I have been growing garlic for years and I am a friendly competition with my brother to see who can get the largest bulbs. Here are a few things that I have learned.
Garlic is photo-periodic, which means that it relies on day length to induce flowering and bulb formation. For this reason I don't usually recommend planting garlic from the supermarket, it will not do as well as a variety that is acclimated to your area. But since you are in California, and most commercial garlic comes from California you are in a different position than most of us.
Plant in rich and loose soil. Since garlic can be a heavy feeder some sort of organic matter such as compost or manure makes a big difference. The idea is to produce a nice fat stalk, which in turn will provide a larger bulb. Loose soil in addition to being better for the plant itself also allows the bulb to expand with less resistance. I have had good results in a raised bed, which makes sense because garlic is planted in the summer or early fall and cannot be disturbed the following spring and therefore should not be part of your main garden.
Garlic must be dug and divided each year to maintain good bulb size. Planting your cloves earlier in the season aids in encouraging healthy well-established plants before winter sets in. This in turn means a better plant the next spring and a larger bulb later. In nature the bulb remains in the ground permanently, that should tell you something.
Some varieties produce a Ã¢â‚¬Å“flower stalkÃ¢â‚¬
Last edited by Gnome
on Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:00 pm, edited 4 times in total.