Garlic #257907 - Ask Extension

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Garlic #257907

Asked June 29, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

I've planted garlic for a few years now and each plant produces 1 gigantic round ball instead of a head with many cloves. Any idea what I need to do to get "normal garlic"? This latest crop I planted in fall and am harvesting now when the stalks have turned brown.

Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

A few things could be going wrong with your garlic. If you pull your garlic (rather than digging it up), it's possible that some of the outer cloves were left behind in the soil, but if they were small and weak enough to fall off that easily, there are other issues at work.
Some common problems with garlic can be: 1) poor soil fertility. Did you amend your soil before planting? Did you plant your garlic in the same spot as last year? Garlic is a heavy-feeder and so it requires a nutrient rich soil to bulb up properly. 2) Moisture. Garlic likes consistent moisture and plenty of it is required when it bulbs up. We had such a dry winter and spring (last year, too!), so perhaps that was a factor as well.
 
Here is a link to a brief article that discusses growing garlic in our area. I hope you have better luck in the future!
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/garlic-expert-fertilize-and-weed-garlic-spring

Hilary Hutler Replied June 30, 2015, 12:34 AM EDT

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