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Hardnecks

October 24, 2011

Who loves garlic? I like it a smidge, if a smidge means that putting eight cloves in a dish just might be enough garlicky flavor.

Yeah I guess I sorta, kinda love it.

hardneck garlic

That’s why I’ve finally decided to grow my own. After a little bit of research I found that the hardneck variety of garlic is what I wanted to grow as opposed to the softneck varieties, the basic white kind commonly found in your local grocery store.  Although the softneck variety has a long shelf life, the hardnecks handle cold winters better – something always important for my Zone 5 garden and unpredictable Iowa winter season.

Hardnecks also produce scapes, which can be tasty additions to stir fries and soups and many gardeners say hardnecks have better flavor.  After receiving my big purplish red tinted bulbs I can also add ‘prettier’ to the list.  Pretty can be very important when it comes to food. 🙂

Fortunately Seed Saver’s Exchange had some garlic still available to order online last week.  Actually they only had two varieties left, but they were hardneck varieties and USDA organic which is always a plus for me.

Garlic shipped from SSE

I think I got lucky with my two kinds.  Chesnok Red is rated as one of the very best for baking or roasting and Persian Star is a good all-purpose variety that produces reliable yields year-after-year.  I’ll take it!  Now to wait until July to harvest.

The best time to plant garlic is in the fall from mid September to the end of November, with after the first frost being the best time.  My timing was good, I planted these babies two days after our first light frost.

Nice focus, Lis.

planting hardneck garlic

Leaving the outer, papery skin on the individual cloves you plant them root side down in the ground about  2 inches under the soil and about 6-8 inches apart.  In my raised beds, I tend to follow the least amount of space needed since it’s very easy for me to control weeds and provide adequate space and air flow as needed.

Garlic planted

I planted about 30 cloves, so a nice little crop to get me started on my garlic growing adventures.  After covering with top soil, I then covered them in a good 4 inches of mulch from my compost pile that consisted mostly of shredded leaves and grass clippings.  This makes for a nice winter blanket.

garlic covered in mulch

I’m excited to see little garlic sprouts this winter.  Things won’t seem so dead out in the garden, that’s a plus.

A few small cloves were left, so I popped them in the crock pot with a roast.  Lovin’ their color.

hardneck garlic

Have any garlic growing experiences to share?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2011 6:33 pm

    What gorgeous pictures! My pictures of soil always come out looking like dirt 🙂

  2. October 25, 2011 8:28 am

    Thank you!

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