November 20, 2013

Planting Garlic - bulbils

I've begun a multi-year garlic growing project. Seeds of Diversity sent me bulbils from five heirloom garlic varieties: Siciliano, Red Rezan, Lavigna, Central Siberian and Fish Lake 21 (my favorite name!). Bulbils are mini cloves, genetically identical to the regular cloves, but formed in the garlic "flower" or mature scape. You may still be able to order some for yourself if they haven't run out.

Heirloom garlic bulbils. These are the smallest envelopes you can buy.

I planted the bulbils in pots and "planted" the pots in a garden bed and covered them with fallen leaves to protect them from winter damage. Next year the bulbils will have grown into rounds - a single small round clove. These I will plant as I would regular cloves and the following year they will have grown into larger, multi-cloved bulbs.

My pots are a bit on the small side, but we will see how they do.

Growing garlic from bulbils is a good way to avoid transferring soil-borne diseases with new planting. Plants can produce more bulbils than cloves, so it is a good way to increase your stock quickly too. If you'd like to learn more about planting garlic bulbils, I would recommend these posts from Dan Brisebois' blog Going to Seed.

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