Garlic Trial Results: Final Thoughts
We wrapped up our “Year of Garlic” in the Demo Garden this morning with a tasting of all the different varieties and a chance to observe the size of the cloves, the number of cloves, and the size of the bulbs. I had also made some observations earlier to record.
I roasted two heads of each variety of garlic, which we then tried on pieces of French bread. (I roasted the garlic by separating the cloves, trimming off the bottom of each, then tossing them in olive oil and wrapping them in foil packets. I roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes at 350. This method was supposed to be less mess than roasting a whole head and squeezing it out. Not so much, at least for some of the varieties.
Here are my final thoughts and comments on all the different varieties. (Any recommendations are still cautionary, because we only tried them in our garden situation and only this year. There may be different results in different years or in different locations.) If you want to get a look at pictures of all the varieties, go here.
Top Performers (Highly Recommended for Planting)
Maiskij – This was the earliest variety that was very healthy and impressive all along. The bulbs were huge and the cloves were medium-large, with about 15 cloves per head.
Music – This variety was later to mature, but was also very healthy all along. The bulbs were very large and the cloves were also large to very large. There were only 9 cloves on the head I opened, but they were all big and peeled easily.
Purple Glazer – This variety was donated to the trial by one of our Master Gardeners than grows it every year. It was a winner! The bulbs weren’t as big as the other two, but they were nice sized and the cloves were large to very large. There were 9-10 cloves per head again here.
Good Performers (Recommended for Planting)
Ajo Rojo – This garlic was also earlier maturing with large bulbs. It only had medium to large cloves, with 12 cloves per bulb. I really like this variety, but I didn’t feel like it held up as well to storage as some of the others.
Chesnok Red – Another variety with nice sized bulbs and cloves. The cloves were large with 9-10 per bulb. I’m not sure why this one is not in the “Top Performers” category. I think I just generally felt the plants weren’t quite as vigorous and the bulbs weren’t quite as uniformly nice. Still a really nice variety.
Mediocre Performers (Might be Worth Another Try)
Killarney Red – This variety had nice sized bulbs, large cloves, 12 cloves per bulb and was very similar to Music and Chesnok Red. Main reason it is in this group is that I felt like the survival rate might not have been quite as good after planting, and I threw away half a dozen bulbs when I took them down last week. Still, I know this variety wasn’t quite as dry when we harvested it, so I would want to try it again before calling it a definite bust.
Sonoran – This variety just never stood out. I don’t remember anything particularly great about it or anything bad. It had nice sized but slightly smaller bulbs, the cloves were medium sized, and there were 10 cloves per bulb.
Inchelium Red – This is one of the softnecks, and I guess I rated it here just because I don’t like it. It had large bulbs, but with 15 cloves per bulb, the cloves were a little smaller. This is supposed to be the middle of the road mild flavored garlic. Maybe that’s why I call it mediocre?
Persian Star – I originally put Persian Star in the “Poor” category, but upgraded it after further consideration. The bulbs were medium sized, the cloves were medium sized, and there were 10 cloves per bulb. This one also lost several bulbs in storage, so I guess that’s why I thought it deserved another chance. That and it is such a beautiful purple!
S & H Silver – This is the other softneck and probably the most similar to what you would find in the grocery store. The bulbs were fairly small and the cloves were small and numerous (18 per bulb). I really dislike small cloves, so for me this is not a great variety. Still, it did relatively well and I can see that some people might want to plant it.
Poor Performers (Probably Not Worth Another Try)
Ferganskij – This variety had poor germination and growth last fall, which continued all season. The bulbs, not surprisingly were small. The cloves were medium sized, with 12 cloves per head. There seemed to be many better choices.
Siberian – This variety was probably the poorest performer of all of them, with poor germination, poor growth, small plants, and small bulbs. Surprisingly, the cloves were large, and there were 8-9 cloves per bulb. We also lost some in storage. The final bulbs were pretty nice, there were just only a few of them by the time it was all said and done!