How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

Dee
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How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#1

Post: # 64600Unread post Dee
Thu Mar 03, 2022 3:19 pm

This is probably a newbie question, but I was wondering how long garlic bulbils stay viable from the time they are harvested. A year? Two years?

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#2

Post: # 64604Unread post Bower
Thu Mar 03, 2022 3:30 pm

I would say for most varieties and storage conditions, a year would be most to hope for partial success. I do try to plant mine the same year harvested, and for sure you'll get the best results from fresh.
However if you have bulbils that you examine and find to be firm after a year or longer, go ahead and plant I'd say.
I have certainly had some bulbils and/or cloves or rounds that didn't get planted but outlasted expectations, some put up a green flag in protest of not getting to the ground. ;)
The thing about bulbils is sometimes the wrappers are less formed and certainly it's a single wrapper to keep them from the elements. So in average indoor conditions, they tend to dry out pretty quick.
That being said, my own season is so short that it's difficult to get fully formed bulbils with full wrappers, even when the whole plant is brought indoors before frost to finish the process.
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#3

Post: # 64617Unread post rxkeith
Thu Mar 03, 2022 6:37 pm

i have planted bulbils the following spring with success. i was basically filling blank spots where fall planted garlic or bulbils
failed to come up. the bulbils were larger pea sized. smaller bulbils may not last as long due to size. they dry up faster i suspect.
so, at least some bulbils will carry over to spring the following year with no problem. by two years, they would be a dried up shell.
you could plant some in a pot, and keep them cool enough from sprouting, maybe in a garage or unheated basement until you can plant
outside. once they sprout, they want to grow.


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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#4

Post: # 64639Unread post habitat-gardener
Fri Mar 04, 2022 12:03 am

I bought Lyubasha garlic bulbils from Nikitovka last April. Once I received them, following the directions on the package, I transferred them out of the plastic baggie into a paper bag. And then forgot about them, or was too busy doing other stuff, until about a month ago. I planted them all anyway, and now I have lots of little green sprouts coming up! So at least a year, maybe two, if they were harvested the preceding fall.

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#5

Post: # 64669Unread post GoDawgs
Fri Mar 04, 2022 10:18 am

One more bulbil question. I have my first effort growing in a window box on the porch so they'll have to be transplanted out later. Can I just separate them and plant right away or do I need to let them cure first like I do my regular garlic crop?

Also, can I just plant the bulbils out there in the ground and if I let them just stay there for several years will they get full size like the bulbs they came from? The ones I have came from some garlic I missed harvesting because the tops had died back and disappeared. Then they grew back the next year and produced these bulbils.

Edited to add today's pic:

Image

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#6

Post: # 64739Unread post Dee
Sat Mar 05, 2022 9:15 am

@GoDawgs What a great picture! They look healthy.

I usually dry/cure the rounds like I would garlic bulbs before I replant them, but I'm not sure if you need to or not. I also pull them every year in August, as by the second year they have developed little tiny cloves that can be separated and replanted. I'm not sure if the bulbils/rounds would just continue to develop into bulbs if left in the ground for several years, but I am curious now. Hopefully, someone else can chime in!

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#7

Post: # 64772Unread post Bower
Sat Mar 05, 2022 2:29 pm

@GoDawgs I would let them finish their season right where they are in the pot. When they dry down, I pull and cure the rounds as Dee said, and plant them in the fall when the other garlic goes in.
But I have had some bulbs and rounds that escaped me and remained in the ground after drying down. Sometimes they'll just make some tiny divided bulbs all squashed together, but a couple of times they produced large rounds from the cloves instead of bulbing, and those were great for planting.
The real issue seems to be whether they have enough nutrients to get bigger, if you haven't moved them to space them out, that is when they reach the divided bulb stage. For a round though, I should think it could stay on for the extra year, as long as the soil is good and the spacing adequate to get what they need.
It can be disappointing to see a nice plump round turn into a divided bulb that isn't much bigger. The cloves are so much smaller, it's a setback to reaching full size...
Some people just grow their garlic as a perennial patch, pulling a few when they want some and otherwise leaving them to divide as they see fit.
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#8

Post: # 64782Unread post Whwoz
Sat Mar 05, 2022 4:06 pm

@GoDawgs , I would be lifting them every year. When garlic is left in the ground, each clove has a much more limited area in which to grow and while the inner ones can push the outers out a bit, the tendency is for clove size to decrease

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#9

Post: # 64810Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Mar 06, 2022 7:56 am

Thanks for the input, folks! I think I'll pull them when I harvest my regular garlic, cure them alongside the others and replant this fall.

I have a ton of bulbils left over so I think I'll plant some in a small area and just let them go.

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#10

Post: # 64904Unread post JRinPA
Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:09 pm

I have bulbils in the basement from July of 2020. They threw up a green flag last summer. They still look viable. I was going to plant them in February but chickened out. I think I will plant them after this weekend. It is supposed to hit 20F on Saturday night...I just filled up some rain gutters and cut flats for 60' of pea row, sitting on the driveway, which should germinate the peas much faster than in the ground. But I was looking at the weather and see the 20F so I will wait on both of these until next week.

When I do plant the bulbils, I plan to put the green tip up. Not sure how deep though. Any suggestions? Above, level, below?

This is what they look like now, 20 months since harvest.
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#11

Post: # 64915Unread post Whwoz
Mon Mar 07, 2022 10:27 pm

They look great to me, probably plant a little bit under to give them some protection from any nasty cold snaps you may get

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#12

Post: # 64920Unread post GoDawgs
Tue Mar 08, 2022 6:54 am

JRinPA wrote: Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:09 pm When I do plant the bulbils, I plan to put the green tip up. Not sure how deep though. Any suggestions? Above, level, below?
This is a handy site I used to start mine but I always like to get input from others in real life too. :)

http://greyduckgarlic.com/how-to-grow-g ... lbils.html

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#13

Post: # 64922Unread post Bower
Tue Mar 08, 2022 6:59 am

I follow the same rule as with garlic cloves, roughly 3X their height below ground. Shallower may be fine too especially if they're already sprouted, but you definitely want them to be underground.
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#14

Post: # 64924Unread post Tormato
Tue Mar 08, 2022 7:16 am

JRinPA wrote: Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:09 pm I have bulbils in the basement from July of 2020. They threw up a green flag last summer. They still look viable. I was going to plant them in February but chickened out. I think I will plant them after this weekend. It is supposed to hit 20F on Saturday night...I just filled up some rain gutters and cut flats for 60' of pea row, sitting on the driveway, which should germinate the peas much faster than in the ground. But I was looking at the weather and see the 20F so I will wait on both of these until next week.

When I do plant the bulbils, I plan to put the green tip up. Not sure how deep though. Any suggestions? Above, level, below?

This is what they look like now, 20 months since harvest.
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Those look like topsets on walking onions.

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#15

Post: # 64931Unread post rxkeith
Tue Mar 08, 2022 9:28 am

those are some big bulbils, jr in pa. right about the same size as the variety that i have. what kind are they?
walking onions don't have that outer wrapper that garlic bulbils have, but the bulbils pictured are about the same size
as the catawissa top sets.

i always lift what ever bulbils i have growing in the summer time. depending on the type of garlic, they will need more space the
following year. the larger bulbils will either form small bulbs of garlic or large rounds. the one variety i have, if it does form a small
bulb, it will grow a scape of its own. the bulbils that form large rounds will have a short growth habit, and not form a scape.
so, you can tell by growth habit, what is under ground. i always miss something in harvesting, and i will have garlic coming up in scattered
spots in the garden. by lifting them each year, you can evaluate size and health of the bulbils, and select which ones you want to replant
from the ones that aren't sizing up.

planting depth of bulbils would be about two to three inches. i am not exact. i dig a shallow trench, pour some composted chicken manure
in the bottom of the trench, plant the bulbils about 4 inches apart if they are larger size or just sprinkle lightly the smaller bulbils. i am
not anal enough to space the small bulbils one or two inches apart, but you can if you want to.


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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#16

Post: # 64949Unread post JRinPA
Tue Mar 08, 2022 2:54 pm

Probably a rocambole but???. Been walking here for a long time, since early 70s, and it grows well..in that amount of time it probably seeded on some bad years, not just bulbil clones spreading, but sexually. When it walks/crowds the bulbs are small and the bulbils much smaller and more numerous than those shown. It is only the last few years since I started planting it in beds that I get bulbs 2"-3"+ and bulbils 3/8-1/2" and only 12-25 per umbel. Same garlic, different spacing/compost beds.

I never had to buy garlic seed, but I did splurge on a new garlic press recently that fits the entire clove. I love it, it is a simple two piece press with no extra basket to lose in the dish rack. "Scandinavian design" according to the blurb, but made in China. What isn't? Not a lot of leverage though since the cup is longer/further away from the pivot, so it is takes strong hands.

Last year I broke all the scapes, so no bulbils. These are from the year before, just laying in a bin downstairs.

I know what I get from it this year won't be typical of bulbil planting. But I'm sort of wondering if I planted enough cloves last Dec. Only around 90. And it is "use them or lose them" time for these bulbils. What I get from these might well be eaten, not replanted.

I guess I could go plant now...I was going to wait but now they are burning a hole in my pocket. I don't want the flags to get frozen, that is my instinct, but garlic is tough, I suppose. I'm definitely holding off on the peas until the 20F night has passed.

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#17

Post: # 65108Unread post JRinPA
Thu Mar 10, 2022 10:18 pm

I checked my garlic double rows today and they are finally starting to poke up through the 4" or so of compost to show some green flags.

These bulbils do look viable yet, at 20 months. The basement gets above 80F in the summer and down to 53F in the winter, and I usually try to keep it below 60% relative humidity.

There were some on the floor that may have gotten stepped on, so I peeled the papers off to see what they look like. They are moist and smell like fresh garlic to me. The forecast has dropped the low to 14F on Saturday night. I'll hold off planting a couple more days. The soil temp in one flower bed was 44F at 7" deep today at 5pm. I'll probably set these with a dowel at 3" deep and drop them down, then maybe put a little leaf mulch on top.
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#18

Post: # 65619Unread post JRinPA
Fri Mar 18, 2022 1:01 am

About 3 days back, so call it, 3/14, I planted bulbils. They actually looked worse than my pic from a week before, or seemed worse at least, when I went to plant them. I had them laying in the same spot for a year and a half, right over by my grow lights, but those lights didn't get turned on at all last year. So, now they were on for a couple weeks, and I'd swear the bulbils were sprouted more than the week earlier. I think I woke them up a week early. But I put them in the raised bed, about 2"-3" deep so the flags are just near the surface. And then covered thinly with some shredded leaves, and now it rained good, so we'll see.

On one side of the bed I planted the old bulbils, and on the other side of the centerline I transplanted some walking garlic. This garlic is walking alongside the shady side of the house. There has always been some there, but a few years back, maybe 4 years back, I planted some small stuff bulbs there, in rows. I don't think I ever picked it, so it has walked around a few feet. I forked a foot of them out. Some are little rounds, and some were in bunches from last year's divided cloves, growing up in the bulb cluster. This is how they always grew before, walking around the garden, the edges. Between the bulbils and transplants it is about 5 ft of the 30x4 ft bed used, in 6 rows across, spaced about 4" in the rows, so 5/4x12x6= maybe 90 plants in 20 sq ft. I have to think the transplants will do fine and give a 1" garlic, but we'll see about the old bulbil viability.

This year I plan to allow some bulbils to develop and go from there for future bulbil growouts.

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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#19

Post: # 68567Unread post JRinPA
Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:44 am

So I planted, 5-6 weeks back, both 20 month old bulbils and shovel transplants from around the shady side of the house. The raised beds didn't get much water for a few weeks. But now I have the water barrels collecting rainwater and got the drip tape hooked up as well for the last week. The shovel transplants, with plenty of sun, nutrition, and spacing in the raised bed, are quickly outpacing the crowded stuff on the shady side of the house (no pics of that). The bulbil plantings are starting to grow better too, since I started watering.


MARCH 30th bulbils and transplants planted MAR 14th
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APRIL 20th bulbils and transplants planted MAR 14th
There is a stretch where none came up, but overall it looks like 80% of the bulbils are up and running. I expect it will be a much later harvest compared to normal overwintered cloves.
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APRIL 22nd comparison to my normal December clove planting, this year in a regular garden row with too much spacing.
Comparison
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Re: How Long Do Garlic Bulbils Remain Viable?

#20

Post: # 71209Unread post JRinPA
Mon Jun 06, 2022 11:16 pm

The March 14th transplants have some scapes looped around already. No scapes on the regular planting or the bulbils, as yet. Do bulbils normally throw scapes?

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