Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Sept 18, 2012 13:35:06 GMT -5
Today I prepared and planted a bed for next year's true garlic seed trial. It is on the north side of a building. In the summer it gets early morning and late afternoon sunlight. I dug the soil down about 6" and added composted steer manure to the bed. So now it's a raised bed with about a foot deep layer of really nice soil. I fixed the sprinkler for the bed which has been broken for years.
The garlic that went into it were one clove from any plant that produced a flower stalk with a swollen ovary on it this year, and purple striped or marbled purple striped garlic that I gathered at the farmer's market. I intend to add a few more varieties that are known to produce true seeds (which were collected in recent decades from around the Tian Shan mountains).
First time in my life that I have done a project like this: Digging out a bed, and improving the soil, and putting the soil back in the hole. Seems like a lot of work. Here's hoping that it turns out to be worth the effort. Didn't get any broken pottery or charcoal in the bed though. Sorry Terra Preta.
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Sept 23, 2012 15:02:00 GMT -5
I examined the garlic seed pods this weekend, like I do every weekend. I am drying them down as slowly as possible considering my very low humidity. Many of the fruits are still moist. However I noticed two fruits which had dried out and opened up. Inside were a treasure. I'm not celebrating yet because germination rate is expected to be around 10%, but it's looking hopeful.
joseph : I was wondering how crazy you could be to plant garlic in fall with such harsh winters. I'm in zone 7 and it's considered suicide here, too susceptible to cold, but in fact, it just can't stand our weather. For yours, it's just great ! I imagine native garlic climate is a bit like yours, with even more extreme temperatures. Very low temps are ok for garlic, it just need little moisture or it will rot. That's the true reason we plant it later. If someone here has chance to get true seeds from it, it must be you !
I'm on the edge of zones 5/6 and we planted quite a while ago; at least a month. I noticed a few varieties have sent up a little shoot. That's typical, in my experience. We have no problem with them rotting, but then our soil is the next thing to sand - no drainage problems here!
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Oct 9, 2012 18:02:29 GMT -5
I consider my fields to be in USDA zone 4. Garlic overwinters fine here in my clayish soil. I don't have standing water in the fields. I try to plant about 6 weeks before the arrival of winter snow-cover. If the snow melts and the ground is still frozen, then it runs off. [Elephant garlic is not reliably winter hardy here, but Allium sativum is reliably winter hardy.]
I have found a few collaborators, at 1000 to 4000 feet higher elevation than I am. I think that they may have a better chance of getting true seeds than I do, since their altitude more closely mimics the Tian Shan Mountains. [I'm still looking for more collaborators with available plots at very high elevations in Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming. I only need a few square feet in an out of the way spot.]
I'm 6b and I did mine about a week or two ago. And I do mine in pots that are shallow enough the soikl often freezes solid for the whole winter. The garlic does just fine survival wise. It even stays ok if it has sprouted before the frost. Garlic is pretty tough stuff.