September through October is the very best time of year to plant garlic!
When September is nearly spent with the warm days are mostly behind us, weather crops are undoubtedly starting to show some signs that their end is near. For those of us lucky enough to be gardening in the Pacific Northwest this means there will soon be plenty of space available for some overwintering crops!
Why grow your own garlic? It’s a very easy crop. It grows from fall through late June when your garden is mostly empty anyway, and the varieties that you’ll find here at the nursery make the ones at the store seem bland by comparison.
Garlic is categorized in two ways. Each variety is assigned to a group which shares characteristics such as length of storage, number of cloves per head, and some flavor components. Garlic groups themselves belong to one of two categories: hardneck or softneck..
There are two basic classes of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Softneck varieties store very well, are braidable and easy to grow. The hardnecks have larger, richer cloves and are easier to peel.
The Silverskin Group is the longest storing of any garlic. Its members have a spicy, sulfurous flavor with a distinctive aftertaste, 12–24 cloves per head, and are harvested in mid to late July. 60–75 cloves per pound.
The Artichoke Group is the most commonly planted around the world. Garlic at the grocery store typically belongs to this group. Members are selected for high yield and mild flavor, although the amount of heat increases with storage. This group is named for the way successive rings of cloves overlap each other like petals on an artichoke. 8-20 cloves per head, 60-75 cloves per pound, harvest in mid-late June.
The Rocambole Group contains the world’s best tasting garlics. Their low sulfur content and strong flavor especially make a difference when eaten raw. Rocamboles have loose wrappers which makes them easy to peel, but shortens their shelf life. 7-11 cloves per head, 45-58 cloves per pound, harvest in late June to mid July.
From the Rocambole Group, we stock:
The Porcelain Group members have strong flavor which nearly rivals that of Rocamboles, plus, they have tighter fitting skin, increasing their storage potential to 6-9 months. Only 4-6 cloves per head, about 40 cloves per pound, harvest in late June to early July.
From the Porcelain Group, we stock: