Great Garlic Cultivars

Make the most of this foundational culinary ingredient by planting and harvesting more than once a year.

| September/October 2019

garlic
Photo by Adobe Stock/licvin

Downright obsessed: That’s the best way to describe those who love and grow garlic (Allium sativum). Aside from chili peppers, few crops have such a following. Its fans attend garlic festivals, celebrate the annual harvest, and share recipes that maximize what makes garlic so addictive. Of course, its not without its haters. Nevertheless, garlic has a long and storied history punctuated with myriad uses, both medicinal and culinary. To harness these uses, first get familiar with the plant itself, and then choose your favorite cultivars to plant, grow, and harvest at home.

The Beginnings of Garlic

As a garden plant, garlic is surprisingly easy to grow and highly productive. It has the added benefit of growing when many beds lie fallow, as garlic cloves are planted in autumn but not harvested until early to midsummer. Garlic cultivars can grow soon after being planted in the autumn, although some wait until the beginning of spring. Garlic is also a stately plant in the garden, as every phase of its growth is attractive. Garlic scapes — or flower buds — must be removed before blooming, but are beautiful as they begin to appear in early summer. They have several uses in the kitchen, and make a fresh summer treat.

planting-garlic
Photo by Adobe Stock/JackF



You can find dozens of garlic cultivars suited for growing at home. Seed purveyors catalog their garlic cultivars by type — hardneck and softneck — and usually include the backstory of each cultivar, which is often as interesting as that of any heirloom tomato. The most difficult thing for gardeners to remember is exactly when to order garlic, because it’s shipped during their brief dormant period in late summer through early autumn, just before the ideal time for gardeners to sow. Upon arrival or purchase, open the boxes immediately and separate the cloves from the main bulb by carefully peeling each clove away from the central stalk just prior to planting.

Plenty of Garlic to Go Around

Garlic cultivars fall into two main groups: hardneck (A. sativum var. ophioscorodon) and softneck (A. sativum var. sativum). “Neck” refers to the central stem standing at the end of the season. Softneck types (or braiding garlic) allow you to braid the garlic, and are the most common type of garlic found in supermarkets. Softneck garlic doesn’t have a large central stem. Hardneck types (Rocambole or top-setting garlic) form a hard stem, and are popular with collectors and growers who believe these types have a stronger flavor, store better, and produce cloves that are easier to peel. Hardnecks still have their woody central stem, so peeling the cloves away from the stalk is easier. Each is worth growing if you’ve never grown garlic, as the crops are immensely useful in the kitchen, and it’s fun to have a variety of different types of garlic to experiment with.






fermentation

FERMENTATION FRENZY!

September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.

LEARN MORE







Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me