Row by Row Episode 30: Growing Garlic and Elephant Garlic in Southern Climates

Growing Garlic and Elephant Garlic in the South

On this week’s episode, the guys talk about growing garlic and elephant garlic in their southern climate. Which can be somewhat tricking growing in the garden with the temperatures we have in the deep south. They begin by distinguishing between hardneck and softneck garlic. Travis mentions that softneck grows well in areas with milder winters, whereas hardneck garlic prefers areas where winters can get pretty cold. Greg explains that softneck garlic is what is traditionally found at the grocery store. He then shares his experience with growing softneck garlic in his garden. Garlic needs cold temperatures or vernalization, which is the induction of flowering or bulbing. This vernalization period is necessary for the garlic bulb to stratify, or produce cloves. Greg mentions that it rarely gets cold enough in South Georgia for that stratification to take place. Some people claim that putting the cloves in the refrigerator before you plant can help with growth in the southern climates. On the other hand, the guys explain that they have had success growing elephant garlic. Elephant garlic, although related, is not a true garlic. Elephant garlic is closely related to leeks than garlic. They plant elephant garlic around the same time they plant onions. They dig a furrow and plant the cloves with the pointed ends up, about 3-4″ deep in well-drained soil.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Greg talks a little bit about his Covington potatoes that have done great in the garden this year. Next year he is thinking about doing a row of Covington and Georgia Jets from Steele Plant Company to see which one does better. Travis brings the bottom of an okra stalk from his garden. Due to the cool weather, he recently pulled his okra plants from the soil. He mentions that this is a good opportunity to check for root-knot nematodes. From the appearance of these roots, there doesn’t appear to be any root-knot nematode damage, which is good. He also brought some transplants that are ready to go in the ground, which includes Parris Island Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and beets. The tool of the week is our high carbon steel pruning shears that are really easy to sharpen. These shears are great for pruning muscadine vines and fig trees.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about soil blocking and pruning Brussels sprouts. Greg mentions that soil blocking is a good technique for people who like to take a long time to do something simple. He explains that the arguments for soil blocks don’t hold water against their heavy-duty seed starting trays. Travis has a little more experience with growing Brussel sprouts. He talks about topping Brussels sprouts to get a better harvest. He mentions that the stalks will start by making a ton of foliage on the center stalks and then you will start to see the axillary buds begin to form. Under that foliage on that center stalk, you will then start to see your Brussel sprouts form. If you do not go in there and cut the tops off the plant’s energy will be more focused on making leaves. Also, the Brussel sprouts will be unevenly sized along the stalks of the plant. Travis recommends getting a pair of pruners and cutting off the top apical meristem. That will allow the plant to put more energy and focus into growing more buds or Brussel sprouts. This will also increase more evenly production on the stalks in the garden.

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