Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gorgeous Garlic

When choosing garlic bulbs for planting, select the largest and best. The
bigger the clove, the bigger the bulb that will grow from it.
The forecast high for today and tomorrow is 98 degrees F. Then it "cools down" to 89 and 90 for the rest of the week. So it doesn't seem much like fall is nearby. However, I am heavily into preparation for that season.

On Sunday, I ordered a pound of seed garlic to plant in October. That will be added to the 2 1/2 pounds of garlic saved from this year's harvest, making the total 3 1/2 pounds. I ordered garlic, instead of saving back more, because I am ever in search of garlic that will keep through the winter and at least into spring.

The garlic I saved is a variety called Music, a lovely garlic with giant cloves that sometimes are no more than six to a bulb. My husband loves this, as it takes less time to peel garlic when he's cooking. And we always use lots of garlic. However, by the end of December or mid-January, the Music garlic deteriorates beyond usefulness. I won't quit planting it, I just want to add another variety that will last at least into spring.

Last year I purchased half a pound of Georgia Fire garlic, because it is supposed to keep for a long time. I was disappointed in its performance, however. The bulbs I harvested are quite small and it matured much earlier than the Music. When I finally realized it was time to dig it (late June, was it?), the outer wrappers were deteriorated. When the outer wrappers go, the garlic won't keep as well as it would otherwise. I've read that you want some of the leaves to still be green when you harvest, that once they are dried up, the wrappers around the bulbs are gone.

Music garlic bulb.

So the search goes on.

A neighbor offered to give me some of her garlic when it was harvested. She no longer remembers what variety it is, but she said it keeps extremely well. Her husband is Italian, and I imagine that garlic is very important to them. She made that offer a couple of months ago,  however, so I don't know if she remembers it. Anyway, I decided to purchase another variety. If she does give me some of hers, well, you can't really have too much garlic, in my opinion.

I ordered a variety called Silverwhite, one of the soft neck types (which supposedly keep longer than the hardneck varieties). The online catalog said that this variety should keep until I harvest the next year's garlic. That's what I am looking for.

At $25 for the pound ($16/pound plus $9 shipping and handling), I consider this an investment, since I hope to save seed stock and not keep purchasing. I just hope that Silverwhite lives up to its reputation. It will be almost two years (10 or 11 months until harvest and another year of storage) before I know whether the investment pays off. Nobody said that gardening is about immediate gratification.

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