Sunday, October 18, 2009

Garlic Madness Under the Moontree

Yes, madness I say. Garlic everywhere, and not a vampire in sight!

This is, I think, my fifth fall planting garlic. (It all started with some sprouting store-bought stuff several years ago; several garlic related posts here.)

Today, I just finished planting 175+ cloves of five varieties of garlic. Next summer there will be much deliciousness. Last year's crop is being consumed even as you read this, and, well, we may be reduced to buying garlic by late spring. No chance of that in fall 2010 though.
This year we bought a two-pound sampler pack from Filaree
Farms, plus planted our own planting-stock of last years Cuban Purple/Rojo. Sampler included several hard neck and softneck varieties (links on both the variety and specific cultivar give detailed information):
Planted 25 of each of the four, plus 50 of the Cuban
Purple/Rojo (we really really like them). Still have Silverwhite Silverskins from last crop to eat, and plant if we decide too. A couple of little spots left with finishing fall stuff that can go to garlic in a week or two.

The Cuban Purple/Rojo we planted was ordered from Filaree Farms last year, then grown by us in '08-'09 and saved for replanting. (We have some to eat too, but we really liked it, so a third of the best bulbs were saved for "seed" for this year.) Our planting stock was much brighter red than I remember the mailorder Rojo planting stock; maybe we should call it Rose City Rojo? In any case, we love the stuff -- great flavor, easy mild "burn" in pesto, easy to peel. One of our four-year-old's favorite jobs this summer was peeling the Rojo garlic for dinner.
In taste testing the planting stock, the Killarney Red had a nice, easy but complex flavor. Haven't tasted the others yet, but since we have 1-10 cloves of each left, we will soon. (Grin).

We have planted 25 cloves of each variety, plus an extra 25 cloves (total of 50) of the Rojo, plus a "green garlic" plot of an additional 25 miscellaneous cloves.

Green garlic is what it sounds like: Garlic that has not been dried or cured, and in some cases may not even have really started forming bulbs.

It is surprisingly delicious, and is like a mild garlic-flavored green onion. So, since there where lots of odds and ends (at least 5 cloves of each variety) I planted a patch to pick before the bulbs mature without regret.

Growing garlic also provided the interesting discovery that chopped greens -- just some of the leaf or even the stalk of a pulled green garlic -- make a lovely garlic-flavored chive sort of effect!

Last year we ordered late, and put in about 40 Cuban Purpe/Rojo and 40 Silverwhite Silverskins in two batches; one location did pretty well, the other, not so well. Our one-pound investment in planting stock yielded about 12-15 pounds of garlic, if you include all the sampled green garlic and greens. We still have eating / planting stock from the Silverwhite's, but I think we may have enough garlic in the ground, including one silverskin variety allready.

Now that the bulk of the garlic planting is done, there are always a few cloves extra for the available space, so we will be having a small side by side taste test comparison soon.

Coming Soon: Cider Season!