Planning to Plant Garlic
Last Friday I got 2 phone calls/emails about planting garlic and then read 2 more articles on planting garlic in a couple of magazines. I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a good place to plant a bunch of fun garlic. Then I realized that maybe the Demo Gardeners would be interested in planting some garlic this fall! After a quick email poll and talking with our committee chair, I put in an order for garlic, shallots, elephant garlic, and multiplier onions.
In Kansas, we typically plant garlic and other related vegetables in October – preferably after the weather is quite cool. I would say the ideal window is after we have our first frost, but before we have a truly hard freeze. If you plant too early, the plants will start growing the tops too much and can be injured by the winter weather.
The reason I jumped right on ordering garlic is that there are tons of interesting varieties available, but they are limited in quantity, and everyone orders early. If I had waited much longer to harvest, we might not have gotten many varieties. In fact, a number of varieties were already sold out.
I ordered 11 varieties of garlic, 4 varieties of shallots, yellow multiplier onions, and elephant garlic. (Fun fact: elephant garlic is actually more closely related to leeks than to garlic!)
There are two main categories of garlic: softneck and hardneck. Then each of those two categories has several subcategories.
Softneck Garlics: Silverskins, Artichokes
Weak Hardnecks/Sometimes Softnecks: Creole, Asiatic, Turban
Hardneck Garlics: Porcelain, Rocambole, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe
(The 3 purple stripe categories get really fuzzy at times….I sometimes see varieties listed in different categories of purple stripe.)
If you want to delve deeper into the different categories of garlic and understanding the history of them, I love this website for the overview: Gourmet Garlic Gardens.
Here’s what we have ordered:
Artichoke – Inchelium Red
Asiatic – Sonoran
Creole – Ajo Rojo
Marbled Purple Stripe – Ferganskij, Siberian
Porcelain – Music
Purple Stripe – Chesnok Red, Persian Star
Rocambole – Killarney Red
Silverskin – S & H Silver
Turban – Maiskij
We also ordered 4 types of shallots: French Gray, French Red, Sante Red, and Dutch Yellow.
Even though I’m planning to be out of the office for most of the month of October, I will try to make sure we’ve got some good pictures so I can show what they all look like during planting.