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 Post subject: is it too early to harvest garlic????
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:46 am 
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Dislikes Rick Santorum
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So I wanted to remind everyone I am a total garden newb so apologies if I am asking dumb questions.
We planted both elephant garlic and some I *think* soft neck garlic (whichever kind does not have the scapes) last fall. The soft neck garlic was bulbs that I had harvested myself from that summer. They were a tad small but still I thought ok for planting.
In the spring everything sprouted pretty early, but we had a REALLY mild winter and some HOT weather in March strangely enough. We had more soft neck garlic sprout up than I remember planting so I think I may have missed harvesting some last fall and it is from the year before or something.
Anyways, my question is, a lot of it seems like the tops have died off and it’s done. if this was the fall I would be like “harvest time!” but it’s JULY. I mean there is no greenery left on these particular garlic bulbs. Should I dig them up and harvest them?? I feel weird harvesting garlic in july I thought we needed to wait until fall???

i live in Central MA if that is helpful.

thanks :-D

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 Post subject: Re: is it too early to harvest garlic????
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:49 pm 
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Garlic is ready to be harvested when the outer leaves are dry. If you wait until the whole top is dead, it's not too serious, but the bulb generally will have started to split open, allowing soil to collect between individual cloves. I would think garlic should be ready for harvest by July in your area. In my much cooler climate, I normally harvest in mid - late July, depending on the varieties. I plant a lot of garlic, and after harvest I replant the area with stuff for late fall and winter harvests.

All garlic should have scapes, unless something kills them prematurely. They are the flower buds, and range from skinny to robust depending on the garlic variety. They should be cut off as soon as you see them, as they take energy away from the expanding bulb.

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 Post subject: Re: is it too early to harvest garlic????
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:21 pm 
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we ended up harvesting everything that day as the tops were completely dead. we got some small bulbs but i think they will still be good. still got a bunch more garlic in the garden. i think these may have just not sprouted last year for some reason.

im very confused on this scape thing. im not trying to contradict you as you seem to be very knowledgable about gardening but my garden book says soft neck garlic doesnt send us scapes and ours definitely didnt have any. very confused.

at the end of this year i will probably order some hard neck garlic to plant. the 1 scape i got off my elephant garlic was very yummy!!!

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 Post subject: Re: is it too early to harvest garlic????
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Lisa, Apparently I was confused! I did some research, and while softnecks can produce scapes, it isn't all that common - sometimes from stress and sometimes no clear reason. But in general, forming flower stalks has largely been bred out of the softnecks.

I started out with 6 varieties, including 3 softnecks, about 10 years ago, but was unable to keep them completely separate. Based on appearance and storage ability I thought I still had 2 "soft" necks, but maybe not. Although the softneck scape anecdotal comments I read often mentioned Inchelium Red, which is one of the varieties I started out with.

Here are a couple of links - I especially liked the Hood River Garlic Growing Calendar:
http://vegetables.wsu.edu/GarlicScapes.html
http://www.hoodrivergarlic.com/garlic-calendar.htm

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 Post subject: Re: is it too early to harvest garlic????
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:49 am 
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interesting!

that might be why my mother in law continually asked me about scapes too on my softneck garlic. maybe they *used* to produce scapes??

either way i think now that i have had a couple of years "garlic experience" under my belt i will be switching to hardneck garlic. from the little ive read it seems like it will do better in the climate we live in and will i think produce bigger bulbs than my soft neck garlic.

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