typically when lower leaves die.


I am not sure how that is possible here. The last two years they were at their lushest and greenest in January and February so I thought the idea was to grow them through the winter! I must need to get them into the ground WAY earlier before they threaten to sprout as soon as we get some cooler weather and mulch deep so they stay cool as possible.


Some things to consider:
Lush and green in one Jan/Feb does not mean it is a problem, nor does it mean lush and green every Jan/Feb. If we have a warm spell that will happen here but it doesn’t seem to adversely affect the outcome.
Some damage can occur with some varieties if there is lush and green growth going into winter. I’d use a cold hardy variety.
Lush and green growth going into winter can mean garlic was planted too early. It is often recommended to plant after 1st frost or when ground temps are in the 60’s.
You mention onions and garlic. Potato onions are often grown like garlic. Bulb onions grown from seed respond to day length so that a dif animal.


So do they have to be kept in the fridge for four months until fall, or can I just leave them on the shelf? How much sprouting of green and roots is OK before it’s not viable anymore?


Just something to consider, our climates are quite different and it may not apply for you… But the times I have stored my “seed garlic” in the fridge before planting, it seemed to make it think that it had gone thru winter and it was very anxious to sprout during any fall warm spells. This was a problem here because real winter was still coming and it killed the early top growth.

Now I store garlic that will be planted at cool temps but not in a fridge. Even if I get some clove sprouting it seems to do better this way.


I was thinking more of throwing it in a dark cool basement.


I put my seed garlic in basement, it’s cool and dry. They won’t sprout even one year later. I supply all my garlic need by planting around 150 garlic each year. I will increase a little to have some greens to eat at early spring.


Thanks, but nowhere other than the fridge is cool here all summer, it’s just too hot. The garage is slightly cooler, maybe 70° at night.


My daughter grows garlic to sell at the Farmer’s Market, ( 1500 bulbs ) apparently the cold temperatures in refrigeration does induce it to sprout. When it is in a braid it keeps all winter hanging in the kitchen at room temperature. It seems that garlic, after curing, will keep at these temperatures just fine.

I have grown garlic as a perennial, but not on purpose. I left some bulbs in the ground after harvest and by the next spring they made a lovely clump that had small bulbs and nice greens to harvest in early spring. The clump just kept on growing for a few years and I would take bulbs and greens without harming the original plant. Eventually I had to remove it, when we revamped the garden spot.


OK thanks for the info. I just took some out of the fridge and put in the garage on top of the birdcage, we’ll see what happens.


I understand those concerns; I just can’t figure the timing. My onions last year simply never went to sleep. I planted more in January and February but they didn’t really do much. Many of the ones that I saved myself had sprouted in the cupboard, which is why I was thinking maybe I was way too late and not too early. I don’t have any kind of cool storage in my house, so even my cupboards are around 65 lowest year round. I was hoping if I put garlic in the ground under thick mulch in November they’ll stay cooler than in my house.

I also failed so hard with the onion sets I got at the garden store that I have a red and a yellow variety of bunching onion, and I’ve tried short, long and intermediate seeds trying to figure out how to get the things bigger than my thumbnail! I have bunching onions and short day onions in the seeds tray now under florescent lights in the hopes of getting something working this fall. I will plant in waves but my biggest problem as a gardener is either impatience or complete lack of desire to keep records, neither of which helps me!


Hmmmm. I was warned about doing onion sets long ago and I just stayed away from them so I’m not much help on their culture, i.e. when is best to plant in my zone, etc…
I plant potato or multuiplier onions in the fall when garlic goes in, and they have that nice growth in Jan and Feb, like you describe, esp if there is a warm spell. I cut these onions as needed for cooking as ‘spring onions’ or scallions. And they got harvested with garlic 4th week of June.
The main bulbing crop is seeded in Jan/Feb in pots inside. I divide and plant out sometime in March. Short day onions don’t do here. I can do some long day onions (WallaWalla) but this last season they DID NOT want to finish, even after they sized up real good, so I had to bend them down by hand (to tell them they were DONE) and then harvested them 10 days later. The 2 other varieties, which were keepers and I think ‘intermediate day’ got the hint re the solstice and went down and got harvested. Not sure where you are in z7 but latitude is the determiner, not zone for bulbing onions.
My red keepers went down a couple weeks before the solstice and got pulled 6/20. The Aust Brown went down 2 weeks later and got pulled 7/8. Haha, and I had to force the Wallas to finish, but I’m pretty sure they are classified as long day and I’m kinda borderline here for long day. But these are sweet like Vadalias so I love growing them.


I do both seeds and sets I have the best luck with sets if I soak them for 48 hours before planting, I change the water once in that time. Otherwise it seems to take a long time for them to start growing.


Catching up on some older threads, what a great tip , I have planted onion sets for years and never thought about soaking them but it makes perfect sense


I crossed some wild and some tame garlic into a stable hybrid. Started working on that project by collecting wild seed grom my grandfather that he grew a 1/4 acre of in the late 80s and 1990s. In various isolated spots ive been growing these crosses from my grandfathers original native american garlic. In other isolated spots im growing the hybrid crosses. This is a cross i nearly forgot about my mother and i planted. It was growing In the field and i recalled planting 5 or 6 years ago as i drove by that area. It took me a while to find it once i began looking for it. Its one of hundreds of crosses i made.


Interesting. We dont have top die back here, and im in 5b. They always come back in the spring and we rarely have tip death. I plant around labor day and have garlic 6 inches or more tall before snow flies.