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Garlic choices???

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Do you have any recommendations on what type of garlic to grow?

What's your favorite type?

What zone are you in? (5 for me)



yum!
dan
post #2 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well...I ended up ordering the Choose Gardener's/ Epicure's Delight from gourmet garlic gardens. Last year I tried to oder too late and couldn't find ANY places that were still selling some of the better garlics.

I guess I'll see how some of these taste next year :D


Here's a link I found posted some time ago, by mudbug (I think), on growing garlic.

dan
post #3 of 25
I grew garlic for the first time this year (well, I planted the cloves in October of last year) and have been very pleased with the results. It's so easy. Just plant, give them a little occasional side-dressing of fert. and then let them do what they do no matter what the weather. But I just bought a pack from a local nursery and didn't know what kind I had. This time I've ordered from The Garlic Store: Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce And they seem to know what they're doing. I decided to get the All-Star Sampler Pack--which is good for all climate zones--so I could learn which types I liked best.
Emily

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Emily

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post #4 of 25
As a quick aside. At my garlic growing presentation last night there were 17 people. Only four of them reacted negatively to the idea of eating garlic raw to determine how it really tastes. Quite a difference. In the past, given 17 people, I'd be lucky to get four of them to taste it raw.

Ah, progress!

That aside, I'm not sure what is meant by "good for all climate zones."

Garlic must have a cold tempering period of at least two months. Of course, there's cold and there's cold. But at a minimum we're talking sustained soil temperatues less than 60 degrees. Other than that, climate is irrelevent.

While garlic is daylength sensitive it's nowhere near as sensitive as onions. Long daylength onions just wont develop at all in the deep south, for instance.

Not so with garlic. With garlic, hardneck varieties tend to do better under long daylength conditions, and softnecks tend to do better with short daylengths.

But I guarantee a relatively new garlic grower in the south, who plants a hardneck such as Shvelisi or Music, won't notice the difference. And even though the bulbs will be smaller, and the cloves not as plump, it will still taste so much better than the California White available at the grocery that you won't care even if you do notice the smaller size.

As far as ordering goes, savvy growers know to place their orders in March or April for fall delivery. That way you are on the list early enough to assure availability of the varieties you want, and that the quality is high. Most growers ship their better stuff first. Anything left this time of year, by and large, is usually less than top quality.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks KYH!


I ended up receiving three varieties (2 bulbs of each). S & H Silverskin, Chesnok Red and German White. I'm getting ready to plant them soon...we'll see how it goes in a year :D




dan
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Those little garlic plants are poking their heads up thru the dirt already :D


can't wait!
post #7 of 25
Hope it's ok to ask here in this thread, we have some wild garlic growing in the garden. My question how do you know when the correct time to harvest it is? I've been reading conflicting views online. They have not flowered yet.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi HeidiH,

I'm just starting to grow garlic at home, so I don't have much to offer you. But this link on growing garlic may be useful to you.

good luck!
dan
post #9 of 25
you are gonna love those Chesnok reds. my wife is the gardner, i just till soil and move heavy things and feed and water the animals. that being said when i stand up and pay attention to a particular brand of anything..it means i liked it.
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #10 of 25
How do I know when the garlic is ready to pick?

Can I grow regular cloves that started sprouting?
post #11 of 25
I moved from zone 3 to zone 6, a 120 mile move :D
post #12 of 25
Abe, one of the nice things about garlic is that it tells you if it's ready.

First off, if you're growing hardnecks, they will put out scapes. You want to break those off, for two reasons. First, they're a culinary treat in their own right. And, second, you want the plant to put all its energy into bulb development.

Bulbs will be ready roughly a month after the scapes appear.

But there's a better way, which works for both hard- and softnecks. The leaves will start to change color, first turning a sort of goldish, then going to brown. This happens from the bottom up.

When 2/3 to 3/4 of the leaves have changed, the bulbs are ready. At that point, dig up one of them to see how it looks. It should be filled out, differentiated into cloves, and covered with several layers of "paper."

If that's what it looks like, lift the rest of them and go to the next step, which is curing.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 25
"Can I grow regular cloves that started sprouting? "

Yes, you can. But odds are you won't have enough time for them to bulb out.

I would use those to grow green garlic---basically scallions that are garlic instead of onions.

Plant them about an inch apart, and harvest as needed.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 25
How long does it take to bulb?
post #15 of 25
Although there are slight variations, about four to five months.

Here in Kentucky, for instance, new growth will typically appears in February, and we lift the hardneck garlic around July 5 or so. Depends a little on variety, of course.

But keep in mind that before the new growth the plant had broken its dormancy and is further developing the root structure it began when you planted in the fall.

If you plant those sprouting cloves now, they'll need several weeks to develop roots. Then start growing. And, before they can set bulbs, your hot weather will be in, and they won't tolerate it.

That's why I suggest green garlic now.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 25
Great answers here everyone, thank you! I'm looking forward to making scape pesto when the time is right. Is there any culinary use for the bulbil when that forms?
post #17 of 25

Garlic question

 

I planted a hardneck variety of some sort given me by a friend. They went in the ground in November.

 

They've started dying back, never flowered nor produced scapes. Neither did my friends. He's dug some up says it's ready but that it's behaved oddly this year in the growing pattern.

 

Well is it? He's not a gardening guru, just likes garlic. And besides digging it up and washing it off, what's next for  keeping it as I'll have quite a bit of it. Plus some to keep for next year.

Anyi special way I should treat those heads I keep for planting in the latter part of fall?

 


 

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post #18 of 25

Phil, this has been a strange garlic year in many locals, due to the unusual heat and rainfall.

 

I would certainly lift the garlic and see what you have. I suspect you may have waited too long, and will not have as many layers of outer paper as is ideal, but you should be ok.

 

It is not recommended that you wash garlic bulbs. Some of us do, and get away with it. But if I'm right about the outer wraps, it's especially not a good idea. Just brush off any soil clinging to the bulbs and be done.

 

To cure the garlic, gather it in bunches of no more than ten or 12 plants, with the bulbs separated as much as possible. Hang these in a warm, airy location but not in direct sunlight.

 

If you've already lost the tops (is that what you mean by dying back), just lay the bulbs out on wire racks to cure, leaving as much of the tops in place as you have. Once the bulbs are cured (two-three weeks, depending on conditions) you can store them away. I like putting them in mesh bags.

 

Your seed stock is treated no differently than the eating stuff. As a rule, however, the larger cloves are used for planting.

 

In future, do not wait for the plants to die back. That's something you do with onions. Garlic tops will start to turn brown, from the bottom, when bulbing is complete. When 1/2-2/3 have changed color it's time to lift the bulbs.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #19 of 25

I'll post a pic up later. We had an unusually cool spring early summer with a fair bit of rain into June.  Definitely odd.

 

I found two or three plants with scapes in the digging. Quite small and i missed them in them in my garden inspections.   My garlic was dying back from the tips back. granted my yard is quite xeric and some of ti may not have had as much water as it likes.

 

The garlic I've had from my friend before for just eating never had as much paper layers as commercial garlic and it seems mine is no different. He has much better draining soil than I do so it will be interesting to see how they adapt over the years to my heavier clay soil.

 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #20 of 25

Well, until recently, most of the commercial garlic was California White, a softneck variety. They tend to be better protected, with more outer layers, and with skins that are tighter to the clove.

 

Much of the imported garlic, which is now dominating the market, is also softskin, and there's a lot of paper. On the artichoke types there's even more paper than there was with the California White.

 

Even so, your hardneck varieties, when grown and harvested at the right time, should have at least four layers of paper. Problem is, most of us lift it later than we should, and some of the paper rots away.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

As a quick aside. At my garlic growing presentation last night there were 17 people. Only four of them reacted negatively to the idea of eating garlic raw to determine how it really tastes. Quite a difference. In the past, given 17 people, I'd be lucky to get four of them to taste it raw.

Ah, progress!

That aside, I'm not sure what is meant by "good for all climate zones."

Garlic must have a cold tempering period of at least two months. Of course, there's cold and there's cold. But at a minimum we're talking sustained soil temperatues less than 60 degrees. Other than that, climate is irrelevent.

While garlic is daylength sensitive it's nowhere near as sensitive as onions. Long daylength onions just wont develop at all in the deep south, for instance.

Not so with garlic. With garlic, hardneck varieties tend to do better under long daylength conditions, and softnecks tend to do better with short daylengths.

But I guarantee a relatively new garlic grower in the south, who plants a hardneck such as Shvelisi or Music, won't notice the difference. And even though the bulbs will be smaller, and the cloves not as plump, it will still taste so much better than the California White available at the grocery that you won't care even if you do notice the smaller size.

As far as ordering goes, savvy growers know to place their orders in March or April for fall delivery. That way you are on the list early enough to assure availability of the varieties you want, and that the quality is high. Most growers ship their better stuff first. Anything left this time of year, by and large, is usually less than top quality.


I also eat raw garlic. So KYH, what do you recommend to plant most? The hard one or the soft ones?

post #22 of 25

There's no way I can answer that, HomeMadeCook, because your taste and mine might be the same, might be slightly different, or might be radically different.

 

Nor is it a simple matter of hardneck or softneck. Every garlic variety brings something unique to the table. It might be more or less garlicy. It might be hot or mild. The heat might hit all at once, and fade quickly; or build slowly with an afterburn. It might linger on the tongue, or the back of the throat, or the upper palate.

 

As a general rule (with lots of exceptions), softnecks will have more heat, hardnecks will have richer flavor.

 

So it really depends on what you're looking for. And you might not be looking for the same thing all the time, so different varieties can make sense.

 

As a good, basic general-purpose garlic, though, you'd go a long way trying to find one better than either Shvelisi (Chesnok Red) or Music.

 

FWIW, here are some of my favorites:

 

Shvelisi: Good, general purpose garlic. Choose it or Music, but no need to grow both.

 

Roja or Creole Red: Said to have the quintessential garlic flavor, choose Roja in the north, Creole Red in the south.

 

Persian Star. Neither star shaped nor from Persia, it was collected by John Swenson in a native market in Samarkand and named Samarkand Purple. Ron Engeland, of Filaree Farms renamed it for marketing reasons. Pleasant garlic flavor with some heat and a hint of spice.

 

Xian. Little heat, but rich, full garlic flavor.

 

Kettle River Giant. I like this one primarily because it's fun. We're talking about a true garlic that grows almost as large as Elephant Garlic (which is not a garlic, but a leek).

 

Romanian ( Romanian Red). Lots of heat that is long-lasting.

 

Keep in mind, too, that there is no other garden plant as suseptible to growing conditions as garlic. You and I can grow the same variety and they might not taste the same. Indeed, in your own garden, variety X you grow this year might taste differently next year.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #23 of 25

What I love most about garlic is, it repels the red spider mites of my fruits.  And this herb, steeped in water, is another effective insecticide.

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post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

There's no way I can answer that, HomeMadeCook, because your taste and mine might be the same, might be slightly different, or might be radically different.

 

Nor is it a simple matter of hardneck or softneck. Every garlic variety brings something unique to the table. It might be more or less garlicy. It might be hot or mild. The heat might hit all at once, and fade quickly; or build slowly with an afterburn. It might linger on the tongue, or the back of the throat, or the upper palate.

 

As a general rule (with lots of exceptions), softnecks will have more heat, hardnecks will have richer flavor.

 

So it really depends on what you're looking for. And you might not be looking for the same thing all the time, so different varieties can make sense.

 

As a good, basic general-purpose garlic, though, you'd go a long way trying to find one better than either Shvelisi (Chesnok Red) or Music.

 

FWIW, here are some of my favorites:

 

Shvelisi: Good, general purpose garlic. Choose it or Music, but no need to grow both.

 

Roja or Creole Red: Said to have the quintessential garlic flavor, choose Roja in the north, Creole Red in the south.

 

Persian Star. Neither star shaped nor from Persia, it was collected by John Swenson in a native market in Samarkand and named Samarkand Purple. Ron Engeland, of Filaree Farms renamed it for marketing reasons. Pleasant garlic flavor with some heat and a hint of spice.

 

Xian. Little heat, but rich, full garlic flavor.

 

Kettle River Giant. I like this one primarily because it's fun. We're talking about a true garlic that grows almost as large as Elephant Garlic (which is not a garlic, but a leek).

 

Romanian ( Romanian Red). Lots of heat that is long-lasting.

 

Keep in mind, too, that there is no other garden plant as suseptible to growing conditions as garlic. You and I can grow the same variety and they might not taste the same. Indeed, in your own garden, variety X you grow this year might taste differently next year.


Yes I understand we do have different choices or tastes, my question refers to what do you like the most amongst all of the ones you listed? 

post #25 of 25

I don't have strict preferences between them. It depends on what I'm using the garlic for. Shvelisi is used as my main crop, and I'll have as many as six others in small amounts. For instance, I'll be growing Cherokee for the first time this year. Game plan is to start with 6 bulbs and go on from there.

 

My recommendation is that you grow either Shvelisi or Music as your main crop. That will provide 90% of your garlic needs (well, even 100% if you choose), and I've never heard of anyone being unhappy with either of those. Then grow one or two other varieties to see how you like them, and whether you want to expand the size of that crop. With 595 named varieties you'll have no lack of choices.

 

For planning purposes, on average, with hardnecks, there are 60 cloves per pound. And you should expect 97% success at a minimum. So just do the math. You can achieve your goal either with time or with money, depending on how much of a rush you're in. And don't forget, by the third year your garlic is, virtually, free (1.7 cents per head, actually).

 

Let's say you go whole hog, and spend the money this year. You would start with 3 lbs of the Shvelisi/Music for your main crop, and a half-pound each of any others.

 

The main crop will provide you with 175 heads the following spring (180 x 97%). Reserve half of them for seed and you have 87 for eating. That's more than 1 1/2 heads per week, supplemented by the experimental varieties. Plus you'll have several weeks in which you'll be eating scapes.  

 

A 1/2 lb should provide you with 28 heads next spring. Let's say you really love the experimental variety. If you reserve half of it for seed, you'll have approximately 135 heads the following year (14 x 10 x97%)---which certainly should be more than enough for a secondary crop.

 

The numbers are not quite as straight forward as that, because we tend to choose the larger cloves as seed stock, and there aren't as many of them. But you can see how relatively easy it is to figure productivity of hardnecks.

 

It's a little harder predicting softneck production, because the number of cloves per pound is all over the lot. But, again, I wouldn't start with more than 1/2 pound of an unfamiliar variety.

 

Personally, I'd rather trade time for money. With the exception of Samarkand Purple---which was a gift from John Swenson---I've never started with more than 6 bulbs, and, in many cases, even less. But I'm not in any particular rush.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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