By Donnetta Wilhelm, Colorado Master Gardener
Gardeners always like easy reminders for gardening chores. Here’s a simple one: plant garlic during the Major League Baseball World Series (October) and harvest garlic during the Major League All-Star Game (July).
Hardneck varieties are known for the stiff neck, larger cloves and a flowering stem known as a scape which is cut off (and delicious in stir fry!). Hardneck bulbs have 4-12 cloves, are generally spicier, more tolerant of cold winters, and have shorter storage times. Cold hardy varieties include: Bogatyr, Creole Red, Italian Purple, Korean Mountain, Montana Giant, Persian Star, Romanian Red, and Spanish Roja.
Softneck varieties have 8-20 irregularly shaped cloves depending on the variety. Bulbs are smaller, and the plant does not produce a scape. Their “soft neck” is easy to braid for storage and are usually the bulbs found in the general garlic bin at grocery stores. Cold hardy varieties include: California White, Chet’s Italian, Chilean Silver, Early Italian Red, Kettle River Giant, Nootka, Polish White, and Sicilian Artichoke.
THE OCTOBER LINEUP:
- Avoid planting grocery store garlic; it may not be cold hardy and may have a sprout inhibitor applied. Purchase garlic from garden centers or mail order.
- Choose solid bulbs with no damage and try both hardneck and softneck types.
- Plant before freezing temperatures so the clove has time to develop roots.
- Separate cloves from the bulb and plant pointy side up 2-4 inches deep in well-drained soil high in organic matter.
- Plant cloves 6-8 inches apart and 12-18 inches between rows. Label the varieties.
- After freezing temperatures arrive, cover the planting bed with 6-12 inches of mulch, pine needles, grass clippings or leaves.
- As spring arrives, look for the green tips emerging, pull back the mulch and water regularly.
- Fertilize with a complete fertilizer (10-10-10).
- Cut off scapes on hardneck varieties when they curl downward.
- When 50% of the leaves die back in July, harvest by gently pulling on the stalk while prying 6 inches away from and beneath the bulb with a shovel.
- Gently shake off loose dirt and allow to cure for two weeks in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place.
- After curing, remove remaining soil and inspect all the bulbs. Save larger bulbs for planting in the fall and use damaged bulbs first.
- Cut off stalks and store bulbs in a cool, dry place. For softneck, stalks can be cut off or left attached for braiding.
One Response on “Garlic and…Baseball?”
Fun article!!! Always get confused regarding garlic timeline, so this will help! Thank you!