I can’t imagine cooking without it. Its aroma is intoxicating and lingering. Plates of pasta, Asian stir-frys, hearty sauces, and crunchy dill pickles; all of these foods would not be the same without it. Folks, I am talking about garlic and for those of you who haven’t grown it, now is the time to try.
There are two distinct subspecies within Allium Sativum (garlic): hard-necked and soft-necked. (For the record, I plant both as we want garlic to enjoy right away plus garlic that will store well for the fall and winter months.) The reason this is important is because garlic is generally listed as either a hard-neck or soft-neck for would-be purchasers. If you want garlic that has large bulbs with fewer cloves (approximately 4 -7 cloves per bulb), produce a flower stalk, and are slightly easier to peel, go with the hard-neck. If you want to store you garlic through the winter in braids, or want a slightly spicier flavor, go with soft-neck. Both subspecies offer a wonderful variety of flavors.
This is the time of year to start buying or placing your orders. Popular online sites such as SeedSavers and Seeds of Change are now taking orders for fall shipping and planting. Check with your local nurseries and garden centers for garlic availability.
During summer, watch your garlic for browning leaves. Along the Front Range of Colorado, harvesting may begin as early as July and then continue through August. When approximately 1/3 of the leaves on the plant have turned brown, it is time to dig. By the looks of my garlic in the photo, it will be about one – two weeks before harvest.