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General information and discussion about cultivating onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

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Old July 28, 2016   #1
MikeInCypress
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Default Which Garlic for Texas

Which variety does well in South East Texas? and where do you buy the cloves? I haven't grown garlic in 20 years and don't remember what I grew before.

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Old July 28, 2016   #2
Worth1
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Any type of artichoke garlic will work for us.
Contrary to what you will see on youtube and on line the cloves you get from the store will work.
Just use the biggest outer cloves you can find and eat the inner part.
Planting the smaller coves is a total waste of time.
I have also read the creole type do well here but we need cold winters.
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Old July 28, 2016   #3
My Foot Smells
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Garlic is perhaps the most universally grown seasoning, conquering the kitchen with its unmistakable aroma. This member of the onion family is believed to have originated somewhere in Central Asia, migrating from there to almost everywhere in the world. Along the way, garlic has demonstrated itself to be highly adaptable, developing new strains suited to each region.

Garlics For Your Garden
Garlic (Allium sativum) is divided by horticulturalists into two sub-species. The original wild garlics from Asia Minor are the hardneck garlics. These garlics send up a hard flower stalk (called the neck or scape by growers) that loops tightly near the top. Hardnecks are known for their strong flavor. This group is best suited to colder regions.

Most hardneck garlics need more cold weather than we get here but there are a few that Texas gardeners can grow. Asiatic hardnecks mature early and have a very hot taste. Unfortunately, growing them in Texas can be problematic. Creole hardnecks develop later in the growing season and are more reliable. Look for 'Burgundy,' 'Creole Red,' and 'Ajo Rojo.'

Sometime in the distant past, a second group of garlic known as softnecks were bred. Softnecks do not send up a flower stalk and never develop a woody stem. These are happier in warmer climates such as those most Texans enjoy. Most of these produce 10 to 20 cloves with a pink tinge surrounded by a silvery skin. Look for softneck varieties, such as 'California Early,' 'California Late,' 'Silverwhite,' or 'Silverskin.' These are easy varieties to grow and store.

In addition to these true garlics, there are two other plants that carry the garlic name. Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is a close relative of the leek. It has a milder (some say better) flavor than garlic, but is not commonly grown commercially. It produces very large elephantine white bulbs 4 inches or more in diameter, containing 5 or 6 cloves.

Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is not a true garlic. It grows in a tight cluster and produces small strap leaves from a basal sheath, looking somewhat like green onions. The thick white tuberous roots do not form cloves. It is called "society" garlic because the mild garlic flavor of the leaves makes the eater more acceptable in polite society.

Planting Garlic
Plant all types of garlic in the fall about 6 weeks before the first frost in your area and while the soil temperature is still above 85 degrees. Those living in frost-free regions can also plant in early March for a harvest in late November. However fall planting is preferable because the resulting heads harvested in late spring are larger.

Garlic roots like to go deep so plant it in a loose, well-drained soil with a slightly acid pH - somewhere between 6.2 and 6.8. To avoid soil-borne disease or pests, don't plant garlic in the same spot where it or other members of the Allium family (onions, shallots, leeks) have grown in the last two years.

Just before planting, separate the cloves by "cracking" the head. If you wait more than 24 hours after cracking, the cloves will begin to lose viability. Plant cloves, pointed end up, about two inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. Undersized cloves should be culled from planting as they will produce puny heads.

If planting hardneck garlic, store the heads in a refrigerator 2 to 3 weeks before cracking the heads. You can also plant the bulbils, small, bulb-like growths produced on the flower stalk from the previous year. Be patient if you do, because bulbils take at least two years to produce a head with cloves.

Once the cloves are planted, keep the soil moist but not soggy until the tips break the surface. Then water as you would any other garden vegetables - at least an inch a week. In late spring after the stalks are at full height (2 to 3 feet for most varieties), stop watering. During the last few weeks the bulbs are segmenting and the outer wrapper is drying out. Too much water during this critical time can encourage mold and will shorten the life of harvested heads.

Garlic requires 8 to 9 months to mature. During the growing season use a good 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer to encourage head formation. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers because they will encourage leaf production at the expense of the head. Stay on top of the weeding in your garlic plot. Garlic has shallow roots and does not grow dense enough to shade the soil, making it easy for weeds to crowd it out.

Harvesting, Curing, Storing
The heat of approaching summer triggers head formation and the end of the life cycle. Garlic is ready to harvest when the lower leaves turn yellow. Dig up a few garlic plants to see if the heads have matured and are segmented into cloves. If you see only one large bulb (known as a "round") or very little segmentation, the garlic probably needs more time. If the leaves and stems become completely yellowed, harvest immediately. Heads left too long in the soil lose their tight outer sheath and are inferior in flavor.

To harvest, dig around the plants, taking care not to bruise or cut the heads. Attempting to yank them out of the ground as you would a carrot may leave you with a stem in your hand and the garlic still in the ground. Lay the unwashed garlic, stems still attached, on a flat surface to cure. Cure garlic in a warm, dry location out of direct sunlight. If left in the sun the heads will "scald" and change flavor.

Check curing garlic daily, removing any leaves or heads that show signs of mold. Leave your harvested garlic for 2 to 3 weeks until the bulb is dry and the outer husk feels papery. Once the heads are cured, trim the roots, brush off any dirt, and clip the stems to about an inch (unless you plan to braid them for long-term storage). Cutting stems too close to the head exposes it to mold and decay.

Select some of the fullest heads for next year's planting, about 10% of the harvest if you want to have a steady supply. By growing the best from previous years, your garlic will eventually become adapted to your region.

Garlic heads should be stored away from light (which triggers sprouting) in a cool, airy location. The traditional approach is to store it in garlic braids, removing a head as needed. A modern version of this uses a ladies nylon stocking, with a knot tied between each head. Or you can just keep them in a burlap or mesh bag.

Garlic doesn't require much to grow: a little space, a little sun, and a little patience. Your reward will be all that marvelous flavor.

KITCHEN TIPS Garlic is best stored in the kitchen in a dry, airy container, such as a terra cotta jar with ventilation holes. Don't store it in the refrigerator as this will encourage sprouting.

In spring, up to one fourth of a garlic plant's leaves can be harvested, minced, and used as you would chives. Garlic leaves will have a far stronger flavor than chives so use them sparingly.

The young scape or stem can be cut into lengths and saut‚ed in butter or added to stir-fry.

To peel garlic, slice off the root end of the cloves and then peel from the bottom up. You can also squeeze the clove tip between thumb and forefinger until the peel pops off.

Add minced garlic to hot oil before you saute‚ foods. Watch it closely and stir to prevent burning which will make it bitter.

Rub a sliced clove around the inside of your salad bowl to add a garlic flavor to salads.

Culled garlic cloves may be safely preserved in vinegar or white wine for later use.

Let fresh-minced garlic rest about ten minutes to allow chemical reactions that improve the flavor.
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Old July 28, 2016   #4
My Foot Smells
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above article is stolen w/o permission from an internet source for your review. I have grown the silverskin (I believe), but wasn't impressed, however, I do get a splash of winter - sometimes more with up to 3x with white stuff included and looking to plant some creole this october. YMMV

Last edited by My Foot Smells; July 28, 2016 at 01:41 PM.
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