So, I’m a little behind in planting garlic… I think. I meant to do it last month before the fall window closed, but somehow it is now mid-December! Luckily, I live in a mediterranean climate that is quite forgiving of procrastination. This is actually my first time planting garlic so I’m excited to see how it does. The process is quite straightforward and easy. One thing I found out in research (after I planted of course) was that larger cloves will produce larger bulbs of garlic… go figure.
The variety I planted is Purple Haze, a hardneck heirloom that I got from a friend at the farmers market. It produces large, red skinned cloves that are easy to peel and have a good, spicy zing. It’s only the best garlic I’ve tried so far, no big deal.
Garlic types (adapted from Mother Earth News)
Softneck: grows best where winters are mild; some tolerate cold to Zone 5. Most varieties do not produce scapes (edible curled flower stalks). Softnecks are great for braiding and subtypes include Creole, artichoke and many Asian varieties.
Hardneck: adapts to cold winter climates and produces curled scapes in early summer. Some favorite subtypes are porcelain, purple stripe and rocambole varieties.
Elephant garlic: is closely related to the leek. It produces a large, mild bulb with four to six big cloves and is hardy to Zone 5 if given deep winter mulch.
When to plant
Fall is the best time (after 1st frost where applicable), as fall planted garlic matures faster and produces larger bulbs than spring planted.
How to plant
Separate cloves from the bulb, keeping the papery tunic and basal plate intact on each clove. As with any crop, before planting mix in 1-2″ of mature compost. Plant the cloves with the basal plate down, 2″ deep and 5″ apart. Cover with soil, water in and mulch if desired. The mulching is most important in colder climates.
We’ll see what comes up, and hopefully I’ll have something to post about harvest and storage for you in early summer! If you have any tips or pointers, let me know!