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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?


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.

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.


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.


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!


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 ?


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.

@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.

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)


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.

I checked my garlic today and my hardnecks were all yellowing and had some sort of rust while almost all my softnecks had fallen over. All signs that they need to come up sharply and it was just in time. The good news is that I pulled them up in time to keep them from getting moldy or rotting (only just I think, the outer skins on a couple of them were starting to slough off), the bad news is that they are pretty small and not that well formed. There's only 3 or 4 that have the traditional garlic shape with defined cloves in more than 2 dozen I pulled up. Many are the size of a golf ball. The softnecks were all a bit better defined but small.

When I planted my hardnecks I was very careful to separate each clove, however quite a few came up in clumps of 2 or 3 growing together. Did I miss something and not get them separated right, or do they just grow like that sometimes?

There are some that are so small that I don't think they've formed segments and I was thinking I might save them and plant them again in the autumn, will that work? I guess I don't lose anything by trying.

So mixed results for me. I got almost 100% germination and I got to them all in time to harvest them, but because of the atrocious conditions they didn't mature particularly well. Still, I got enough of them that I imagine they'll last me awhile. Given that we've had enough rain to ruin everything I can't complain!


Similar results here. I gave up & lifted all mine today. the outer skin on about half were mushy but rubbed off easily, so just in time probably.

One large elephant garlic, with cloves. The rest had detached from the neck, so without the stem I'm guessing won't dry well, I will use them fresh, most hadn't split into cloves. 

A couple of good solent wights, the rest of them & the purple wights were tiny, smaller than golf balls I'd say on average. I had a pair of bulbs that had grown together, even though I'm careful to plant each clove individually, I've never seen it before either. Also lots had one tiny, single clove attached to the outside of the bulb. Very odd. 

They say you should save the largest cloves to re-plant in the autumn & I'm not sure any of mine are large enough so I may not bother for a year or two. It's tempting to stick cloves in the pots when the tomatoes etc. have finished with them in autumn, but they're still in when I need the pots in spring! 

Good luck drying your crop. Mine are on the bottom shelf slats of my greenhouse which is running with condensation rather than sun at the moment. It's impossible to find somewhere warm to dry them this year prior to plaiting.

chilli lover

I lifted my garlic yesterday because they had rust and were also falling over. Howerver, I am delighted to report that they are all a decent size, firm and actually have formed proper cloves this year and don't resemble overssized marbles! 

I put them in the conservayory last night but frankly the garlicky smell is quite overwhelming (I do adore garlic) so was thinking of putting them in the garage. However since I have not had rust before I don't know whether to remove the leaves now -  could the rust still affect the bulbs? Or can I still leave them on? Thanks, Janet



Yes the smell of garlic is very strong in the greenhouse. I wonder if it may keep pests away!

I spotted rust on one of mine actually & then forgot all about it, I'm sure I shouldn't have put that one in the greenhouse, eek.

Not sure about if we should cut the leaves off that one & use it sooner. Maybe someone else knows?


I was reading up on it a few weeks said too cut all of the leaves off, bin them not compost them, make sure that they are kept far away from any other allium family member. And use straight away, as the rust will mean they will not store well. 

I cut the leaves off at the start of the month they have been drying since so far (although i know only a couple of weeks!) they seem to be storing ok. However I am going to use them as soon as I can. 

Sorry gd I have been on hoilday and not able to get wi fi. My garlic is an OK size could be alot better. I am not going to save any for planting due to the rust I will buy new.



My garlic had rust last year.  I dried the bulbs off normally and I am still using them now.  Indeed, they will I think last until I harvest this years garlic, which also has rust.

Use up straight away is an odd turn of phrase.  They will be used as they are used.  That is when I require them.

chilli lover

So Welshonion sounds like you are saying I can leave the leaves on and dry as normal - and plait them? thanks

Thank you Welshonion I was worried they would not keep but I will now use as needed and not worry about the rust . Mind you the rust was very bad.