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Gulf Coast Garlic?

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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 6/30/2011, 10:18 pm

Hi everybody! I was reading another post on garlic today and was reminded that I'd really like to try growing it. I live on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, though, and anticipate that the heat here will, as always, be an issue. Mad

I've found very little information on growing garlic along the Gulf Coast and wondered if any of my fellow gardeners from TX, AL, MS, LA and FL have tried it. If so, do you have any advice for how to grow, when to plant, and what varieties would work best here?

The little I've found on the subject indicates it's probably best to plant about August to try to have the garlic ready by early summer next year. Anybody with experience from the coastal south? Or anybody out there from any state who might have info they'd like to share?

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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  pattipan on 6/30/2011, 10:46 pm

Probably your best resource would be the University of Florida or your local County Extension Office. You might find a contact on this page -- don't be afraid to email them! Most of these agricultrual guys/gals are very willing to advise you or hook you up with someone who can.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv064

http://www.ehow.com/how_7920082_plant-garlic-florida.html

I think one of the main differences is you'll need to water your garlic during the winter, whereas I just count on snow melt.

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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/30/2011, 11:43 pm

Take a look in this site for heirloom garlics and you'll notice there are lots of garlic varieties from parts of the world with climates similar to Mississippi. http://sev.lternet.edu/~jnekola/Heirloom/garlicC.htm Under the "C" listing, there are two varieties called Creole Red and Creole Rocambole; there are others that come from Thailand, Guatamala, Mexico, Spain, Italy, all of which are obviously compatible with hot summers and mild winters. The most difficult part of your setting out to raise garlic is deciding which kind to choose--and there are a lot to choose from! It's fun to grow four different kinds, then decide what you like best. You may decide one is better for making fresh salsa, and another is the best when roasted and squeezed out on warm Italian bread. Warning: Just reading the descriptions in the Fillaree Garlic Farm's on-line catalog (http://www.filareefarm.com/ ) can make your drool on your keyboard!

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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/1/2011, 12:24 am

Cool site Nonna. I will be planting some in Oct. the first time for me.
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Post  sherryeo on 7/1/2011, 12:46 am

Drool duly noted, Nonna!

Thanks, pattipan and Nonna, for the very helpful information. I've saved the How to Plant Garlic in Florida page and the links to the others. I love that the ehow page gives recommended varieties and such detailed instructions for growing and harvesting.

I love that it gives such a good hint for growing garlic in the more southern parts of Florida, which ought to work for me, too - it says that "Storing the garlic cloves at 50 f to 65 f for eight weeks before planting in the fall will allow the garlic to be grown in the middle and southern portions of Florida." I'm glad to have found that tip and would like to try it, but I think a refrigerator probably stays colder than that, doesn't it? We don't keep our air conditioner set that low, so I'm not sure how I'd keep it at those temps.

I'm definitely going to try to make room for garlic in my fall garden! Glad to have another from the coastal and tropical south join me, shannon! I love this forum and all of its members who are so giving of their time to help others!!!
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/1/2011, 1:02 am

We will learn together. I feel like I have found so many friends and like minded people here. I love this forum.
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 7/1/2011, 10:16 am

Sherryeo, So, if someone in a hot-summer, mild-winter area 200 years ago, wanted garlic, they had to invent air conditioning to store the bulbs during, say, August and September before planting? Stretches my imagination, unless they had a root cellar. Otherwise, I'd say go with varieties of garlic that already know how to grow in your conditions. Look for garlic names like Ajo Rojo (Spain), Athens (Greece), Israeli, Jamey’s (New Mexico), Turkish, Music (originally from Italy). Heck, just e-mail one or more garlic farms and ask what they recommend. Best of luck on locating your own Southern Stinking Rose. Nonna

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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/1/2011, 4:11 pm

Nonna, Contrary to popular belief, I wasn't here 200 years ago to see how/if they grew garlic here in Mississippi (lol). And thank goodness I wasn't since they didn't have air conditioning! Oh, and we don't really have root cellars or basements here because we're so close to sea level - they wouldn't stay dry. I absolutely agree with you, though, that we shouldn't take things too seriously and should be willing to experiment and have fun with our gardening. And not always listen to the things that say you "can't" do this or the other thing.

I am just curious (or stubborn) enough that I would give garlic a try, anyway, just to see what results I might have. But I do think there are certain undeniable plant requirements that might make it harder for certain parts of the country to grow things that others find easy. And like northerners have to resort to cold frames and greenhouses, etc, to manipulate their climate limitations, we southerners have to resort to tricks sometimes to try to alleviate some of the problems our unrelenting heat causes - planting at different times of the year, shade cloths, etc.

I found, on the Texas A&M website, where it says, speaking of garlic, "the dormant cloves (divisions of the large bulb) or young growing plants must be exposed to cold temperatures between 32 and 50 degrees F. for 1 or 2 months in order to initiate bulbing. Plants that are never exposed to temperatures below 65 degrees F. may fail to form bulbs."

Now I don't know, maybe the garlic supply places do take care of exposing them to cool temps so the home gardener doesn't have to worrry about it? I hope so. I'll have to try to research that further and think it would be a great idea to do as you suggest and contact the company with an inquiry.

But if they could be kept that cold (down to 32 degrees), I could set them in the fridge for a while if it might give me a better result. And after struggling with growing things in this heat for years, I would gladly take the extra trouble if it would help my chances of success! I value and appreciate all of your (and others') help and comments and am determined, indeed, to find my own "Southern Stinking Rose." I love this forum! Very Happy
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  walshevak on 7/1/2011, 4:20 pm

Actually, the fridge sounds right. Daffadils and tulips have to be dug and refrigerated in the deep south in order to get blooms or new ones purchased each year. And calidums and gladiolas have to be dug and stored above freezing in the North. So it makes sense to me that other bulbs, ie garlic, could need a cold treatment.

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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/1/2011, 4:46 pm

Thanks, Kay! That's my thinking, too. I'll take whatever edge against the heat that a few tricks might provide me with!
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  Unmutual on 7/1/2011, 7:52 pm

I live in southeastern louisiana and grew garlic just fine. I did plant in the late fall for a spring/early summer harvest. The only reason I refrigerated my garlic cloves for planting(and onion sets) was because I didn't want all the garlic and onions to mature at the same time(I planted 2-4 weeks apart).

The only thing I won't do next year is plant garlic and onion close together. But this is more for personal preference than for any practical reason. I just wish I remembered what variety of garlic I planted. Best thing I can tell you is to ask your local nursery when they get their garlic for your planting dates.

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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/1/2011, 9:11 pm

Thanks, Unmutual, So glad to hear you chime in! If you could grow garlic in southeast LA in Zone 9B, I would think I should be able to grow it here in southeast Mississippi, Zone 8B, too! I feel very encouraged at that news, for sure!

If you do think of the variety, I hope you'll come back and post it here. I've done a bit of reading on Filagree Farms' website and it seems they've had reports of some Gulf Coast gardeners having better luck with Turban varieties. I had initially figured one of the Creole varieties might work best here. Filagree doesn't recommend their garlic for extreme southern latitudes, farther south than 32 degrees, though, which I am. I've written them an email asking for their advice, as Nonna suggested. So we'll see what they say. I'll post back in this thread when I get an answer.

I've also emailed my Extension Office, as pattipan suggested. I'll post back when I hear from them. I'm hoping it might help somebody else in the south, too.

I do wonder whether your refrigerating them just to hold them till planting time might not have had the extra benefit of helping them grow better, Unmutual.

I'll have to give my local nursery a call, they're usually only open while I'm at work, so I tend not to get by there very often. Trouble is, I usually get busy at work and forget to call!
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/2/2011, 12:21 am

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Sherryeo, So, if someone in a hot-summer, mild-winter area 200 years ago, wanted garlic, they had to invent air conditioning to store the bulbs during, say, August and September before planting? Stretches my imagination, unless they had a root cellar. Otherwise, I'd say go with varieties of garlic that already know how to grow in your conditions. Look for garlic names like Ajo Rojo (Spain), Athens (Greece), Israeli, Jamey’s (New Mexico), Turkish, Music (originally from Italy). Heck, just e-mail one or more garlic farms and ask what they recommend. Best of luck on locating your own Southern Stinking Rose. Nonna
I see your point ,but are you sure they grew garlic in the gulf region 2oo years ago? :scratch:
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 7/2/2011, 12:50 am

The A&M cautionary note: "the dormant cloves (divisions of the large bulb) or young growing plants must be exposed to cold temperatures between 32 and 50 degrees F. for 1 or 2 months in order to initiate bulbing" to my reading does not mean BEFORE planting, it indicates conditions AFTER planting. It's the same throughout California, and right up through Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Winter cool/cold weather causes the garlic to concentrate on building its root system, then when the weather warms in spring, the garlic sends up its sprouts. Bigger root system, larger sprouts, larger sprouts mean more sun energy translated to growing bulbs IF the root system is large enough to harvest nutrients needed for bulb production. So go ahead, plant those garlic cloves in late September, early October, then sit back and pray for a Blue Norther in January--snow even. After all, even in Mississippi, you retire your bikini until after Easter, right? Nonna

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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/2/2011, 2:19 am

That makes sense to me
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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/3/2011, 11:51 am

Nonna, I'm afraid I retired my bikini permanently years ago! I keep telling people I'm holding onto my 50s by my fingernails - don't know why it's so hard for me to just say I'm 59 - yikes! pale It actually hurt to admit that! Where did the years go?

I did just kind of interpret the TX A & M wording to indicate that the refrigeration of the bulbs might be a good idea. The actual information about refrigerating the bulbs was on another website.

It should get down into the 40s and 50s here over winter, maybe steadily for a couple of months. It is rarer that it gets down into the 30s - usually upper 30s - and doesn't usually stay there steadily for as long as a month or two. But hopefully that will be good enough.

I guess I was just insecure about trying something that I've never heard of any of my gardening friends down here trying. Maybe I just needed a little hand-holding and encouragement. I'm glad to have a place to go for that amongst my sfg friends!

Unmutual's post made me hopeful that it will be easier than I thought to grow garlic here! So I'm gonna try to get some ordered and try it! Thanks to all for your posts!
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  camprn on 7/3/2011, 12:37 pm

@sherryeo wrote:I guess I was just insecure about trying something that I've never heard of any of my gardening friends down here trying. Maybe I just needed a little hand-holding and encouragement. I'm glad to have a place to go for that amongst my sfg friends!
Oh, I know this feeling well! Just order the garlic, close your eye, jump in with both feet and be a trendsetter! Very Happy
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/4/2011, 2:18 am

That's what I'm going to do. Now I'm thinking a refrigeration experiment may be in in my near future.
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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/4/2011, 6:08 pm

Well, Shannon, a small experiment just to compare with and without refrigeration couldn't do much harm, could it? Hmmmm. Wink
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/4/2011, 11:45 pm

I love experiments.
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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/5/2011, 8:20 pm

I received a very nice reply to my email to Tom Cloud of Filaree Farms and thought I'd share it:

Tom Cloud wrote:

When I started working at Filaree Farm 15 years ago it was commonly held that garlic wouldn't grow that far south but over the past 6 or 7 years Bill Finch, garden editor for the Mobile Register has been growing our garlic and sending us a growing list of customers. I have heard of this cold conditioning method but don't know any details and Bill has never mentioned it. He has told me that he responds to emails so you might ask him. You might try the refrigeration with some and compare bulbing and size with a control group. I would be eager to hear the result.

I was also surprised when he noted not having luck with the Creoles.
We have already sold our expected yield of Early Portugese. I could put you on our wish list in case harvest exceeds expectations. From Bill’s reports over the years I would recommend China Stripe, Blossom or Thai Purple. Most people in your area request the mid October ship group.





I was very impressed with this customer service and will be placing an order with them soon. I also plan to write to Mr. Finch to see if he has any words of wisdom to share. Shannon, it looks like you and I just MUST try the experiment!
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  camprn on 7/5/2011, 8:24 pm

Fabulous!! cheers
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 7/5/2011, 10:53 pm

Shannon and Sherryeo, Wonderful! I'm so pleased you had good results in your contact with Filaree Farms, they've proved reliable in providing information and garlic starts to us in the past. Most of the garlic we have grown for over 20 years originally came from Filaree Farms. I shall be eagerly awaiting the results you two have with your "experiment" in growing southern garlic. The Thai purple sounds promising. Can't wait to see what comes of this. Nonna (who believes everything but chocolate is better with a dash of garlic)

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Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  sherryeo on 7/8/2011, 11:36 pm

Bumping this because I don't think shannon1 ever saw my last post and I see she's online now! I've also written my home extension office and the guy from Mobile, but haven't heard back from them.
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Re: Gulf Coast Garlic?

Post  shannon1 on 7/8/2011, 11:41 pm

@sherryeo wrote:Bumping this because I don't think shannon1 ever saw my last post and I see she's online now! I've also written my home extension office and the guy from Mobile, but haven't heard back from them.
You'er right I did miss it. What swell folks, and great minds think alike as to the garden trial of chilled vs. not chilled.
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