...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


heirloom garlic varieties

Well, we got the garlic tucked in!

This year I decided against re-planting it in the chicken yard
since their scratching about
ultimately did impact our harvest.
(Not massively, but we still had some losses
that we wouldn't otherwise have had.)

So, into one of the separate fenced gardens they went:

A big thank you to my sweetie
for hauling compost and mulch to top-dress the beds for easy planting!

But silly me
I forgot to take photos of the garlic heads and cloves during the planting process!
So many beautiful variations...
You'll definitely get to see the results of our harvest next summer.
Stay tuned for our most interesting garlic harvest yet.

 I found the Heirloom Garlic Archive
and I went a little crazy choosing things I wanted
to know
and grow
and see
and feel 
and smell
and roast
and taste

A lot of people say, eh, garlic is garlic, who cares about the variety?
It all tastes like garlic, right?
Well yes, it tastes like garlic because it... is garlic.
But garlic aficionados out there attest to 
subtleties and nuances in flavor that I really want to check out.
Some garlics are supposedly better for roasting 
and others are better for raw use, like in a salsa.
Plus, garlic is a potent medicinal, and potency may vary from variety to variety. 
(More on the health benefits of garlic another time.)
But really... don't you want to try the whole rainbow of anything?
I do!!!


Most folks grow for vigor and hardiness and storage quality...
and that's very practical and great...
I've been there, done that.  

Now I want to delve a little more
into the poetry and romance of gardening.
There's a lot in a name, you know.

 I quickly started to realize 
how many different types of garlic (and fruits and vegetables!) there are,
each with a unique story and provenance,
from somewhere in the world,
handed down and handed down and handed down some more.


The thing is,
every single thing starts to seem
so special
once you learn the story of it.

Imagine the people who cultivated it throughout history,
their lives, their loves, their customs,
the meals they ate...

In this way, gardening is also like being a librarian,
being an archivist,
if you are growing historical seed
and saving it
and sharing it.


I had to really restrain myself so I didn't end up with 100+ varieties of garlic.
If I could, I would grow and try the whole world's worth of flavors!

 I was only marginally successful at self-restraint,
as you may have guessed. 
Anyone who knows me knows that
restraint is not a strong-suit of mine
when it comes to things I like. 

My pragmatic partner has to keep tabs on me and reign me in.
If she sees me doing research and writing lists of varieties,
she chimes in and and asks me
"So where do you plan to put all of that?"
 or she'll say something like
"That's fine if you only want to grow garlic,
but if you also want to grow other things,
maybe you should consider limiting it to
oh, maybe 15 varieties... "

 She tries to be diplomatic
and if that doesn't work,
she gives me an ultimatum.

 Or, as she calls it, an old-tomato.

Here's an example of an old-tomato:
"If you buy all of those varieties, you're on your own for planting and harvesting."
(she doesn't really mean it, but she still says it  and
nevertheless, it makes me really reconsider my gargantuan plans
because plans are one thing and then DOING the work is another...
so, in short, throwing an old-tomato at me generally works!)

I digress.


After much deliberation, here's what we'll be growing this year.
I've included just a few pictures,
since who wants to see pictures of 18 row markers?  

Anyway, we'll be growing:

our own unknown hodgepodge mix that we've been growing for years,
which we are simply calling
"Hoose garlic"
after our friend Wendy who got us started...

along with
4 artichoke types (Ails de Pays Parne, Beekeeper's Sicilian, Inchelium Red, Polish White)

2 Asiatic strains (Sakura, Singing Falls)

Singing Falls is named after the waterfalls where indigenous women went
for their birthing ceremonies...
1 Creole (Rose du Lautrec) - a famed pink garlic from France

1 glazed (Purple Glazer)
1 marbled (Russian Giant) 
2 porcelain (Georgian Fire, Music)

2 purple striped (Chesnok Red, Russian Red)
3 rocamboles (Carpathian, Russian red, Italian Easy Peel),
1 silverskin (Nootka Rose)
 and 1 unclassified type
Ver Veist???
which is Yiddish for
Who Knows???


Altogether, 18 varieties!

And with plans to then continue on with what we really love
and incorporate others I've been dreaming about
(Acropolis, Assisi, Bavarian Purple, Killarney Red,
Seely Hill, Spanish Roja, Vilnius...)

for the 2016 season.


There are some other resources I'd like to share
with those who are even half as wacky as I am:

If you're into garlic, you need to know about
one of the most prolific garlic farmers out there:
Avram Drucker at Garlicana!

He's a tremendous advocate for protecting garlic,
and helping garlic to survive this changing world.
If ever there was a friend of garlic, it's Avram...
along with Ted Jordan Meredith, author of
The Complete Book of Garlic.
Ted can be found here at Garlic Analecta.

For the true garlic geeks out there,
they co-wrote this article about growing garlic from seed,
which is a whole different ball game. 
Or should we say, bulbil game?
It's really interesting.  

There's also Filaree Farm to check out,
they have a lot of hard to find varieties available.

One other thing you can do to open up an entire world of amazingness for yourself
is join the Seed Savers Exchange.  
Become a member!
It gives you access to a network of people all over the planet 
who have been saving heirloom seeds and who want to share them. 

Don't say I didn't warn you, though...! 
If you think seed catalogs are tempting,
this is the motherload of all motherloads! 

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