Photo by Jessica Walliser
I’m planting seven varieties of garlic this year, though they are going in the ground a little late.
The traditional time for planting garlic in my area is the middle of October, but I’m getting to it a little late this year. A friend just gave me seven beautiful heads of garlic from another farmer friend and I plan to head out to the garden this afternoon and plant them.
I already planted a few heads of Music, a favorite garlic variety of mine. It is an Italian introduction that is very spicy when raw, with a mellow flavor once its been cooked. I love its soft, pinkish purple color.
The package also came with the following garlic varieties.
- Bogatyr: a hardneck type garlic (they tend to do best around here) with a gorgeous purple stripe. It is a Russian variety known for its hot and pungent taste.
- German White: another hardneck garlic type, but this one is porcelain white. I am looking forward to roasting these large heads, as they have a very robust flavor. The plants themselves are extremely hardy.
- Chesnok Red: a hardneck type known for plum-colored striping. It is from the Republic of Georgia and is excellent both raw and cooked. I have grown Chesnok Red garlic before and enjoyed it sautéed with Swiss chard in a bit of olive oil.
- Starbright: a purple striped white hardneck garlic type that stores beautifully. The flavor is quite nutty when the cloves are cooked.
- Chilean Silver: a beautiful, pure-white softneck garlic type. I haven’t grown this one before, but I am looking forward to trying a softneck type. The flavor is said to be a perfectly balanced spice. Chilean Silver is known for its long shelf life—up to 12 months!
So now I must head to the garden, crack apart the cloves and nestle them into the ground. I usually plant the cloves about 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart after working some of the neighbor’s old horse manure into the planting area. By the time July rolls around, I’ll have the pleasure of digging up 70 or 80 heads of garlic!