The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

2015 garlic harvest

garlic harvest day

We now only grow one variety of garlic called Music.

The yield is great but what we like most is the resistance to cold.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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...that make my job in the kitchen so easy. Plus the bonus scapes we enjoyed in late May and early June! All around, Music is just a winner!
Comment by anna Tue Jun 16 15:59:30 2015

We've grown hardneck garlic in zone 5 in Michigan for years. Just last fall I bought Music for half of what we planted, and I think that may be what I had gotten from my mother 20+ years ago (and grown ever since). We usually plant 100-200 cloves in the fall (we set aside the biggest heads for planting). They grow a couple inches before freezing in the fall, and then perk up in the spring. I plant them between our tomato plants. We pull them out near the first of July when about two leaves turn yellow, just in time to give the tomatoes more room. Just picked the scapes last night!

They keep very well (in the basement for the summer and fall, and then the garage (kept above freezing) in the winter. We're still eating of last years, although we just made "40 clove" garlic soup to use up a bunch. We noticed that the Indian meal moths had started getting into them--probably from bird food :( About half of those left had about 1/4" sprouts, the others had not yet sprouted.

Comment by Jim Tue Jun 16 22:34:12 2015

This is my third year growing Music (got about 20 plants), of which my mom originally sent me the cloves to try. She's been growing exclusively Music for years in Oregon. I couldn't believe how much better it grew and produced than the softneck varieties I had tried in seasons gone past. We just roasted and ate all the scapes last night; yum!

My one issue with Music is the flip side of the awesomely big and easy to peel cloves; I usually only get 4 or sometimes 5 cloves per head. So to plant the same amount year to year, I have to refrain from eating 1/4 of my harvest.

Last winter I read "The Complete Book of Garlic" by Ted Jordan Meredith. It was quite interesting, and indeed very complete. This book pooh-poohed the Porcelain family a little (which Music is a member of), suggesting the flavor was comparatively harsh and unsophisticated and the keeping properties only intermediate.

Maybe my garlic palate is simplistic, but I think Music has nice flavor. And my mom sent me a head of it from last year, still in good shape, to prove it could store well.

Still, that book made me curious about other garlics. So this fall along with mostly Music I'm going to try an asiatic (Tempest), a rocambole (Spanish Roja), and a purple stripe (Siberian), all from Filaree Farm.

The asiatics you can leave scapes on to let flower and it doesn't affect yield much, and the flowers are interesting. Doing this might look cool, and the resulting topset bulbs will give me options to expand my planting without diverting so many below ground bulbs. Also, you can get a head from spring planted cloves with asiatics, apparently, which may come in handy.

I'm trying the Rocambole and Purple Stripe to see if I'm missing out on anything amazing in regards to flavor. Their keeping properties are worse than Music, but supposedly the flavor is superb.

Comment by Holly Gates Wed Jun 17 09:18:25 2015

I love hearing everyone's garlic experiences! It's truly amazing how Music seems to be the best garlic in so many different locations.

As for flavor --- I tried to do a taste test the first year we grew four varieties. But I don't eat straight, raw garlic, and in cooked dishes didn't notice a difference. I'll be curious to hear from Holly if her more discerning palate notices a difference this year!

Comment by anna Fri Jun 19 19:17:11 2015

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