It’s time to buy your ‘seed’ garlic, which you should store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place until planting time, from mid-October to mid-November. Seed garlic bulbs are specifically chosen for planting because they are the healthiest bulbs with the largest cloves, and they are intact. By planting the largest cloves, you’ll be rewarded with a harvest of big, juicy bulbs.
Garlic has been cultivated since very ancient times. The varieties that developed in different areas express the terroir of their locale, greatly influencing the local cuisines.
We offer varieties in the two major categories, soft-neck and hard-neck. Soft-neck garlic grows a ring of large cloves around the perimeter of the bulb, plus another one or two rings of smaller cloves in the center. Most soft-neck varieties make large bulbs which, when properly cured and stored, can be stored for many months. Their flavors and spiciness are varied, and soft-neck garlic rarely sends up a stiff central stalk, so it can be made into beautiful garlic braids. Hard-neck varieties grow with a strong central stalk, around which is a single ring of cloves, usually quite large and fat. They possess a wide range of flavor nuances and degrees of heat. The central stalk makes a charmingly curled or twisted, edible ‘scape’ in mid-late spring.
All around the temperate northern hemisphere, garlic has now been harvested and cured, ready for storing, eating and planting!! Garlic is cold-hardy, most being well-adapted in USDA zones ranging from 3 to 8. If the soil doesn’t freeze, the roots will continue to grow right through the winter. The tops will grow whenever the temperature is above 40 degrees F. Garlic can sometimes be frost tolerant. It thrives best in soil that’s teaming with microorganisms, enriched with organic amendments and fertilizers. Keeping garlic weeded and watered pays off.
We are excited that WE JUST RECEIVED THREE VARIETIES OF SEED GARLIC, (two of them new!) that were locally grown on a small family farm called Long Shot Farm. They are not certified organic but are grown without the use of chemicals. Quantity is limited.
OUR SECOND BATCH OF SEED GARLIC IS EXPECTED IN THE FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER, and also includes three new varieties plus two fabulous ‘standards’!
Here are the varieties we’re offering this year, and, here’s how we recommend planting your garlic.
“Shallots are for babies; onions are for men; garlic is for heroes.”
Inchelium Red, organic
Large 3″ + bulbs produce 8-20 cloves of good size. Mild, but lasting flavor, with a hint of hot! Dense cloves store extremely well. Flavor can get stronger in storage. This vigorous soft-necked variety won a Rodale taste test of 20 garlic strains – named “Very Best of the Soft-Necks”. Inchelium Red is also exceptionally healthy, easy to peel, and easy to grow!
Lorz Italian – NEW!
Lorz Italian is an ‘Artichoke’ type garlic, brought to WA State’s Columbia River Basin around 1900 by the Lorz family when they immigrated from Italy. It is part of the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste, a program preserving endangered heirloom foods with unique tastes and characteristics.
This bold, spicy, and flavorful Italian garlic is hotter than most varieties and is a natural for Italian cuisine, and its easy-to-peel skin makes it popular with chefs and home cooks. It adds spicy flavor with medium heat to stir-fries, meats, roasted vegetables, tomato-based sauces and other dishes. Lorz Italian has an excellent stand-alone flavor that works well in simple pasta dishes and mashed potatoes, and makes delicious, rich roasted garlic. Stores 6-9 months.
Lorz Italian multiples very quickly. One pound of cloves at planting can easily become 8-10 pounds of bulbs at harvest. The large bulbs average 16 squarish cloves with a few small interior cloves. Soft-neck garlic doesn’t typically produce scapes, but occasionally Lorz Italian will develop a large scape with huge bulbils.
Plant the biggest cloves for the best results. Lorz Italian matures earlier than hard-neck garlic and is very easy to grow but prefers a well-drained soil. It’s a robust variety that grows rapidly, will tolerate the summer heat well and is resistant to Late Blight. Bulbs should be harvested when plants begin to ‘flop’ over. Lorz Italian is so large and ‘juicy’ that it must be carefully cured for the best storing times. Be especially careful with the biggest fattest bulbs to prevent rot. When curing this or any large soft-neck, clip off roots and spread the bulbs very thinly to ensure good air flow. Most years you can leave the garlic tops on until they dry, but if it is very wet and humid at harvest you may need to remove the tops for faster drying time. You can also direct a fan on the curing bulbs.
Nootka Rose – NEW!
Nootka Rose is a beautifully colored ‘Silver-Skin’ garlic created at Nootka Rose Farm on the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound, WA and is considered an heirloom variety. Known for its rich, warm, bold flavor and exceptional aroma, it excels as a cooking garlic. Thick, creamy white wrappers cover beautiful, red-streaked clove skins that are easy to peel, and the large bulbs tend to yield anywhere from 15-24 cloves each. Nootka Rose is very long-storing, from 9 to 12 months, is ideal for braiding, and grows well in all parts of the country except those with the warmest winters.
Nootka Rose is usually the last garlic to mature and be harvested and is often, if not usually, the longest storing garlic of all. Because it is a long storing variety, you might want to grow some and save them for the time when your other varieties have already sprouted and are no longer in an ideal eating condition.
“A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.”
Chesnok Red – NEW!
Regularly wins acclaim and awards as one of the best tasting baking/roasting garlics!
Collected in 1985 in the Rep. of Georgia, this highly productive, easy-to-grow ‘Purple-Striped’ garlic makes beautiful, large deep-purple bulbs. Eaten raw, its intense heat quickly dissipates, but cooking and baking truly bring out its earthy, rich garlic complexities, very aromatic with a rich, smooth sweetness and just a touch of heat.
The cloves are more numerous (~8-20) and elongated than most hard-neck types and are initially hard to peel, allowing Chesnok Red to store much longer than other hard-necks – up to a year! But cloves become easier to peel the longer they store. Like other hard-neck varieties, it also produces curling, edible ‘scapes’ in June. Garlic is a heavy feeder, so feed your soil well!
Plants are vigorous and upright, can handle a little neglect, an are great multipliers, growing large bulbs from even medium-sized cloves.
This large bright purple bulb contains 8-12, extra easy-to-peel, round, light brown cloves with some purple at the base. Flavor is strong, hot, and spicy. Keeps moderately well when properly cured and stored. Can be grown in mild climates; However, develops better quality and size where winters are cold. Color will become brighter if it is stressed by too much water.
Mexican Violette – NEW!
Mexican Violette, very popular in Mexico and Peru and gaining many fans in the US, is a hard-neck garlic belonging to the “Purple Stripe” sub-group. Its skin is silvery with purple stripes, but depending on the weather and soil type, Mexican Violette can have a very deep purple color, or very light to hardly any purple. When eaten raw, it has a hot flavor, but becomes milder when baked. Bulb range from 1.5” to 3” wide, and each bulb typically yields about 8 to 10 easy-to-peel cloves per bulb. Bulbs will last approximately 6 months when properly stored. Despite its name, Mexican Violette is said to be very hardy!
This vigorous, easy-to-grow heirloom variety arrived in the US over 100 years ago. It is famous for its classic rich, complex ‘true garlic’ flavor and is one of the most popular with restaurants/chefs. The large, purple streaked bulbs often reach three inches in diameter and typically have seven to twelve large tan cloves. Spanish Roja peels easily and keeps for up to 4-6 months when properly stored (the outer bulb wrappers are thin and flake off easily so be careful to keep them intact to prolong storage). Like all hard-neck garlic, Spanish Roja will produce curly ‘scapes’ (flowering stems), which can be snipped off and used for another culinary treat in late spring. This variety grows well in cold winter areas, and is cold-hardy to Zone 3.