All my garlic is finally harvested, and there are some clear winners among the bunch. Here’s a review of what I got. I broke the counts up into three categories by amateur visual inspection. The ones marked “Large” are the ones I will try to plant again this fall, the small ones will probably end up in some pickles, and the medium ones will mostly be kept to eat and use in the kitchen.
- Small: 4
- Medium: 3
- Large: 3
Music was a pretty good performer this year, though there were a few small cloves in the bunch, and this count doesn’t include the ones that went weird on me.
The Music plants were among the earliest to sprout last autumn, and were second in vigor through the spring only to German White. In one case, I had two Music bulbs in the same hole so I had to dig them up and separate them half way through the growing season. Both of those two bulbs were on the smaller side. I suspect that if I had broken them up sooner (or been more careful when I planted them in the first place) they might have grown larger. Overall, I am happy enough with the Music cloves that I will definitely plant them again.
- Small: 4
- Medium: 6
- Large: 1
German Red came out smaller than Music, on average. The plants were the second smallest (larger only that the Italian Purple, on average, though much more plentiful). They seemed to be sprouting well last autumn and had decent vigor through the spring, but they just didn’t produce as much as I was hoping for.
I probably will not plant German Red again or, if I do, will not plant too much of it.
- Small: 4
I planted as much Italian Purple as I did any other variety, but got terrible yields. Only 6 of the plants survived the winter and two of those went weird, splitting into multiple small cloves early in the season. There isn’t enough of the Italian purple to attempt planting again this year even if I wanted to, which I don’t.
The Italian Purple sprouted well last autumn, but as soon as the spring growing season started they were far behind the other varieties. The Italian Purple plants were all the shortest and had the fewest leaves of any of the varieties, and their resulting bulbs show that they just weren’t doing too well. Maybe it was because of their location: right in the middle of the bed. I suspect this variety is just not right for my particular microclimate.
- Small: 2
- Medium: 5
- Large: 4
The Leningrad cloves were slightly larger than Music, on average. They were among the latest to harvest also, though only later by about a week. The plants did not sprout well last autumn, and I was worried I had lost the lot. However, they popped right up come spring and were some of the largest and most lush plants through the growing season.
(Shown in the picture is only about half of the Leningrad. The remainder were as large or larger than what is pictured here). I will definitely be planting Leningrad again.
- Medium: 1
- Large: 7
I planted fewer of the German Whites because there are fewer cloves per head. Most heads that I planted only had 4 cloves. Those few cloves really aimed for the sky, though. The German white cloves were almost all the largest cloves in my bed, and every single clove that I put in the ground made it to harvest without any issues. They sprouted most vigorously last Autumn, they came up fastest and largest this spring, and they produced the biggest, most reliable bulbs.
(Two bulbs not shown, including the smallest one) Because the German White were doing so well, and because I was curious about it, I let one of them put up a scape and go to flower. That one plant, perhaps coincidentally, produced the smallest bulb of the bunch. Though, even that single “small” bulb was on the high side of “medium”.
I will definitely be planting several of the German White heads again this year, though not all of the large ones. Because of their fantastic yield, several of them are heading straight into my kitchen for cooking and other projects. I would like to put more than 8 cloves in the ground though, so I can get even more next year.
When you plant garlic, you’re supposed to plant only the largest cloves from the largest heads, to ensure the best yield. I will be planting the largest from German White, Music and Leningrad (Maybe, MAYBE one from German Red), and will fill in any additional space with new varieties. I’ll post more about planting plans when the time comes. I’ll also be posting some of the recipes I’m using the garlic in soon.