SgtMaj. I see why you say two years. Why don't you plant some in the fall, before the first hard frost, then by the summertime, you will have mature garlic bulbs. I have planted garlic in the spring before, and yes, it just doesn't have the months of underground bulb growth that fall planted garlic has. Garlic doesn't have to sprout to grow, probably better if it has not sprouted, I would think.
Moonshae and Jess. Gardening is so different in places. My comments may not be applicable to either of you.
Moonshae, your garlic is mature, it is putting forth flowers. If I were you, I would cut those flower tops off and allow the plants to mature just a little bit more. This is what I do, it may be right for you. I go by how the plants look. When I have cut off the flower tops and I see that about half of the plant has started to go brown, I pull the bulbs. I lay them in the sun to cure for half of a day, now remember, I am not that hot up here, the afternoons are hot enough, but I think farther south it is scorching, laying in the shade to cure would be the way to go in a really hot place.
After this initial curing, then the garlic is hung up, the bulbs facing downwards, this works like a wick and wicks out the moisture. Moonshae, I would suggest pulling the garlic soon and curing it a little bit. Come the time in the fall when the garlic should be planted, take those bulbs and separate the cloves, plant the cloves individually. I think this is what you should do. This is what I would do. The plants are almost fully mature and you will see that the cloves that you planted have now bulbed, I am sure. Pull one out and see, report back, and maybe more comments can be made, depending upon what you find beneath the soil. I would love to know.
Jess, I can't comment about what is going on with the browning tips. Maybe others can chime in. I do know one thing though, garlic does not require an awful lot of feeding during the few months prior to it maturing, are you over-fertilizing? Just a thought.....garlic does love to be fed. And yes, manure, holy smoking smokers, they love that stuff. I have to get a picture of my garlic that somehow got into a spot in my asparagus patch, where it is manured heavily with turkey and compost. It is monster garlic!!! It is very pretty growing amongst the asparagus.
Good luck, hope all works out with the garlic. Yum, yum!!! Beautiful and most wonderful day, love and live life like there never was a tomorrow. Cindi