A garlic scape with dead flowers, no seeds this time

On july 12, 2008 I wrote the post “Can you harvest true seeds from garlic?”

Now it’s about time I write a little on my experience.

It has been very interesting to take some close looks at the scape and flowers of garlic. But I had only short time to inspect the open flowers, as they withered after short time, and for this reason couldn’t set seeds. New flowers opened and withered again over time. I many of the scapes I had removed the topsets. Varieties with large topsets was easy to clean for topsets, whereas those with small topsets set to set new topsets again and again, I didn’t have the persistance to keep them clear of topsets.

Siberian is one of the clones I tested. Known to be able to set true seeds, yet not capable to do it in my garden last season. Could it simply have been a terrible year for garlic seed setting?
Garlic are daylength sensitive, as known from ordinary onion also. Do they get too long days in my garden? Garlic originates in Tien Shan in central Asia, much further south and with much shorter days in late spring and summer. All succesful true garlic seed attempts I remember was performed much south of Denmark.

Should I try again next year? I’m not sure. Those who have grown garlic from true seed for a few generations find, that the younger generations set seed much more easy than the older generations. Maybe I could just lurch around, waiting for somebody to offer sharing true garlic seeds?

I hope my writing will inspire rather than deter you from experimenting with garlic 🙂

A great thank to all of you, who have come forward and shared your adwise and experiments, I’m gratefull.

Last autumn I found a new book on garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith, Timber Press 2008: The complete book of garlic. It has a good description on garlic and seedproduction.

How will I experiment with garlic this year? Well – I have garlic cloves in the freezer, put some of them in the ground this autumn. Now I wait to see if they will grow. If they do, I will in coming years set more, to get an idea of how long the store in a freezer and retain the ability to grow. This knowledge I could use to grow fewer varieties each year, and still mantain a collection.