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What's wrong with my garlic?

I planted two varieties of garlic back in early November, Solent Wight and Early Purple Wight. They are in a raised bed with garlic fertiliser added before planting and I've put some more on since they've been growing. A few plants were disturbed earlier in the year by an overly enthusiastic blackbird stealing the radish seedlings that I had sown between the lines of garlic, but luckily they don't seem to have suffered as a result.

Over the last few weeks I've noticed 6 Solent Wight plants aren't growing like the others. They're much shorter and thicker at the base than the others and they are now starting to go a bit yellowed and floppy. I've had a little excavate around one and can't see any larvae or anything else, but they're clearly not normal! I've not grown garlic before so am not sure what the best course of action is.

Has anyone got any ideas what this might be? Are they salvageable or would it be better to pull them out and hope the others aren't affected? 


  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,680
    As the three are together and at the end of the bed I would suspect something has happened to them, be it physical (cold/pest/too much/too little water)or otherwise.

    I would pull those out they are probably not going to make decent bulbs and look up some recipes for green garlic. The other plants look good I would say they have another month or so to go.
  • garlicgirlgarlicgirl Posts: 12
    Thank you! I’ll pull out the stumpy ones and keep my fingers crossed the others are forming decent bulbs. Is there anything I need to do/not do in the last month? Do they need extra water or not? Should I put any more fertiliser down? What should they look like when they’re ready to harvest?
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,067
    I have a few garlic plants that have gone fat and distorted (in the middle of the group), which I have never had before. The only thing I have done differently this year is top up the bed with some fresh compost as the soil level had dropped a bit. I class garlic as a ‘light’ feeder, as opposed to a ‘heavy’ feeder like tomatoes etc., and normally don't improve the soil in any way in the garlic bed. So it could be we have both over-fertilised and they have grown fat on all that food! 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • SkandiSkandi Posts: 1,680
    The leaves will start to go brown from the bottom up, when that starts to happen ease off on the watering (don't stop entirely but only give them a little) when about half the leaves are brown pull them up and hang them somewhere to dry out. that will take a few weeks depending on the weather, once all the leaves are brown and the bulb covering is dry and papery they are ready to go. You can of course eat them before that the drying process just gets them ready to store.
    One last thing, if they are hardnecks they will produce a flower, wait until it has a single curl in the stem and snap it off, they are great stir-fried or in pesto.
  • garlicgirlgarlicgirl Posts: 12
    Thanks all! Maybe next year I'll try them in an un-mulched part the beds and see what happens.
  • garlicgirlgarlicgirl Posts: 12
    Update: I lifted the affected plants and the bulbs have gone soft and rotten. I’m hoping this is due to damage sustained earlier in the season, letting water into the bulb and won’t affect the rest of the crop.
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