The garlic is all in now, cured and cleaned up and weighed. I had thought earlier that the size of the bulbs seemed a bit smaller than last year, based on the first ones I dug. As it turns out I was wrong, and it was actually the best year I’ve ever had for growing garlic! Almost every variety I’ve grown before was bigger this year, with the exception of Red Toch and Lorz Italian.
The turban types are the earliest ones to mature in my garden, and this year I dug them up on June 17th, the same day I dug them up last year. My best performers of this type over the years have been Red Janice, Uzbek and Xian. I tried Maiskij and Basque this year and neither did particularly well for me. The turbans are not real good keepers though, so I try and use them first and when they begin sprouting I plant them for green garlic. For me the earliness makes up for the relatively short keeping time.
Artichoke garlics are softneck varieties that are so named for their layers of cloves that sort of resemble an artichoke. They usually make the biggest bulbs for me of any I grow. I’ve been growing Simonetti, Lorz Italian and Siciliano for several years now. It’s my second year for Red Toch, and while it was smaller than last year it still made big bulbs that averaged 2.5 ounces each.
I’ve been growing Simonetti for six years now, and every year it has consistently been either the #1 or #2 cultivar in terms of bulb size. The 12 bulbs I dug this year averaged 3.05 ounces each, which made it my top performer. I finished digging all the artichoke types on June 22nd.
The rocamboles I grow also did well this year, and all were considerably bigger than last year. They really must have liked the growing conditions! Russian Red was the biggest of them, with Killarney Red, German Red and Spanish Roja following in terms of size. Newcomer Purple Italian made a good showing, and if it keeps well I will likely plant it again for 2018. I dug all the rocamboles on July 5th.
The silverskins did exceptionally well, and I suspect our mild winter helped them out. I’ve been growing Silver White, Idaho Silver and Nootka Rose for several years now, and all are great keepers. I generally save these to use last, after most of the others have begun to sprout. The silverskins were the last of the garlics to be harvested this year, which I did on July 13th. Silver White was the overall #2 performer in terms of size, and the bulbs averaged slightly over 2.5 ounces each, putting it just barely ahead of Red Toch. Nootka Rose and Idaho Silver were not far behind, coming in at #4 and #6 respectively. All were bigger than they have ever been for me, and I’ve been growing Nootka Rose since 2011.
The total haul for the 2017 garlic harvest was a bit over over 22 pounds. That was better than last year’s total of 21 pounds, despite planting 24 less than I did in 2016. We use a lot of garlic here, and we should be well supplied for a while! I usually plant the garlic here in late October or early November, which gives it time to get rooted and settled in before really cold weather hits. I hope you have enjoyed this review of the 2017 garlic harvest here at Happy Acres, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!