Geography Through Garlic

Garlic for 2015

World Wide Garlic

Planting Session

Planting Session

For me, garlic marks the beginning of the next season. It is planted in the fall, allowed to winter in the ground, and spring up through the April chill. Battling weeds in the garlic rows was disagreeable in May, discouraging in June, and a definite debacle in July. So this time the rows are spaced 4.5 feet apart. We modified a disk harrow so we can drive a tractor over the small young plants in the spring. I’m trying to find some clever way of sowing a low-growing cover which won’t compete with garlic and helps to deter other weeds.  There’s always straw or plastic mulch, and I could be overthinking the problem.

In addition to our own garlic stock this year, here are additional varieties for next year. Each type is a modest half pound, and we have 17 types originating from various areas across the globe.

All of the hundreds of sub-varieties of garlic grown all over the world came from the ten groups of hardnecks that evolved in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Garlic (Allium Sativum) has two subspecies, hardneck and softneck. Hardneck refers to the flower stalk that forms bulbils. There are eight types of hardneck varieties: Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, Asiatic, Turban, Creole and Rocambole.

Variety Description Origins
German Extra Hardy Also known as German White. Vigorous grower with long roots that enable it to overwinter without heaving out of the ground. Outside skin is ivory-white, but the clove skin is dark red. Strong raw flavor, high sugar content, one of the very best for roasting. Hardneck, 4-7 cloves per bulb. Germany
German Red Mid-season. German Red is a full-bodied, strong and spicy rocambole garlic that reliably produces large, satiny white and purple heads. The easy-to-peel cloves are wrapped in fawn colored skins. A widely popular variety that sets the standard for true garlic flavor. Grows particularly well in colder regions of the country. Germany
French French rocambole. France
Music Mid-season. Music hits the top of the charts when it comes to yields. In trials at Michigan State University, Music out-produced all others with a harvest of over 13,500 pounds per acre! White skinned with just a blush of pink, this garlic makes big cloves that are easy-to-peel. The taste is a medium hot, true garlic flavor that lasts for a long time. Music will store 9 months to a year. Very cold tolerant. Italy
Carpathian Originating near the Carpathian mountains of Poland. Poland
Spanish Roja Sharp and assertive flavor when used raw. Spain
Blanak Mid-season. This spicy, vigorous, cold-hardy rocambole from Bulgaria produces elegant, pearly white heads with chunky cloves. Blanak’s cloves are covered with a shiny purpley-taupe colored skin that is easily peeled. The flavor is fiery and lasting; great for roasting, salsa making and adding zing to pickles. Bulgaria
Turkish Giant Mid-season. This gorgeous, purple stripe variety offers bold, full-bodied flavor that goes hand in hand with its size. The extra strong plants have sturdy, tall foliage, supplying lots of energy to produce Turkish Giant’s bright red bulbs. An excellent choice for those who are looking for robust garlic flavor and superior storage qualities. Turkey
Duganski Mid-season. A stunningly beautiful, purple stripe garlic with large bulbs and an amazing flavor that matches its looks and size. Purple outer wrappers protect the violet-tinged cloves that burst with a fiery flavor and mellow out with a pleasant aftertaste. Czech Republic
Bogatyr Obtained from the Gatersleben Seed Bank (#7204), but originally from Moscow. Beautifully marbled brown or purple striped cloves. Good storage qualities. One of the most consistent garlics grown at Heritage Farm. Hardneck, 5-7 cloves per bulb. Moscow
Siberian Mid-season. This garlic really lives up to its name when it comes to thriving in cold weather. A top-notch producer in cold climates, Siberian deserves consideration from all northern gardeners. The cloves are protected by an attractive light pink skin that becomes even redder when grown in high-iron soils. This clean, medium-to-strong flavored garlic will warm your soul on the coldest winter evening. Best of all, it is purported to have high allicin content, possibly the highest of any garlic. Allicin supports normal cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system, and enhances circulation. Russia
Purple Glazer Mid-season. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the satiny clove wrappers of Purple Glazer. A vivid, royal purple tinged with shiny gold and/or silver hues makes this one of the most attractive garlics. As a sub-variety of Purple Stripe, a group known for being the “best baked garlic”, Purple Glazer has a strong lasting flavor, but not hot and no aftertaste. Very easy to peel. South Russia
Georgian Fire Obtained from the Gatersleben Seed Bank (#6822) in eastern Germany. Described by chefs as a truly “white hot” garlic. Raw taste is strong with a hotness that is not at all unpleasant. Great for salsa and salads. Hardneck, 4-6 cloves per bulb. Georgia
Pskem River Originally collected by SSE member John Swenson in 1989 from the Pskem River Valley in Uzbekistan. Beautiful purple striped cloves, full flavor. Hardneck, 4–5 cloves per bulb. Uzbekistan
Vietnamese Red Mid-season. This purple stripe variety has a mild spice that dissipates quickly with a pleasant finish. Vietnamese Red has a creamy texture, and its high sugar content gives it an overall sweeter flavor that’s easy on your stomach. This is a perfect choice for dishes where the garlic won’t overpower other ingredients, but still provide just enough savory flavor. Its extended shelf life is an extra bonus for this well-rounded garlic. Vietnam

Softneck garlic do not form scapes, and can be stored longer than hardneck varieties. They can be braided (think rustic Italian countryside). They form smaller cloves and grow well in milder climates. Most supermarket varieties are softneck and imported from overseas industrial farms.

Broadleaf Czech Nice tan cloves with a hint of red. Cooked flavor is very nice, described as mild and full flavored. When raw the flavor is hot to very hot. Obtained from the Gatersleben Seed Bank (#146). Softneck, 8-12 cloves per bulb. Czech Republic
Inchelium Red Found growing on the Colville Indian Reservation in Inchelium, Washington. Light purple blotching on bulbs. Compound bulbs have 8-10 outer cloves and 10- 15 small cloves in the center of the bulb. Rated the best tasting garlic by the Rodale Institute in 1990. Softneck, 12- 16 cloves per bulb. US, Washington State
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