Monday, July 27, 2009

Garlic from my Pennsylvania Garden

Mid-October of last year I planted garlic for the first time. Spanish Roja. Musik. German Extra Hardy. Chesnok Red. Killarney Red. Silver Rose. Beautiful names for garlic. After months of worrying about squirrels digging up the cloves, frosts, freezes, re-freezes, the lack of top growth, too much top growth….finally it was time to harvest! Just over two weeks ago the garlic was pulled out once there was around 5 green leaves left. Each leaf represented a wrapper on the bulb. They have been hanging from the roof of my back porch since then. Today I went though and cleaned off the dirty outside layer, trimmed up the roots, and placed them in a single layer in the bottom of labeled, brown paper lunch bags. The bags were cut in half and are now sitting in wire mesh kitchen baskets for good air circulation.

Garlic from my Garden- Big and small samples

Top Row: Chesnok Red, German Extra Hardy, Killarney Red

Front Row: Musik, Silver Rose, Spanish Roja

Now I would be remiss in leaving out my observations and recommendations based on this initial garlic growing experience. On a scale from 1-5 stars (5 being the best), here’s my garlic review based on my Pennsylvania garden:

Chesnok Red- 5 stars
Excellent garlic. Both in taste and beauty. Consistently produced good-sized, healthy bulbs that cleaned very easily. Chesnok Red and Musik will definitely be making up a majority of my garlic plantings in the fall. Highly recommended.

German Extra Hardy- 4 stars
This garlic produced consistently good-sized bulbs. It cleaned very easily. There were a couple bulbs that were undersized and didn’t fill out completely. Overall a satisfactory performer. It will be back next year.

Killarney Red- 3 stars
This garlic produced a few nice-sized bulbs, but overall I was expecting more from it. Beautiful purple wrappers over the cloves. Very hot raw. As with the Spanish Roja, I will plant a few cloves of this garlic again to see if it does better after two seasons in my garden.

Musik- 5 stars
Consistently produced very large bulbs. One did show signs of mold on the stem. Most likely due to large bulb size. They take a little longer to cure that smaller bulbs, and the high humidity we’ve been having had not helped. Definitely an attractive garlic. Absolutely will be back next season. Highly recommended. I just wish I had planted more last season! Most of mine will be used as planting stock as this will be one of the two garlics getting a good bit of room in the garden this fall.

Silver Rose- 2 stars
I purchased this garlic with high hopes of making garlic braids. To my disappointment it produced multiple tiny bulbs. From the 3 large bulbs I used for planting stock, I only had 4 that came close to a comparable size once harvested. As with the other poor performers, it will get a small amount of space and a second chance to show me what it can do.

Spanish Roja – 2 ½ stars
I was pretty disappointed in the performance of this garlic. Now I’ve heard that it may take a few seasons for garlic to become acclimated to a particular gardens climate. Being an optimistic person, I will plant a FEW cloves of this garlic in mid-October to give it another chance.


  1. very intresting and inlighting post on Garlic. I can't wait to see how mine have grown..I'll be planting more this year too, we love garlic in this house.

  2. Good luck with your garlic! I find that it is pretty easy to grow and fun to pull out!