Friday, July 6, 2012

Wet Bed

Although not a technical witches broom -which has more to do with branches on trees and shrubs, it's useful to describe the sprouting of each new clove long before the garlic bulbs are harvested. The bulbs above are a Creole variety called "Pescadero Red" that were trashed a few days ago. I received this cultivar gratis from a grower who sent small seed bulbs of the variety I did order. I had no room for this Creole in my garlic beds, so I planted the cloves in the herb bed.

The witches broom appears to be common among Creole cultivars (although my other beach farm Creole didn't broom), but could also be the result of very rich soil, over-fertilization, a warm winter, or poor storage prior to seeding. In the herb bed, at least two of those conditions were met. You may have noticed that these bulbs were harvested bare naked, with absolutely no wrappers. This is due to irrigation. Timed for every two or three days during this hot and dry spell, the wrappers simply rotted away in wet soil as the leaves dried down above.

Of course, the other beach farm garlic was fine because the irrigation to those beds was cut off. Garlic is best served by one or two weeks of dry weather before harvest. The weather doesn't always provide us with the best circumstances, and a little water from a thunderstorm won't ruin a healthy crop, but constant irrigation will.


  1. I"m getting an education in garlic. So the above can't be sold, but could you use it at home?

    1. You would only want to use it as much as you use the sprouted stuff from the grocery store. They won't cure properly either because they are missing their wrappers. But they're edible, just not best :-).


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