Thursday, July 19, 2007

Garlic Harvest and Types

I am taking in the harvest a tad early because I need to make room for some other plantings. However, the garlic bulbs are still sizeable:

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My eldest and a bunch of garlic.

These are a hardneck variety, perhaps Russian Red as they have red skins inside though I can't be sure. My plant labels disappeared what with the many feet of snow, the great thaw times 2, various critters and helpful children.

I believe I planted Russian Red, Music and um... some other kind?

Whatever they are, they all sent up scapes (those are the flower buds on the garlic, a delicacy in themselves). They are also all deliciously fresh and crisp unlike those dried out, wimpy store brought ones.

All the varities I planted were purchased at the Carp Garlic Festival so have adapted to local growing conditions. It's a great way to get a variety of garlics to try at a reasonable prize if you are in the Ottawa area. Best of all, you can spend all day tasting garlic treats without a thought to your breath. Everyone's wearing the same perfume there.

But I promised you a short tutorial:

Hardneck versus Softneck.

The first difference is obvious, hardnecks, like in the above picture, have a hard stem - don't try and braid this kind of garlic.

But there is more, hardneck tend to flower giving you an extra crop of delicious scapes before the bulbs are ready. They also are the preferred crop for many northern growers and store about 3-6 months.

Softnecks are apparently more adaptive and productive and given the proper conditions will store for up to a year. However, they are more commonly grown in southern climes. That's not to say that they will not grow up north. They will.

My experience with my own garden is that the hardnecks are much more productive and healthier looking in whereas the softnecks were smaller and more prone to yellowed leaves. However, I have not tried a huge sampling of different varities yet!

Links:

More about different types of garlics
Garlic growing link, lists varities
How to braid garlic
Garlic SHOW braid - crazy fun

4 comments:

Christa said...

Cute photo of your daughter with the garlic!

kate said...

I didn't know there was a difference in garlic. Now I do ... hardneck v. softneck. I didn't realise there was a garlic festival in Carp.

Your daughter is adorable holding the garlic!

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

We are going to plant the garlic seeds that were given to us...probably this week.

I think that now is an okay time to plant garlic seeds,yes??? Or should I put them away & plant at some other time???

mushroom man said...

hi TBButterfly. What you have there are garlic bulbils, tiny little garlic bulbs.Plant them out about the middle of October. Next year 1st/2nd week of July you'll harvest single but a much larger bulb. Plant that out next year (in a new spot, always rotate your garlic, I wait till the 4th year to reuse a garlic plot) and you'll get heads of garlic.Bulbils are generally used to revitalize your garlic,it will produce a new generation of garlic acting as a disease vector. Your better to go back an see those people that gave you the bulbils and ask for a few bulbs. Plant out the garlic in October about an inch and 1/2 deep. make sure you feed the soil well (garlic is a gross feeder, loves good organic material. I use chicken pellets.Next year you'll notice a center scape ( like a flower stock, the bulbils grow on the end)after this scape has started to uncurl,you can cut it to produce larger bulbs. Leave some of your garlic scapes on and leave them on after you have harvested and dry for a month or so before removing it. These bulbs are for long term storage. The bulbs that you removed the scape from will be used for current consumption and to grow out again in October. Ho[pe this helps