Different types of garlic

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Different Types Of Garlic: Garlic Varieties To Grow In The Garden

Of late, there has been much in the news about the promising possibilities garlic may have in reducing and maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol. What is known for sure, garlic is a terrific source of Vitamins A and C, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and a few amino acids. Not only nutritious, it’s delicious! But have you ever wondered about the different types of garlic plants you can grow? Find out in this article.

Garlic Varieties to Grow

Garlic’s history is long and convoluted. Originally from Central Asia, it has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for over 5,000 years. Gladiators ate garlic prior to battle and Egyptian slaves purportedly consumed it to give them strength to build the pyramids.

There are basically two different types of garlic, although some folks lump elephant garlic as a third. Elephant garlic is actually a member of the onion family but is a variant of the leek. It has very large bulbs with very few cloves, three or four, and has a sweet, mellow onion/garlic flavor and a similar mien, hence the confusion.

Garlic is one of 700 species in the Allium or onion family. The two different types of garlic are softneck (Allium sativum) and hardneck (Allium ophioscorodon), sometimes referred to as stiffneck.

Of the softnecked variety, there are two common garlic types: artichoke and silverskin. Both of these common garlic types are sold in the supermarket and you have more than likely used them.

Artichokes are named for their resemblance to artichoke vegetables, with multiple overlapping layers containing up to 20 cloves. They are white to off-white with a thick, hard-to-peel outer layer. The beauty of this is their long shelf life — up to eight months. Some artichoke garlic varieties include:

  • ‘Applegate’
  • ‘California Early’
  • ‘California Late’
  • ‘Polish Red’
  • ‘Red Toch’
  • ‘Early Red Italian’
  • ‘Galiano’
  • ‘Italian Purple’
  • ‘Lorz Italian’
  • ‘Inchelium Red’
  • ‘Italian Late’

Silverskins are high yielding, adaptable to many climates and are the type of garlic used in garlic braids. Garlic plant varieties for silverskins include:

  • ‘Polish White’
  • ‘Chet’s Italian Red’
  • ‘Kettle River Giant.’

The most common type of hardneck garlic is ‘Rocambole,’ which has large cloves that are easy to peel and have a more intense flavor than softnecks. The easy-to-peel, loose skin lessens the shelf life to only around four to five months. Unlike softneck garlic, hardnecks send out a flowering stem, or scape, that turns woody.

Hardneck garlic varieties to grow include:

  • ‘Chesnok Red’
  • ‘German White’
  • ‘Polish Hardneck’
  • ‘Persian Star’
  • ‘Purple Stripe’
  • ‘Porcelain’

Garlic names tend to be all over the map. This is because much of the seed stock has been developed by private individuals who can name the strain anything they desire. Therefore, some garlic plant varieties may be very much the same despite different names, and some with the same name may be very different from each other indeed.

“True” garlic plant varieties do not exist, hence, they are referred to as strains. You very well may want to experiment with different types until you find the ones you prefer and that do well in your climate.

A guide to the different types of garlic

A comparison between hardneck and softneck garlic. | Photo by David Fuller

Beloved for its culinary uses (not for its breath effects), garlic is a great addition to any garden. The plant is hardy and easy to grow and used in many different cuisines.

There are many different types of garlic to choose from, each with their own uses and distinct ways to grow and harvest them. Here are the main ones you should know.

Hardneck garlic

Hardneck garlic | Photo by Abigail Curtis

Hardneck garlic (Allium sativum ophioscorodon) are characterized by woody central stalks and a green curly stalk, also known as a scape. Hardneck garlic forms cloves through a process of vernalization, whereby the garlic is exposed to cold temperatures by staying in the ground over the course of the winter. There are usually between four and twelve cloves in each bulb.

“People tend to like big bulbs,” said David Fuller, agriculture and non-timber forest product professional at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “When well grown, hardnecks grow pretty big bulbs.”

Hardneck garlic grows best in areas with cold weather conditions.

“Hardnecks are the ones that are typically grown in Maine,” Fuller said.

You may see hundreds of varieties of garlic on the market with different colors and flavors. Fuller explained that garlic is grown by planting cloves directly into the ground, so it is fairly easy to develop a new varietal with a slightly different taste depending on the environmental conditions where they are grown.

All these varieties can generally be categorized into one of less than a dozen groups, though. A 2004 study showed that the genetic fingerprints of 211 different varieties of garlic could basically be put into ten groups, eight of which are hardneck garlic: the robust, slightly sweet Rocambole; the hot, sulfurous Porcelain; the tasty, raw Purple Stripe; the hardy, bakeable Marble Purple Stripe; the plump, glossy Asiatic; the succulent, easily-harvested Turban; the rosy, warm Creole and richly violet, quickly maturing Glazed Purple Stripe.

The varieties within each of these groups may look and taste slightly different, but they are essentially genetically the same.

“People will rename them. A garlic that was discovered in Philips, Maine, lo and behold, will become Philips garlic,” Fuller said. “Along with Music and German Extra Hardy , it’s pretty much the same garlic it’s just been given a different name.”

Softneck garlic

Cross section of Inchelium Red softneck garlic. | Photo by David Fuller

If you shop for garlic in a supermarket, you are likely to come across softneck garlic (Allium sativum sativum). Softneck garlic produces more cloves than hardneck garlic and usually has a clove in place of the signature woody scape, but they are generally less flavorful than their hardneck counterparts.


“The advantage of soft versus hard is that with the softneck, you can braid it, whereas a hardneck will have a scape, which is hard and woody,” Fuller said. “Hardneck garlic is difficult to braid because you have to break the neck.” Though the braid is strictly decorative, Fuller said it is a fun way to display and easily access garlic, especially for a rustic farmhouse kitchen look.

Softneck garlic does not require as much cold exposure are hardneck garlic.

“Soft garlic is mainly grown in the south,” said Bob Westerfield, senior public service associate at the University of Georgia Extension. “The hard type likes cooler climates.”

The two main groups of softneck garlic are Silverskin, which is high-yielding, adaptable and the kind that you are most likely to see braided, and Artichoke, which has a thick outer layer and a longer shelf life. Softneck garlic is also used for processed garlic foods, like garlic powder and other seasonings.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes | Photo by Sarah Walker Caron

Though the basic categories of hardneck and softneck garlic encompass all true garlic, there are different ways to harvest garlic that you may see on your dinner plate or on the stands of your farmers market or grocery store.

One way is to harvest the garlic scapes from hardneck garlic in the spring. The scape is the flowering stalk that grows in the middle of hardneck garlic bulbs. If left to grow, the green stem will curl and form a white bulb, but it is usually removed so that the plant will not produce more seeds and will instead grow a bigger bulb.

Fuller said to harvest the scapes when they first come up, before the stem gets woody.

“I am a proponent of harvesting it as soon as you can,” Fuller explained. “Snap it off in the morning when the plant has more turgor, so you can snap them right off. I don’t recommend waiting until the curl because the later you wait, the harder the scape gets.”

Luckily, scrapped scapes — which are also widely available at farmers markets — can be reused in your kitchen. They are delicious, tender and crisp sauteed in butter or olive oil with salt.

“They’re great in pesto,” Fuller said. “People pickle them and use them in stir fries”

Spring garlic

Spring garlic for sale at a farmers’ market. | Photo courtesy of David Fuller

Spring garlic, or green garlic, which commonly appears on farmers markets during the summer, is another method of growing garlic. Instead of planting garlic in the fall and letting it vernalize to form cloves, plant garlic in the spring and harvest it at the end of the summer.

Spring garlic looks like scallions and has a fresh, mild and almost nutty flavor. Spring garlic is common in Asian cuisine can be used as a substitute for leeks, scallions, chives or garlic in a recipe (one stalk, Fuller said, is about equal to one clove). Fuller, personally, recommended chopping spring garlic up and sauteeing it with scrambled eggs.

Not quite garlic …

Wild garlic

There are also a few plants that are called garlic that are not technically classified as garlic.

You can forage for wild garlic (Allium vineale), which has a strong flavor and can be used to flavor broth or for a number of medicinal benefits. However, in many areas, wild garlic is considered a weed and is not consumed.

“Wild garlic is a bad turf weed in the South,” Westerfield said. “While I understand it is not poisonous, it is reported to have a very strong and bad flavor.”

Though more closely related to onions, ramps (Allium tricoccum), sometimes called wild onions or wild leeks, have a strong flavor somewhere between an onion and garlic. They are a versatile ingredient that can be blanched, pickled, fried, sauteed or cooked into a number of dishes.

“You see them in high end restaurants come springtime,” Fuller said. “It’s more of a thing that people forage, although you can grow them. Ramps reproduce very slowly, so I recommend people to pick them with great conservation in mind. Remove one leaf out of the two, don’t dig up the whole plant so it will keep on living.”

Elephant garlic

Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum), also sometimes known as buffalo garlic, is actually a misnomer: the enormous bulbs are actually a type of leek. The bulb forms a few cloves and is generally milder than most garlics. It is often interchangeable with softneck garlic when cooking, tastes delicious roasted and works especially well in sauces, vinaigrettes and stir fries.

“The more tender, fleshy lower portion of the seedstalk is also prized as a stir-fried vegetable,” Westerfield said. “The flavor is milder than garlic and can be slightly bitter. Elephant garlic grows under the same conditions as regular garlic.”

Unfortunately, the comically large bulbs can be difficult to grow in cold climates.

“That’s not reliably hardy so I’m not a big fan of that in terms of trying to grow it in Maine,” Fuller said. “Maybe in the southern part of the state, but not in Bangor.”

Knowing the difference between the different things that are known as “garlic” — whether they are actually garlic or not — will help you be a more informed grower, shopper and user of the tasty allium.

Hundreds of garlic varieties offer different flavor profiles. How do you enjoy different types of garlic? Is it worth trying hardneck garlic? Where do you buy the different types of garlic?

There are hundreds of different garlic varieties, possibly thousands.

  • Music
  • Spanish Roja
  • Walla Walla Early
  • Pioneer
  • Russian Redstreak
  • Purple Glazer
  • Siberian
  • Asian Tempest

These varieties of garlic grow from all over the world and offer different personalities and flavor profiles.

You can substitute the commonplace garlic you buy in the grocery store with any of these heirloom garlic varieties in your recipes. There are two main types of garlic: hardneck garlic versus softneck garlic.

Hardneck garlic is stronger in flavor, the cloves are larger, and it produces a scape, which is a delicacy in many cuisines.

Softneck garlic is the most common type of garlic that is sold at the grocery store. Its softer, papery-thin skins enclose smaller cloves, which makes softneck garlic harder to peel than hardneck garlic. Its flavor tends to be less pungent and spicy than hardneck garlic.

In addition to hardneck and softneck garlic varieties, there are also different parts of the garlic plant that you can eat, such as the scape and garlic leaves (ramps). Let’s dig in to learn where you can find these different types of garlic and how to prepare them for cooking.

Types of Garlic

There are two subspecies of garlic: hard-necked garlic (Ophioscorodon, ophios for short) and soft-necked garlic (sativum).

Many garlic varieties are genetically very similar. Garlic often has whimsical names because the different varieties are named after the place where they were first discovered or after the garlic grower. Garlic can take on a different appearance based on the environment in which it grows, leading growers to believe they discovered a new variety.

Lotus garlic bulbs with purple and white coloring

Most of the garlic varieties we have come from the Caucasus mountain range between Russia and Georgia. After the fall of the Soviet Union, researchers were invited to explore Central Asia and Eastern Union where they discovered many varieties of garlic unknown to the West.

One such lawyer-turned-amateur-allium-botanist, John Swenson, was profiled in the Chicago Tribune in 1990 for his trip to the Soviet Union where he and a group of researchers collected garlic over 8,000 miles.

30 years ago, Swenson was quoted saying, “Who knows what genetic diversity there is? There’s been virtually no research done on garlic.” Today, thanks to modern-day genetic testing and passionate researchers who spend time cultivating garlic, we better understand garlic’s genetic diversity, and how environmental conditions change it.

Let’s dive in to learn how you can benefit from this knowledge as a garlic eater.

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic does not have a scape. Instead, it has a soft stem that, when dried, can be braided. Softneck garlic can be woven into beautiful garlic bouquets that you see dangling from the ceiling of old-fashioned Italian restaurants and artisanal food markets.

Braided garlic hangs from the ceiling of Casa De Fruta, in Hollister. Braiding garlic into a bouquet is only possible with softneck garlic because hardneck garlic has a tough stem.

Softneck Varieties

Softneck varieties are often smaller in size and sweeter than the hardneck varieties. The translucent paper-like skin that covers the cloves is known to be stickier which makes peeling and preparing the softneck cloves for cooking more challenging than hardnecks.

Softnecks are split into 2 main categories:

  • Artichokes and
  • Silverskins.

What Do You Cook with Softneck Garlic?

I like using softneck garlic if the recipe calls for a very large quantity of garlic, and its flavor will be hidden behind other bold flavors because it is more affordable than hardneck garlic. For example, I would use softneck varieties, including the grocery-store, garden-variety white garlic, in stews, braises, sauces, and soups.

Because softneck garlic is sweeter and milder, I prefer it in recipes calling for raw or undercooked garlic, such as garlic salad dressing and garlic herb dip. Softneck garlic is well-suited for garlic ice cream.

Recipes that Work Well with Softneck Garlic

5-Minute Garlic Herb Dip Inspired by Boursin, this refreshing garlic dip provides a home for the leftover herbs in your fridge. Smear the garlic herb dip on your toasted bagel or crackers. Dip your celery and carrot sticks into this garlic dip. Get the Recipe Garlic Cucumber Noodle Salad This is a cold noodle dish, ideal for a hot summer’s day. The cucumber and carrot add a refreshing touch. What really makes these noodles stand out though is the chili sauce: we love LGM (Lao Gan Ma)! Enjoy it for a snack or as a side dish. Get the Recipe Garlic Butter Popcorn For a twist on the classic popcorn recipe, this buttery popcorn carries a hint of garlic. It’s subtle and sure to delight garlic lovers. Get the Recipe

Where Do You Buy Softneck Garlic?

The garlic you can find in the supermarket is most likely a softneck garlic. If you want heirloom softneck garlics, you can find them at local farmers’ markets, artisan food markets, and eCommerce retailers selling garlic seed (which can be expensive).

RELATED: Learn from the garlic bread taste test whether you can substitute fresh garlic for garlic powder or minced garlic.

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic produces larger bulbs and larger, but fewer, cloves. Each hardneck bulb can produce as few as 4 cloves, compared to softneck garlic, which can produce 10-30 cloves.

Hardneck Varieties

Hardnecks are split into the 5 “true” hardnecks:

  • Porcelain,
  • Rocambole,
  • Purple Stripe,
  • Marbled Purple Stripe, and
  • Glazed Purple Stripe.

Then there are 3 “weakly bolting hardnecks”:

  • Creole,
  • Asiatic, and
  • Turban.

Weakly bolting hardneck garlic are varieties that can produce a scape under harsher conditions, such as intense heat or drought, but otherwise can grow like a softneck.

Hardneck garlic tends to grow well in colder climates, such as Canadian, Central European, and Eastern European climates.

Hardneck garlic grows a scape, a long, hard, spindly stalk that grows from the bulb. It usually grows upwards and coils into 1-3 curls.

From this stalk, the garlic plant can grow a bulbil which looks like a flower bloom. It is not a flower but tiny cloves of garlic that are genetically identical to its parent plant. If allowed to drop to the ground and take root, these mini cloves can each turn into an adult garlic plant.

However, the scape is usually snipped off before it can “bloom” so that the garlic’s energy and therefore flavor remains concentrated in the bulb.

How Do You Cook with Hardneck Garlic?

I like to use hardneck garlic for dishes where fresh garlic is front and center because it is expensive and hard to find. That makes dishes like garlic bread, garlic pizza, and garlic butter on top of steak ideal for hardneck garlic.

Many cooks take advantage of hardneck garlic’s stronger flavor for bold dishes, such as braised lamb shank and chicken thighs.

I love roasting hardneck garlic in the oven. The spicy and pungent flavors of hardneck garlic mellow out with the heat to make a sweet roasted garlic spread that goes well on crusty bread.

Recipes that Work Well with Hardneck Garlic

5-Minute Garlic Bread with Fresh Garlic This is a super quick and easy garlic bread recipe that’s perfect for satisfying my garlic cravings. Scale the recipe up to serve three, four, or even six with the same amount of effort. Get the Recipe Robin’s garlic sweet potatoes My new colleague Robin generously shared his sweet potatoes with garlic recipe with me. Alex and I took his instructions and added our spin on it by pan frying the sweet potatoes to add crispiness. Thanks Robin for the inspiration! Get the Recipe Caramelized Garlic Pizza with Fresh Basil This garlic pizza recipe is a revamp of the traditional Margherita pizza. The secret to this extra garlicky pizza is the generous mountain of sliced garlic, lovingly fried in butter. Get the Recipe

Where Do You Buy Hardneck Garlic?

Hardneck garlic is a lot harder to find in your local grocery store. Lately, I’ve had luck finding hardneck garlic in Whole Foods. Our local farmers market has a vendor that sells hardneck garlic. You can also find it from eCommerce retailers. Unfortunately, the only reliable online vendors are usually garlic seed sellers, and those are expensive.

TIP: Garlic is seasonal. You’re most likely able to find hardneck garlic at Whole Foods and the farmers market during the end of summer and early fall (keep an eye out from August to November).

How Can You Tell Softneck vs. Hardneck Garlic?

Softneck garlic has thinner and stickier skins than hardneck garlic, which makes softneck cloves harder to peel. Hardneck garlic cloves are usually bigger which makes one or two cloves sufficient for your dish. This could save the home cook a lot of time. Unfortunately, most grocery stores stock softneck garlic.

This year’s hardneck garlic from Colorado is smaller than usual, which makes the softneck bulb appear bigger. Typically, hardneck garlic bulbs should be larger than softneck garlic. Christian Toohey, of Toohey & Sons Organic which supplies the Boulder farmers’ market with heirloom garlic, told the Daily Camera, “This year it was colder longer and scapes didn’t thrive, so the bulbs are smaller than typical.”

Why Do Grocery Stores Generally Sell Softneck Garlic?

Softneck garlic has a lot of qualities that make it well suited for commercial growing and selling:

  • Softneck garlic can be mechanically planted
  • It doesn’t require pruning because it doesn’t grow a scape
  • Softneck garlic produces a greater number of cloves
  • It is self-stable and therefore has a longer storage life

Other Edible & Delicious Garlic Parts

Garlic Scape

The garlic scape is the sprout that grows from hard-neck garlic, which is trimmed before it becomes a stiff, woody stem.

(Photo to come in the late spring when scapes are available for purchase. For now, you can do a Google image search 😉 because I only post original images on Garlic Delight and scapes are nowhere to be found in snowy Boulder in late October.)

Scapes are delicious in scrambled eggs and stir fries. I love a stir-fry dish that my mum makes using garlic scapes and smoked pork belly.

Green Garlic

Green garlic, also known as spring garlic, is garlic that hasn’t fully matured. Farmers pick garlic early before the bulb has developed. Green garlic looks like green onions and it tastes milder and more delicate than the fresh garlic bulb.

You can substitute spring garlic in place of onions, leeks, and scallions. You can use one stalk with the accompanying bulb in place of one clove of garlic.

TIP: Green garlic is usually picked in early spring after the garlic plant has sprouted and the ground has thawed and before the plant matures into a bulb underground. Look for spring garlic from March to June in your local farmers’ markets (or maybe Whole Foods).

Wild Garlic (Ramps)

Wild garlic, also known as ramps, is a leafy wild onion plant that is part of the allium family. It grows in North America and resembles a cross between a leek and a garlic plant. It tastes similar to leeks and can be used in place of onions, garlic, and leeks.

Elephant garlic might look like a gigantic garlic bulb with large cloves but it’s closely related to the leek than to garlic. It has a milder flavor than garlic, which means you can substitute it for garlic in a pinch but you may want the real deal if you’re looking for authentic, pungent garlic flavor, such as in garlic bread.

Is It Worth Growing Garlic?

It might be hard to buy hardneck garlic and the other heirloom varieties where you live. It can be tempting to grow your garlic to try the different varieties. Why not? Especially if you’re experienced in gardening or what to learn.

We did an experiment where we grew garlic in pots on our balcony. Based on what we learned, here are tips that could help you in your garlic growing journey.

From top left to bottom right: Sicilian Artichoke, Lotus, Burgundy, Mexican Redskin.

If you are growing garlic in your garden (not in pots on your balcony), check out my friend Sarah Cooks’ helpful tips on growing garlic.

Garlic Varieties We Tried Growing

Research which kinds of garlic you want to try based on the flavor profiles and characteristics you’re looking for.

Here are 2 resources I found helpful:

  • A detailed list of garlic varieties and their flavor profiles
  • An overview of garlic varieties

I purchased 4 garlic varieties from a farm in Washington state that specializes in garlic seed. They’re called Filaree Garlic Farm and they provide more than 100 different varieties of garlic collected from all over the world. According to their website, they have been around for more than 28 years, providing consumers with garlic seed to plant gourmet garlic varieties.

From their starter pack, we received the following 4 garlic varieties:

  • Lotus (Turban – Weakly Bolting Hardnecks)
  • Sicilian Artichoke (Artichoke – Softneck)
  • Burgundy (Creole – Weakly Bolting Hardnecks)
  • Mexican Red Silver (Silverskin – Softneck)

From top left to bottom right: Sicilian Artichoke, Lotus, Burgundy, Mexican Redskin.

I found this garlic seed “cheatsheet” helpful to determine which garlic to plant.

Garlic Seed Is Expensive

It turns out garlic seed is pricey. For the bag of 4 varieties, we paid about $70, and we received about 4 to 6 bulbs of each variety. The garlic seed retailers promise the cloves are free from disease, and that’s about it.

If I were to plant garlic again, I would first take a regular garlic bulb from the supermarket, break apart the bulb and plant the cloves in 1 pot of soil or in the ground. This allows you to test whether you enjoy growing garlic before you invest in the equipment and garlic seed. It also gives you the experience to learn how to plant garlic before you buy expensive seed in case you mess up the first time.

Growing Garlic Depends on Your Environment

The biggest factors that determine the color, appearance, and even flavor of garlic are “location, soil, climate, and skill of the grower”.

As amateur garlic botanist John Swenson recalls, the best garlic he ever tried was a type of purple garlic in central Mexico. When he brought it home to grow, very little survived. “The taste was nothing special so it has to be the growing conditions in the Celaya region east of Mexico City,” he told William Aldrich of the Chicago Tribune.

If you don’t live in the right conditions for growing garlic, you may end up with garlic that doesn’t look or taste similar to the initial garlic seed you planted. Don’t be too disappointed. Understand you have a different variety that comes from your local conditions.

FAQ about Types of Garlic

How many varieties of garlic are there?

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of types of garlic with different names because the environmental conditions determine the size, color, appearance, and flavor of garlic. But overall, there are 2 subspecies of garlic — hardneck and softneck — that can be further categorized into about a dozen varieties.

What’s the difference between white and purple garlic?

Purple garlic is a different variety of garlic from white garlic. Several kinds of garlic can be purple. Researchers at the USDA have found some cultivars, such as the “Chesnok Red, Purple Glazer, Red Janice, and Siberian” will generally have purple stripes when grown in consistently cold weather conditions.

What’s the difference between garlic and elephant garlic?

While elephant garlic is in the allium family and therefore a cousin to garlic, it is closely related to leeks than to garlic. It has a much milder flavor than garlic and is not a perfect substitute.

How can you tell how strong and spicy garlic will be?

It used to be possible to guess how spicy and pungent a garlic bulb tastes based on the season when you acquired it. The longer a bulb is stored, the stronger the taste. Therefore, late winter garlic would offer the most intense flavors.

However, most garlic in the grocery store is imported from China. Because garlic is grown all year round in China, it is no longer easy to guess how strong your garlic will taste.

Why bother trying hardneck garlic?

Many people find hardneck varieties more pungent and spicier than softneck garlic. You may enjoy its stronger flavors. Home cooks also appreciate the bigger cloves and its papery skin is less sticky, which makes hardneck garlic easier to peel and less work because you don’t need as many cloves.

Is one-clove garlic a real thing?

I learned about one-clove garlic from The Guardian who mentioned a retailer, Lidl, advertising this new type of garlic as a boon to home cooks. It turns out it is probably a cousin to elephant garlic and therefore closer to the taste of leeks than garlic. Unless you’re OK settling for the milder flavor, best to stick with the real-deal garlic and learn to enjoy the meditative peeling 🙂

When is the best time to plant garlic?

Garlic is best planted in October to November before the first winter frost settles in so the cloves have a chance to sprout and take root in the soil.

However, growers might plant garlic in the spring to grow green garlic (also called spring garlic), which looks like green onions.

When is garlic harvested?

Garlic grows for about 8 months through winter and spring. It is usually harvested in late spring and summer. You should cure to help it last longer if you plan to keep the garlic over winter (which is a great idea so you can enjoy garlic all year round).

P.S. If you’ve read this far about garlic, you must be a real garlic fan. So, you’ll probably appreciate this hilarious website about Gilroy Smell.

Garlic – Hardneck and Softneck

Gardeners just getting into garlic have some decisions to make: there are dozens of different varieties, and choosing which one to grow can be difficult. But it’s hard to go wrong. Experimenting with various varieties can lead to a new appreciation of a crop you already love.

Two Main Types of Garlic

Hardneck Garlic, sometimes called top-setting garlic.

Softneck Garlic, sometimes called artichoke garlic.

When to Grow Each Type of Garlic

Gardeners in cold climates usually grow hardneck types, such as ‘German Red’, ‘Maiskij’, ‘Music’, and ‘Ajo Rojo’. These produce tight heads of garlic with up to about a dozen cloves around a central stalk. Garlic connoisseurs say that hardneck garlics have rich and complex flavors.

Softneck garlic normally grows best in climates with hot summers and mild winters. ‘Nootka Rose’, ‘Viola Francese’, and ‘Inchelium Red’ are all softneck garlics, known for their productivity (some softneck types produce up to 40 cloves per bulb), for great traditional garlic flavor, and for their ability to keep for months.

If you live in an area where cool-season lawns (bluegrass, perennial rye, fine fescue) are the norm, a hardneck garlic seed is a good first choice; where warm-season zoysia and bermuda lawns thrive, soft-neck garlics are more often planted in home gardens. In transitional zones, you can have success with either type — but, no matter where you live, if you’re not sure which varieties to try, the best idea is to plant some of each. Trying several different types all at once gives you a chance to find out which ones perform — and taste — best in your own climate and conditions. Garlic is an adaptable plant, and even the experts like to experiment.

Choosing the Right Type of Garlic for Your Garden

Growing Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlics are known for their extreme hardiness. In warm climates the heads of hardneck garlic may be smaller than they would be in climates with bone-chilling winters, but you’ll still get a good harvest, and interesting garlic flavors. To improve the yield, cut off the tall flower scapes after they begin to curl around on themselves. The scapes are delicious in salads or salad dressing, and they can even be pickled. When you cut off the scape, the plant puts its energy into producing garlic cloves instead of flowers.

Growing Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic normally doesn’t produce a flower scape, which may account for its natural tendency to produce more cloves and to mature a little earlier than hardneck types. If you would like to make braid of garlic heads, grow a softneck type; ‘Siciliano’ and ‘Silver Rose’ are particularly good for making into pretty, long-lasting braids.

When it’s time to plant spring-flowering bulbs, it’s garlic-planting season, too. Plant in the fall for harvest the following spring, summer, or early fall. Like tulip and daffodil bulbs, garlic cloves should be planted with the pointed end up. Plant them three to four inches deep and six inches apart. That’s it: your garlic harvest is assured.

Hardneck vs softneck garlic: Choosing and planting the best garlic

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Garlic planting is best performed during the month of October in most parts of the country. But, did you know that not all garlic is created equal? There are hundreds of different varieties, but not every one is right for every region of the country. Prior to planting, examine the features of hardneck vs softneck garlic to discover which type is best for you.

Hardneck vs softneck garlic — what’s the difference?

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Garlic is separated into these two categories based on each variety’s tendency to develop flower stalks, its hardiness, and its clove formation pattern.

Before planting garlic, it’s important to decide whether hardneck or softneck garlic is best for you.

Hardneck garlic features:

• Hardneck varieties develop a long flowering stem, called a scape, which eventually develops tiny bulbils at its top end. Under ground, around this central flowering stem, is a single row of cloves wrapped together in a papery sheath to form the “head” or bulb of garlic. Scapes should be cut from hardneck garlic plants in the early summer, as the production of bulbils can rob energy from the plant and result in smaller garlic heads at the end of the growing season.
• Hardneck garlic varieties tend to do best in colder climates as they are more winter hardy.
• Hardneck garlics peel easier.
• Many gardeners find that hardnecks are more flavorful than their softneck counterparts.
• Though they have fewer cloves per head than softneck types, the cloves themselves are larger on hardneck garlic varieties. Each hardneck garlic bulb has a single row of large cloves (see featured photo at the top of this post).
• Hardneck varieties do not store as well as softnecks. They begin to deteriorate and shrivel within four to six months of harvest.
• There are hundreds of named hardneck garlic varieties, including ‘Metechi‘, ‘Purple Glazer‘, ‘Siberian‘, ‘Chesnok Red‘, and ‘Spanish Roja’.

Hardneck garlic varieties produce a scape, or flower stalk, that should be removed from the plant when it forms. Softneck garlics do not.

Softneck garlic features:

• Softnecks are best for warmer climates as they’re not generally as hardy.
• Softnect garlic varieties store very well, making them an ideal fit for mass production. The heads will last for nine to twelve months under ideal storage conditions (more on this below).
• Softnecks have many cloves in each head, not just a single row like hardnecks do. Some cloves are large while others are small (again, see featured photo at the top of this post).
• They do not develop a flowering stalk (scape), so their stems stay soft and flexible, making them excellent for creating braids of garlic.
• There are only two or three dozen named softneck garlic varieties, including ‘Inchelium Red‘, ‘California Softneck‘, ‘California Early‘, ‘Italian Loiacono‘, and ‘Silver White‘.

From the outside, it’s tough to tell a hardneck from a softneck garlic. But when cracked open, softneck heads don’t have a hard core at their center like hardnecks do, and they have many cloves of different sizes.

Buying garlic for planting

After making your hardneck vs softneck garlic decision, it’s time to source the bulbs. Be sure to purchase garlic for planting from a specialty garlic farm or a quality online source. Grocery store garlic may not be the best variety for your region, and it’s often treated with an anti-sprouting chemical to inhibit growth. Purchase only top-sized bulbs in good condition.

When growing garlic, it’s also important to plant more than one variety because some may succumb to diseases or they may not perform as well as expected. By having multiple garlic varieties in your garden, you can hedge your bets for a successful harvest.

Purchase top-quality bulbs from a specialty garlic farm or a reliable online source.

Planting hardneck vs softneck garlic

No matter which type of garlic you choose, the garlic planting technique is the same. Prior to planting, crack the heads of garlic open and separate the inner cloves. Leave their papery covering intact. Plant only the largest cloves and leave the smaller ones for use in the kitchen. The cloves are planted pointy end up. Put them six inches apart and about three inches deep. A Japanese garden knife is a great garlic-planting tool because it cuts through the soil easily and you can gauge the hole depth using the markings on the blade.

Before planting garlic, crack each head into individual cloves. Leave their papery sheath intact.

Mulching garlic plants

After planting, mulch the garlic bed with two to four inches of straw or shredded leaves to suppress weed growth and conserve moisture. You can also topdress with an organic, bulb-specific, granular fertilizer like this one after planting and then again in the spring.

Mulch your garlic bed with a few inches of straw or shredded leaves to cut down on weed pressure and retain soil moisture.

Harvesting and storing garlic

This brief video tutorial will show you how to harvest and cure your garlic. There’s also a clever trick for storing garlic in egg cartons to prolong the shelf life.

Harvesting is the same when it comes to hardneck vs softneck garlic. Come July, when the plants have turned 50% yellow, pull out the garlic heads and hang them upside down in a cool, well-ventilated location to cure for two weeks. Wooden laundry drying racks are very helpful for this task. Then, cut off the stalks and store the heads in a dark, well-ventilated location between 50 and 60 degrees F. Alternatively, you can braid softneck types when the stalks are still flexible and hang them in a well-ventilated, cool area out of direct sunlight for long term storage.

While garlic is best stored in a cool, dry location, making a boutonniere out of the occasional head shouldn’t be ruled out. It keeps the vampires away, after all!

Homegrown garlic is much like a homegrown tomato in that there’s no comparison to store-bought. Enjoy the spicy, pungent flavor of your own hearty garlic harvest by experimenting with different hardneck vs softneck garlic varieties. Report back to us with your favorite choices.

For more on growing garlic check out these posts:
Growing great garlic with expert Liz Primeau
Three favorite garlic varieties
More garlic-harvesting tips

Which garlic varieties are your favorite? Tell us about them in the comment section below.

Varieties of Garlic

Softneck garlic is the type you’ll most likely see in the produce section of your grocery store. Its name comes from the multilayered parchment that covers the entire bulb, continues up the neck of the bulb, and forms a soft, pliable stalk suitable for braiding. Its papery skin, or sheath, is a beautiful creamy white color. Softneck garlic typically has several layers of cloves surrounding the central portion of the garlic bulb. The outermost layer’s cloves are the stoutest; the cloves of the internal layers become smaller closer to the center of the bulb. Of the several types of softneck garlic, two are most abundant.

Silverskin garlic

This easy to grow variety has a strong flavor and stores well when dried, it will last nearly a year under the right conditions. The Creole group of silverskin garlics has a rose-tinted parchment.

Artichoke garlic

Artichoke garlic has a milder flavor and may have fewer and larger cloves than silverskin. You can store it as long as eight months. Artichoke garlic may occasionally have purple spots or streaks on its skin, but don’t confuse it with purple stripe garlic, a hardneck variety that has quite a bit of purple coloring.

Unlike softneck garlic, hardneck varieties do not have a flexible stalk. When you buy this type of garlic, it will typically have an extremely firm stalk protruding an inch or two from the top of the bulb. Hardneck garlic sends up scapes from its central woody stalk when it is growing. A scape is a thin green extension of the stalk that forms a 360-degree curl with a small bulbil, or swelling, several inches from its end. Inside the bulbil are more than 100 tiny cloves that are genetically identical to the parent bulb beneath. Many people call these “flowers,” but they are not really blooms. If left on the plant, the scape will eventually die and fall over, and the tiny cloves will spill onto the ground. However, most never make it that far. Cutting off the scapes keeps the plant’s energy from forming the bulbil and therefore encourages larger bulbs. But don’t throw out the scapes. They can be a delicious ingredient in your cooking.

There are three main types of hardneck garlic:

Rocambole. This variety has a rich, full-bodied taste. It peels easily and typically has just one set of cloves around the woody stalk. It keeps for up to six months.

Porcelain. Porcelain garlic is similar to rocambole in flavor and typically contains about four large cloves wrapped in a very smooth, white, papery sheath. People often mistake porcelain garlic for elephant garlic because its cloves are so large. Porcelain garlic stores well for about eight months.

Purple stripe. This hardneck variety is famous for making the best baked garlic. There are several types of purple stripe, all with distinctive bright purple streaks on their papery sheaths. Purple stripe garlic keeps for about six months.

Another member of the Allium clan, elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum), may look like a good buy because it is so large, but its flavor is very bland. Elephant garlic tastes more like a leek; in fact, its garlic flavor is slight and its healing properties are inferior to those of other garlic varieties. Use elephant garlic more like a vegetable than a flavorful herb.

The Brightest Bulb

Once you’ve decided which variety of garlic to use, consider the following tips to find that perfect bulb:

  • Select bulbs that are completely dry.
  • Choose bulbs whose cloves are plump and firm.
  • Look for plenty of papery sheath.
  • Avoid soft or crumbly cloves; spongy or shriveled cloves; bulbs or cloves with green shoots (they are past their prime); and preminced garlic, which has a weak flavor.

Now that you know what the types of garlic are, why not pick your favorite and grow it yourself?

What Kind of Garlic Should You Plant?

Interested in growing garlic? You’re in luck – garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow in the home garden. You can plant a large amount in a small space, it doesn’t have many pests or diseases, and it loves cold weather.

If you live in a very cold climate like mine in Wisconsin, you’ll be pleased to hear that it survives the harsh winters like a champ. Something I can barely do myself!

(I share more great reasons to plant it here.)

As a bonus, if you plant the right garlic variety it can store for many months in your home, allowing you to use it as the base for delicious meals all year round. Cooking with your own home grown garlic will make dinner prep even more satisfying.

Each year when I post photos of myself using my stored garlic in January, March, and even the next June, I get lots of questions about how I get my garlic to last that long.

If you’re interested in using your own garlic year round (it’s definitely possible, we do it at our house) then it’s important to understand all of the different varieties so you can choose the best one for your situation.

There are a few options when it comes to garlic varieties, so let’s dive right in!

This post contains affiliate links.

Understanding Garlic Varieties

There are two main types of garlic and which one you choose to plant will depend upon what you’re looking for in a garlic harvest.

Softneck garlic is the most common variety found in grocery stores. Softnecks often have many smaller cloves and they sometimes form multiple layers around the stem.

Softnecks tend to store for longer periods of time than hardnecks and they grow well in most climates. If you live in a warmer climate, this would be the garlic type to choose for your garden.

If you’ve seen those pretty pictures of braided garlic on Pinterest and you want to try it for yourself, then softneck garlic is for you because they have a flexible stalk that’s great for braiding.

There are two main types of softneck garlic: silverskin and artichoke.

Hardneck garlic generally has fewer and larger cloves than softneck. Hardnecks produce a scape, or stalk, in late spring that grows from the center of the plant. Most gardeners remove the scapes and you can make a delicious garlic scape pesto from them. (Find my recipe here.)

Because the outer paper on the bulb is thinner they won’t store as long as softneck garlic. They are best grown in cold climates.

There are three main types: rocambole, porcelain, and purple stripe.

Elephant garlic is a completely different kind of garlic and grows huge bulbs.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Do you live in a cold or a warm climate? If you live in a cold climate you can grow either softneck or hardneck. If you live in a warm climate choose softneck. Warm weather gardeners will also need to pre-chill their garlic, read about it here and here.

Do you like large cloves or small cloves for cooking? Personally, I don’t like to deal with peeling and chopping lots of tiny cloves, so I grow only hardneck varieties in my garden.

Do you want to store your garlic over the winter? I’ve successfully stored garlic for an entire year in my basement. You’ll want to look for garlic varieties that say they’re good for storage. If you live in a cold climate like mine, I recommend growing a porcelain variety.

How much garlic do you want? You can fit a lot of garlic in small space. I grow 220 bulbs a year and it usually fits into less than three raised beds. Think about how often you use garlic in your cooking. At our house, we cook from scratch most nights of the week and our dishes usually start with garlic and onions being thrown into a cast iron pan.

220 might seem like a lot, but we give a bunch away to family and friends, and we save some of our harvest for planting that fall. If you think you use one garlic bulb a week, then you might want to grow around 65 bulbs.

That will give you enough for one per week and plenty for planting in the fall. The great thing about garlic is that once you buy your seed, you can save a portion of your harvest each summer to replant in fall.

How many different varieties do you want to grow? Do you want to keep it simple and just grow one variety, or do you want to experiment and try a few different ones? I usually grow around four varieties each season in my garden.

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Where to Buy Your Garlic Seed

When you plant garlic you take a bulb and break it into its individual cloves and plant each clove separately. Over the course of about 9 months, each clove will grow into a bulb. (That’s a pretty good return!) Seed garlic is simply bulbs you buy for planting.

You’ll need to buy seed garlic if you’re planting garlic for the first time this year. Important: Don’t plant the garlic you buy from the grocery store. It’s possible that it’s been sprayed by an anti-sprouting agent and it’s likely a softneck type grown in either California or China.

Instead, shop at your local farmers market for seed garlic or order some online. Some of the varieties I’ve had luck growing in my Wisconsin garden are:

Inchelium Red: Softneck Artichoke variety with many small cloves.

Music: Hardneck Porcelain variety with big cloves, long storage life, widely grown.

Romanian Red: Hardneck Porcelain variety with purplish coloring on the skins, big cloves, great for storage.

Spanish Roja: Hardneck Rocambole variety, large bulbs, strong flavor, doesn’t store quite as long as Porcelain varieties so use these first.

Some of my favorite places to buy seed garlic online are:

Seed Savers Exchange

High Mowing Seeds

Hudson Valley Seed Library

Boundary Garlic Farm – for Canadian gardeners

Garlic is one of the champions of the garden in my opinion! If you’ve never grown it before, put it on your fall to-do list. I suspect that you’ll fall in love with growing garlic as much as I have!

It’ll be so exciting when you’re ready to harvest your first crop of garlic! Here’s a video that shows you the best time to harvest and how to cure it for winter storage.

I walk you through the entire process of planting, growing, harvesting and curing your garlic (with full color photos!) in my eBook, The Essential Guide to Growing Garlic. Read about it here.

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Courtesy of Abigail Curtis. Courtesy of Abigail Curtis. BELFAST, MAINE — 10/17/2018 — Reporter Abigail Curtis demonstrates some of the steps involved in planting garlic. Abigail Curtis | BDN By Sam Schipani, BDN Staff • April 24, 2019 6:00 am

Beloved for its culinary uses (not for its breath effects), garlic is a great addition to any garden. The plant is hardy and easy to grow and used in many different cuisines.

There are many different types of garlic to choose from, each with their own uses and distinct ways to grow and harvest them. Here are the main ones you should know.

Hardneck garlic (Allium sativum ophioscorodon) are characterized by woody central stalks and a green curly stalk, also known as a scape. Hardneck garlic forms cloves through a process of vernalization, which happens when the garlic is exposed to cold temperatures by staying in the ground over the course of the winter. There are usually between four and twelve cloves in each bulb.

“People tend to like big bulbs,” Fuller said. “When well grown, hardnecks grow pretty big bulbs.”

Hardneck garlic grows best in areas with cold weather conditions.

“Hardnecks are the ones that are typically grown in Maine,” Fuller said.

You may see hundreds of varieties of garlic on the market with different colors and flavors. Fuller explained that garlic is grown by planting cloves directly into the ground, so it is fairly easy to develop a new varietal with a slightly different taste depending on the environmental conditions where they are grown.

All these varieties can generally be categorized into one of fewer than a dozen groups, though. A 2004 study showed that the genetic fingerprints of 211 different varieties of garlic could basically be put into 10 groups, eight of which are hardneck garlic: the robust, slightly sweet Rocambole; the hot, sulfurous Porcelain; the tasty, raw Purple Stripe; the hardy, bakeable Marble Purple Stripe; the plump, glossy Asiatic; the succulent, easily-harvested Turban; the rosy, warm Creole and richly violet, quickly maturing Glazed Purple Stripe.

The varieties within each of these groups may look and taste slightly different, but they are essentially genetically the same.

“People will rename them. A garlic that was discovered in Philips, Maine, lo and behold, will become Philips garlic,” Fuller said. “Along with Music and German Extra Hardy , it’s pretty much the same garlic; it’s just been given a different name.”

If you shop for garlic in a supermarket, you are likely to come across softneck garlic (Allium sativum sativum). Softneck garlic produces more cloves than hardneck garlic and usually has a clove in place of the signature woody scape, but they are generally less flavorful than their hardneck counterparts.

“The advantage of soft versus hard is that with the softneck, you can braid it, whereas a hardneck will have a scape, which is hard and woody,” Fuller said. “Hardneck garlic is difficult to braid because you have to break the neck.” Though the braid is strictly decorative, Fuller said it is a fun way to display and easily access garlic, especially for a rustic farmhouse kitchen look.

Softneck garlic does not require as much cold exposure are hardneck garlic.

“Soft garlic is mainly grown in the south,” said Bob Westerfield, senior public service associate at the University of Georgia Extension. “The hard type likes cooler climates.”

The two main groups of softneck garlic are Silverskin, which is high-yielding, adaptable and the kind that you are most likely to see braided, and Artichoke, which has a thick outer layer and a longer shelf life. Softneck garlic is also used for processed garlic foods, such as garlic powder and other seasonings.

Scapes

Though the basic categories of hardneck and softneck garlic encompass all true garlic, there are different ways to harvest garlic that you may see on your dinner plate or on the stands of your farmers market or grocery store.

One way is to harvest the scapes from hardneck garlic in the spring. The scape is the flowering stalk that grows in the middle of hardneck garlic bulbs. If left to grow, the green stem will curl and form a white bulb, but it is usually removed so that the plant will not produce more seeds and will instead grow a bigger bulb.

Fuller said to harvest the scapes when they first come up, before the stem gets woody.

“I am a proponent of harvesting it as soon as you can,” Fuller explained. “Snap it off in the morning when the plant has more turgor, so you can snap them right off. I don’t recommend waiting until the curl because the later you wait, the harder the scape gets.”

Luckily, scrapped scapes — which are also widely available at farmers markets — can be reused in your kitchen. They are delicious, tender and crisp when sauteed in butter or olive oil with salt.

“They’re great in pesto,” Fuller said. “People pickle them and use them in stir-fries.”

Spring garlic, or green garlic, which commonly appears on farmers markets during the summer, is another method of growing garlic. Instead of planting garlic in the fall and letting it vernalize to form cloves, plant garlic in the spring and harvest it at the end of the summer.

Spring garlic looks like scallions and has a fresh, mild and almost nutty flavor. Spring garlic is common in Asian cuisine and can be used as a substitute for leeks, scallions, chives or garlic in a recipe (one stalk, Fuller said, is about equal to one clove). Fuller, personally recommended chopping spring garlic up and sauteeing it with scrambled eggs.

There are also a few plants that are called garlic that are not technically classified as garlic.

You can forage for wild garlic (Allium vineale), which has a strong flavor and can be used to flavor broth or for a number of medicinal benefits. However, in many areas, wild garlic is considered a weed and is not consumed.

“Wild garlic is a bad turf weed in the South,” Westerfield said. “While I understand it is not poisonous, it is reported to have a very strong and bad flavor.”

Though more closely related to onions, Ramps (Allium tricoccum), sometimes called wild onions or wild leeks, have a strong flavor somewhere between an onion and garlic. They are a versatile ingredient that can be blanched, pickled, fried, sauteed or cooked into a number of dishes.

“You see them in high-end restaurants come springtime,” Fuller said. “It’s more of a thing that people forage, although you can grow them. Ramps reproduce very slowly, so I recommend people to pick them with great conservation in mind. Remove one leaf out of the two, don’t dig up the whole plant, so it will keep on living.”

Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum), also sometimes known as buffalo garlic, is actually a misnomer: the enormous bulbs are actually a type of leek. The bulb forms a few cloves and is generally milder than most garlics. It is often interchangeable with softneck garlic when cooking, tastes delicious roasted and works especially well in sauces, vinaigrettes and stir fries.

“The more tender, fleshy lower portion of the seedstalk is also prized as a stir-fried vegetable,” Westerfield said. “The flavor is milder than garlic and can be slightly bitter. Elephant garlic grows under the same conditions as regular garlic.”

Unfortunately, the comically large bulbs can be difficult to grow in cold climates.

“That’s not reliably hardy, so I’m not a big fan of that in terms of trying to grow it in Maine,” Fuller said. “Maybe in the southern part of the state, but not in Bangor.”

Knowing the difference between what is known as “garlic” — whether it is actually garlic or not — will help you be a more informed grower, shopper and user of the tasty allium.

Garlic

Two types of garlic are usually grown in home gardens, soft neck types and hard neck (top-setting) types. You typically find soft neck garlic in grocery stores. Compared to hard neck garlic, it has small cloves but a longer storage life. Hard neck cultivars produce an attractive scape (flower stem) that is pinched out to increase bulb size. The scapes are used as scallions. Purchase certified, disease-free garlic bulbs for planting from reputable seed sources. Never plant garlic from a grocery store. It may be a symptomless disease carrier. Elephant garlic is actually a form of leek that forms large cloves resembling garlic.

Planting

Plant individual cloves between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15 so they have time to grow roots and a few leaves before cold weather sets in. Plant 1 to 2 inches deep, similar to onion sets, in soil amended with organic matter. Large cloves produce larger bulbs than small cloves. Spring plantings produce smaller bulbs because size is related to the number of leaves initiated prior to bulbing. Space cloves 4 to 6 inches apart in the row. You can improve efficiency by planting double or triple wide rows.

Cultivation

  • Fertilizing – Fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as cottonseed meal, in early to mid-April. Make a second application one month later.
  • Watering – As harvest approaches, watering should be less frequent to avoid disease problems.
  • Weeding – Cultivate very carefully so the shallow root system is not disturbed. Remove all young weed seedlings by hand or with a hoe and use a mulch laid along each side of the row to keep weed seeds from germinating.
  • Special Directions – Garlic likes rich, well drained soil and will not do well in dense soils.

Common Problems

  • White rot
  • Common vegetable problems

Harvesting

Plant tops begin to die back in late June to early July. The harvest date for Central MD is around July 1st. Gently lift the plants with a garden fork when about ½ of the foliage turns brown but do not knock the tops over prematurely. The bulbs should be full-sized and well-wrapped. Allow plants to dry in a well-ventilated location out of direct sun (e.g. on top of window screens propped up on bricks). Cut off the tops after 7-14 days of drying. Some gardeners simply cut off the tops and trim the roots at harvest and then dry the bulbs as described above.

Storage and Preservation

Cool (32°- 38°F), dry (65% – 70% RH) conditions; 6 to 9 months. Home-grown garlic will usually last through December if stored in a kitchen pantry or basement. To avoid botulism poisoning, do not store fresh garlic in oil unless it is kept in the freezer.

Nutrition

Garlic contains trace minerals and phytonutrients with antimicrobial properties. Preparation & Use: Choose firm heads that haven’t sprouted. Garlic is usually used to season other foods, but can be roasted and mashed into a paste to spread on bread.

Print: (PDF) GE110 Garlic

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Garlic   ( Allium Sativum )

Description

Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Allium sativum is a bulbous plant. It grows up to 0.6 m (2 ft) in height. Its hardiness is USDA Zone 8. It produces hermaphrodite flowers. Pollination occurs by insects and bees.

Uses

Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment.
The garlic plant’s bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.
Other parts of the garlic plant are also edible. The leaves and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are sometimes eaten. They are milder in flavor than the bulbs, and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. Immature garlic is sometimes pulled, rather like a scallion, and sold as “green garlic”. When green garlic is allowed to grow past the “scallion” stage, but not permitted to fully mature, it may produce a garlic “round”, a bulb like a boiling onion, but not separated into cloves like a mature bulb. Additionally, the immature flower stalks (scapes) of the hardneck and elephant types are sometimes marketed for uses similar to asparagus in stir-fries.

Allium sativum (Garlic)

Common Name: Garlic

Scientific Name: Allium sativum

Plant Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis Family)

Primary Uses

Edible Parts: As most people know, the garlic cloves are edible. In addition to the cloves, the scapes can be consumed as well. The garlic scapes are the leaf-like plant structures located above the ground. These different parts of the garlic plant are versatile and useful when cooking. Garlic has become an important spice in today’s world cooking.

Medicinal Uses: Garlic is thought to have a wide variety of medicinal uses. It can reduce the risk of various cancers and heart disease, help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and serve as an antibiotic. These benefits come from the variety of chemical compounds found in garlic.

Meaning of Scientific Name: Allium sativum, the scientific name for garlic tells us a lot about the plant. The Latin word allium refers to the genus of garlic, meaning bulbous plant. The Latin word sativum refers to the cultivation of this species of the plant.

Designing with this Plant

USDA Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-8

Forest garden layer: Herbaceous

Sources:

Farmer’s Almanac

What The Heck Are Garlic Scapes?

Garlic Matters

Garlic plant structure

Medicinal News Today

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265853.php

Garden Guides

https://www.gardenguides.com/how_7908179_plant-garlic-zone-6.html

Allium sativum L.

Culinary uses Garlic being crushed using a garlic press
A garlic bulb
String of garlic
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. The garlic plant’s bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. Other parts of the garlic plant are also edible. The leaves and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are sometimes eaten. They are milder in flavor than the bulbs, and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. Immature garlic is sometimes pulled, rather like a scallion, and sold as “green garlic”. When green garlic is allowed to grow past the “scallion” stage, but not permitted to fully mature, it may produce a garlic “round”, a bulb like a boiling onion, but not separated into cloves like a mature bulb. It imparts a garlic flavor and aroma in food, minus the spiciness. Green garlic is often chopped and stir-fried or cooked in soup or hot pot in Southeast Asian (i.e. Vietnamese, Thai, Myanmar, Lao, Cambodian, Singaporean), and Chinese cookery, and is very abundant and low-priced. Additionally, the immature flower stalks (scapes) of the hardneck and elephant types are sometimes marketed for uses similar to asparagus in stir-fries. Inedible or rarely eaten parts of the garlic plant include the “skin” covering each clove and root cluster. The papery, protective layers of “skin” over various parts of the plant are generally discarded during preparation for most culinary uses, though in Korea immature whole heads are sometimes prepared with the tender skins intact. The root cluster attached to the basal plate of the bulb is the only part not typically considered palatable in any form. An alternative is to cut the top off the bulb, coat the cloves by dribbling olive oil (or other oil-based seasoning) over them, and roast them in an oven. Garlic softens and can be extracted from the cloves by squeezing the (root) end of the bulb, or individually by squeezing one end of the clove. In Korea, heads of garlic are heated over the course of several weeks; the resulting product, called black garlic, is sweet and syrupy, and is exported to the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Garlic may be applied to different kinds of bread, usually in a medium of butter or oil, to create a variety of classic dishes, such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini, and canapé. The flavor varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger. Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as “garlic spears”, “stems”, or “tops”. Scapes generally have a milder taste than the cloves. They are often used in stir frying or braised like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia. The leaves are cut, cleaned, and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables. Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is approximate to one clove of garlic. Green garlic
Garlic cloves pickled by simply storing them in vinegar in a refrigerator. This also yields garlic-infused vinegar to use in recipes or as a condiment.
Regions
Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of Latin America. Latin American seasonings, particularly, use garlic in sofritos and mofongos. Oils can be flavored with garlic cloves. These infused oils are used to season all categories of vegetables, meats, breads, and pasta. Garlic, along with fish sauce, chopped fresh chilis, lime juice, sugar, and water, is a basic essential item in dipping fish sauce, a highly used dipping sauce condiment used in Indochina. In East and Southeast Asia, chili oil with garlic is a popular dipping sauce, especially for meat and seafood. Tuong ot toi Viet Nam (Vietnam chili garlic sauce) is a highly popular condiment and dip across North America and Asia. In some cuisines, the young bulbs are pickled for three to six weeks in a mixture of sugar, salt, and spices. In eastern Europe, the shoots are pickled and eaten as an appetizer. Laba garlic, prepared by soaking garlic in vinegar, is a type of pickled garlic served with dumplings in northern China to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Garlic is essential in Middle Eastern and Arabic cooking, with its presence in many food items. In Levantine countries such as Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon, garlic is traditionally crushed together with olive oil, and occasionally salt, to create a Middle Eastern garlic sauce called Toum (تُوم; meaning “garlic” in Arabic). While not exclusively served with meats, toum is commonly paired with chicken or other meat dishes such as shawarma. Garlic is also a key component in hummus, an Arabic dip composed of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Lightly smoked garlic is used in British and other European cuisine. It is particularly prized for stuffing poultry and game, and in soups and stews. Emulsifying garlic with olive oil produces aioli. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia. Blending garlic, almond, oil, and soaked bread produces ajoblanco. Tzatziki, yogurt mixed with garlic and salt, is a common sauce in Eastern Mediterranean cuisines.
Storage
Domestically, garlic is stored warm and dry to keep it dormant (to inhibit sprouting). It is traditionally hung; softneck varieties are often braided in strands called plaits or grappes. Peeled cloves may be stored in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator. Commercially, garlic is stored at 0 °C (32 °F), in a dry, low-humidity environment. Garlic will keep longer if the tops remain attached. Garlic is often kept in oil to produce flavored oil; however, the practice requires measures to be taken to prevent the garlic from spoiling which may include rancidity and growth of Clostridium botulinum. Acidification with a mild solution of vinegar minimizes bacterial growth. Refrigeration does not assure the safety of garlic kept in oil, requiring use within one month to avoid bacterial spoilage.
Historical use Harvesting garlic, from Tacuinum sanitatis, 15th century (Bibliothèque nationale)
The use of garlic in China dates back thousands of years. It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes (Virgil, Eclogues ii. 11), and, according to Pliny the Elder (Natural History xix. 32), by the African peasantry. Galen eulogized it as the “rustic’s theriac” (cure-all) (see F. Adams’ Paulus Aegineta, p. 99), and Alexander Neckam, a writer of the 12th century (see Wright’s edition of his works, p. 473, 1863), discussed it as a palliative for the heat of the sun in field labor. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate (Theophrastus, Characters, The Superstitious Man). According to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths. In his Natural History, Pliny gives a list of scenarios in which garlic was considered beneficial (N.H. xx. 23). In the 17th century Dr Thomas Sydenham valued it as an application in confluent smallpox, and William Cullen’s Materia Medica of 1789 Cullen 1789, vol.ii. p. 174. found some dropsies cured by it alone. Garlic was rare in traditional English cuisine (though it is said to have been grown in England before 1548) and has been a common ingredient in Mediterranean Europe. Translations of the Assize of Weights and Measures indicate a passage as dealing with standardized units of garlic production, sale, and taxation — the hundred of 15 ropes of 15 heads each – but the Latin version of the text refers to herring rather than garlic… & & Garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.
Nutrients
In the typical serving size of 1–3 cloves (3–9 grams), garlic provides no significant nutritional value, with the content of all essential nutrients below 10% of the Daily Value (DV) (table). When expressed per 100 grams, garlic contains several nutrients in rich amounts (20% or more of the DV), including vitamins B6 and C, and the dietary minerals manganese and phosphorus. Per 100 gram serving, garlic is also a moderate source (10–19% DV) of certain B vitamins, including thiamin and pantothenic acid, as well as the dietary minerals calcium, iron, and zinc (table). The composition of raw garlic is 59% water, 33% carbohydrates, 6% protein, 2% dietary fiber, and less than 1% fat.
Research
Cardiovascular As of 2015, clinical research to determine the possible effects of consuming garlic on hypertension has found no clear effect. A 2016 meta-analysis indicated there was no effect of garlic consumption on blood levels of lipoprotein(a), a biomarker of atherosclerosis. Because garlic might reduce platelet aggregation, people taking anticoagulant medication are cautioned about consuming garlic.
Cancer A 2016 meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies found a moderate inverse association between garlic intake and some cancers of the upper digestive tract. Another meta-analysis found decreased rates of stomach cancer associated with garlic intake, but cited confounding factors as limitations for interpreting these studies. Further meta-analyses found similar results on the incidence of stomach cancer by consuming allium vegetables including garlic. A 2014 meta-analysis of observational epidemiological studies found that garlic consumption was associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer in Korean people. A 2016 meta-analysis found no effect of garlic on colorectal cancer. A 2014 meta-analysis found garlic supplements or allium vegetables to have no effect on colorectal cancers. A 2013 meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies found limited evidence for an association between higher garlic consumption and reduced risk of prostate cancer, but the studies were suspected as having publication bias. A 2013 meta-analysis of epidemiological studies found garlic intake to be associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer.
Common cold A 2014 Cochrane review found insufficient evidence to determine the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. Other reviews concluded a similar absence of high-quality evidence for garlic having a significant effect on the common cold.
Other uses The sticky juice within the bulb cloves is used as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain. An environmentally benign garlic-derived polysulfide product is approved for use in the European Union (under Annex 1 of 91/414) and the UK as a nematicide and insecticide, including for use for control of cabbage root fly and red mite in poultry.
Adverse effects and toxicology Garlic is known to cause bad breath (halitosis) and body odor, described as a pungent “garlicky” smell to sweat. This is caused by allyl methyl sulfide (AMS). AMS is a volatile liquid which is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic-derived sulfur compounds; from the blood it travels to the lungs (and from there to the mouth, causing bad breath; see garlic breath) and skin, where it is exuded through skin pores. Washing the skin with soap is only a partial and imperfect solution to the smell. Studies have shown sipping milk at the same time as consuming garlic can significantly neutralize bad breath. Mixing garlic with milk in the mouth before swallowing reduced the odor better than drinking milk afterward. Plain water, mushrooms, and basil may also reduce the odor; the mix of fat and water found in milk, however, was the most effective. The green, dry “folds” in the center of the garlic clove are especially pungent. The sulfur compound allicin, produced by crushing or chewing fresh garlic, produces other sulfur compounds: ajoene, allyl polysulfides, and vinyldithiins. Aged garlic lacks allicin, but may have some activity due to the presence of S-allylcysteine. Some people suffer from allergies to garlic and other species of Allium. Symptoms can include irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Garlic-sensitive people show positive tests to diallyl disulfide, allylpropyldisulfide, allylmercaptan, and allicin, all of which are present in garlic. People who suffer from garlic allergies are often sensitive to many other plants, including onions, chives, leeks, shallots, garden lilies, ginger, and bananas. Several reports of serious burns resulting from garlic being applied topically for various purposes, including naturopathic uses and acne treatment, indicate care must be taken for these uses, usually testing a small area of skin using a low concentration of garlic. On the basis of numerous reports of such burns, including burns to children, topical use of raw garlic, as well as insertion of raw garlic into body cavities, is discouraged. In particular, topical application of raw garlic to young children is not advisable. The side effects of long-term garlic supplementation are largely unknown. Possible side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, sweating, dizziness, allergic reactions, bleeding, and menstrual irregularities. Some breastfeeding mothers have found, after consuming garlic, that their babies can be slow to feed, and have noted a garlic odor coming from them. If higher-than-recommended doses of garlic are taken with anticoagulant medications, this can lead to a higher risk of bleeding. Garlic may interact with warfarin, saquinavir, antihypertensives, calcium channel blockers, the quinolone family of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, and hypoglycemic drugs, as well as other medications. Alliums might be toxic to cats or dogs.What you should know about household hazards to pets brochure by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Spiritual and religious uses In folklore, garlic has been regarded as a force for both good and evil. In Europe, many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic, perhaps owing to its reputation in folk medicine. Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes. In the foundation myth of the ancient Korean kingdom of Gojoseon, eating nothing but 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of Korean mugwort for 100 days let a bear be transformed into a woman. In celebration of Nowruz (Persian calendar New Year), garlic is one of the items in a Seven-Seen table, a traditional New Year’s display. In Islam, it is recommended not to eat raw garlic prior to going to the mosque. This is based on several hadith.

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