Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Garlic

It has been a month since I planted my garlic. Nearly all varieties have poke through the grass mulch. Mostly they are busy making roots right now. Tis is a good time to check the crop for any doubles that might have ended up in the ground and to separate them. These two 4x8 raised beds provide room for about 180 head of garlic. You would think that would be enough for a family of two. And usually it is, but this year for some reason I am going through my 2008 crop much faster. Part of the reason is that I relied entirely on my own crop for seed garlic this year. That reduce the crop by 12%. And this summer I was pretty generous in giving it away

One variety is called Place Monge. I named it from a head of garlic I bought at the Sunday organic market in Paris two summers ago. I have actually never tasted it ... each year I have plowed my entire crop into seed for the next year. I now have three rows of it. Other varieties that have done well this year are Carpathian, a Rocambole from Poland, and Pskem, a Purple Stripe from Uzbekistan.

One lesson I learrned during fall planting this year is this. Porcelain garlics like Music Pink tend to have only four, sometimes five cloves. In the past, I have saved the largest heads for planting stock and used up the smaller four clove heads. However, the individual cloves on a four clove head are actually BIGGER than the individual cloves on heads with 6 or 7 cloves per head. So in the future I will save the heads with fewer but bigger individual cloves as planting stock. Size of clove matters when you are planting.

When I had finished my planting last month, I had no room left for a softneck variety that had done quite well called Loicano. So I prepared a small patch of a 4x4 bed in the garden and planted two rows of it.A good place to browse through pictures of seed stock is at the Heirloom Vegetable Garlic Archive. And the best place to buy seed stock that I have found is Filaree Farm in Washington State.


Liz said...

I bought seed from Filaree Farm this year on your recommendation. I was impressed when I got my order, and have high hopes for my crop next year!

Leslie said...

Oh Liz !!! Good to hear from you!! Filaree is a wonderful operation
with lots of integrity. I'd love to know what varieties you chose.