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Sep 23, 2012 09:42 AM

Growing Garlic

I'd like to plant garlic for a spring harvest, but I'm really not much of a gardener and I'm overwhelmed by the choices. I live in the northeast and I have only a small area for planting that measures about 4' by 3'. I'm looking for a variety that stores well over time. Garlic scapes would be a plus. I'd love to get some recommendations from anyone who has grown garlic. Thanks!

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  1. Trying to keep the overwhelming at bay.I am in northern Montgomery co Md.Several of us have started growing garlic recently,less than 5 years.I am listing two resources that all of us started out with and stayed with for variety info and seeds. in Michigan in central Virginia

    Look and see what varieties appeal to you for your table.Then decide hard or soft neck.
    I can help you a little after your choices narrow.

    9 Replies
    1. re: lcool

      Aside from the obvious, what distinguishes hard neck from soft neck?

      1. re: CindyJ

        the chef and farmers answer
        start to read the flavor profile info for both groups,don't over think it
        90% of us prefer hard neck,for more complex taste and aromatics (FOOD ) a bit easier and straight forward to manage when growing (FARM)
        DRAW BACK slower to develop,later,smaller crop,doesn't ship and store as well,POOR CHOICE for LARGE SCALE production

        four of us all total grow 11 varieties....8 hard neck

        all chosen for HEAT tolerance and mulching ease

        1. re: CindyJ

          I'm thinking you need hardnecks for reliable scapes. Is that what you mean by the obvious? Not a factor where you are, but in warmer climates softness seem easier to grow. Lot of goog but overwhelming info on gardenweb, allium sub-forum.

          1. re: Shrinkrap

            "The obvious" being the fact that hard neck garlic has ... a hard neck (the stem in the middle).

            1. re: CindyJ

              That was "softnecks", not softness, and "good", not goog" Damn autocorrect. What is "goog", anyway?

              Anyway, I think that "hardneck", or "stem", IS the scape., so...


              1. re: Shrinkrap

                They're sold out of EVERY variety of hard neck garlic!

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Shoot. I've never even shopped there . In nor cal, lately, I go here, and they have nice samplers.


                  But there are many. I will add some links of those I have used.

        2. re: lcool

          It looks like I may have waited too long to order because so many varieties are already sold out at many suppliers. But, from what's available, can you help me choose between Spanish Roja, Music and Duganski? Thanks!

          1. re: CindyJ

            #1 MUSIC would be me first choice ,climate and kitchen
            #2 SPANISH ROJA a not so close second,not as tolerant of weather and soil

            small raised beds are what I have for garlic,even then SPANISH ROJA does not do as well with fluctuating wet and heat

            and I don't know DUGANSKI at all as a grower,good garlic,widely available,grown by so many

        3. We're in the Boston area and have had good success with garlic over the last 4 years. We buy the German Red (hard neck) variety and plant in late Fall. After planting we cover it with hay and leave it alone until late spring when we remove the hay. The scapes appear around June which we remove when they have started to turn yellow at the base. Generally we are able to pick by Mid July. I hang them in the shed for about a week until the skin drys and feels like paper then they are ready to use.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pegmeister

            And, of course, you use the scapes for early garlic pleasure.

          2. Here in CT we plant out garlic cloves in late Oct, early Nov, and mulch heavily to keep the ground from thawing and refreezing. You will find hard neck most available in the north because it is more easily grown here and because the cloves tend to be larger. However, soft neck garlic keeps longer. So last year we planted soft neck (about 100 cloves in an area not much bigger than you have) and harvested it in June I think. You can go online and read about the different types of garlic and shop there, or shop at local garlic festivals. The Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival will be held at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on October 6 and 7, 2012.


            If you want to buy your garlic there, I suggest you go early to have the best choice, since the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is held on the previous weekend and growers will be selling there as well. Both of these events are really fun, very informative, and, of course, offer lots of opportunities to sample garlic in all its glory.


            1. I only grow hardneck and harvest the scapes when they curl in a circle but before they make a second circle. This year I harvested when the scapes I had missed (about 3) stood straight up again.
              Fertility is critical. I notice the bulbs nearest the grass paths weren't as large. It's possible that I didn't get additional fertilizer and composted manure all the way to the edges of the bed. I have had no problem with storage in a semi-heated garage (doesn't get much below 45). I let the bulbs dry on newspapers in the barn so they were out of the sun.

              I was able to start with locally grown garlic. You should be able to find some at farmers markets if not a farm that specializes in garlic. This year I really appreciated the garlic scapes early in the growing season. Stored in a brown paper bag in the frig, the scapes lasted a long time. Finally used the last one last week (mid-Sept).