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My hardneck garlic is falling over

gdgd Posts: 6

I've planted some hardneck, softneck, and elephant garlic as well as some shallots in mid-winter. I got 100% germination which pleased me no end and all was going well until all the rain. My softneck and elephant garlic seem to be doing well, but many of my hardnecks are falling over with some small yellowing of the outer leaves. I dug around one and the bulb is no bigger than a golf ball.

If I dig them up right now I get no garlic at all to speak of from them so I am going to just leave them in for awhile and see if they'll grow more. Is there anything I can do to improve their chances? Will caning them up help at all?



  • LokelaniLokelani Posts: 112

    We don't seem to have any garlic experts here at the moment, I didn't get any replies when I asked the same question a few days to a week ago. I'm growing solent wight as usual, plus early purple wight & some elephant. 

    So I rang the Isle of Wight garlic farm which is where my seed garlic came from. 

    They said I'd done the right thing in gently pushing back the soil to check the size of the bulb rather than just pulling up & finding them tiny as everyone else who rang them had done!

    As suspected it is the cool weather we've been having lately. They swell right at the last stage of growth apparently. They reckon it's about 6 weeks behind  (I'm near the south coast). 

    They suggested just time, but I asked what to feed as I wanted to increase their chances & they said a balanced fertiliser. So I thought not tomato food etc. which is all about increasing flower production not root growth I think, so I've bought some growmore to sprinkle on & water in. I'd have  just used blood, fish & bone if my dog wouldn't be attracted to it! 

    As long as the foliage isn't all yellow & dying, hopefully you may get a bit more growth out of them. Only one of mine has even produced a flowering stem so far, which I snapped off to let the energy go to the bulb instead.

  • gdgd Posts: 6

    Thanks for the response Lokelani! I bought my garlic from the isle of wight farm as well but I didn't get through to them when I called. I'm glad I was on the right track by not pulling them up. I'll only do that if the foliage all starts to die. My elephant garlic all speared about 6 weeks ago and my hardnecks were all about a month behind that. It looks like I won't be harvesting until August which is such a huge difference from last year when I had them all up by now. With a bit less sun and a bit more rain maybe I'll get a crop this year!

  • It's not a good year for garlic and as far as I am concerned it is looking to be a poor season all round. Too much rain and not enough sun.

  • cutiecutie Posts: 9

    All I know is you don't pull your garlic till its completely yellow, then you expose the bulb left in the soil for another week before removing, but only if the weather dries up, otherwise pull and hang to dry for several weeks or they will rot. If they are still in the ground keep feeding but do not overwater if you are not getting enough sun, good luck with your crop.

  • gdgd Posts: 6

    Last year I cured my garlic by hanging it in my conservatory, worked well. I think I'll do that this year as I don't see this weather drying up any time soon! At this rate I won't be harvesting until September!

  • HernandoHernando Posts: 2


    I pulled my garlic last weekend just to find out 2 ok size and the other too small , it is ok to planted back ? and how deep on the soil ?


  • buttercup4buttercup4 Posts: 23

    I pulled mine up last week as well as they had really bad rust. I am drying them out in the conservatory but I don't know if they will store because of the rust.

  • gdgd Posts: 6

    @hernando, If you have really pulled them up it's not likely you can put them back, generally you're supposed to dig around them to find out how big they are before you dig them up.

    @buttercup4, how was the size of the garlic you pulled? Rust only affects the leaves I think so you should be ok I suppose.

  • Maria7Maria7 Posts: 5

    Mine is falling over also, I dug half up two weeks ago, it is all a very good size and drying nicely. The other half I left in the ground and dug it up two days ago ish, all mouldy......i can only guess the soil is just too wet. If mine is anything to go by, i would pull yours up. (I also planted last year)

  • LokelaniLokelani Posts: 112

    I'm thinking of giving up on mine too, I'd guess it will be rotting not swelling otherwise. It may just be a bad year for it.

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