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Old May 1, 2018   #1
bower
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Default Comparing the early vigor of some garlic varieties

This year I have 5 different varieties in one bed, that I am mainly growing to multiply as a seed stock. At first I had forgotten what was there and I wondered why some rows were not coming on as quickly - but this morning I looked at my 'map' and then I took a pic to compare the size of the sprouts in different rows.

From front to back:
First two rows are Persian Star, third row is Chesnok Red. These are four years from bulbils, which increased in size very slowly but did quite well last year in the warm dry summer. I nearly gave up on Chesnok Red as the seed stock I purchased got smaller and smaller here, but I thought they may adapt better from bulbils grown here. Really proud to see them all coming and as big as the Persian Star, which I got from scapes from my friend's farm and are doing alright for her. I have a second small bed with ten of each of them, and they are also up and looking good. These purple stripes are my latest to mature garlics, which makes them a bit risky to decline in size in a poor year, but they are certainly up vigorously and early this time.
Row 4 and 5: Spanish Roja. I grew a lot of these last year, this time I have just enough to preserve seed for the future. They are certainly the latest to come up. Last year they matured soon after the porcelains but based on other years I think they need more warmth to mature in good time. I like the idea of having big bulbils from a rocambole for seed purposes, but their survivorship has been poor for me so far. Also a bit disappointed how quickly they lose flavor in cooking, which makes them more of a 'raw only' garlic. Still a very nice flavor on these.
Row 6: "Bonavista Fireball" - still not sure if this is a porcelain or a marbled purple stripe. Really pleased to see their shoots are even bigger than the porcelain Argentina just behind them in the last row. I think the earliness of Bonavista = Argentina = Music - earliest and most reliable.

In the second pic my main crop of porcelains, Music on the left and Argentina on the right. Music I grew out from bulbils and it just keeps getting bigger. Argentina came from my friend's farm. The first year Argentina was impressive as the earlier and bigger of the two, but the year after they seemed to converge on the same size and date. I'm not sure of the reason for that. They are overall so similar, without labels and maps it would be very hard to tell them apart.

Just for reference I'm tossing in a pic of Egyptian Onions and rhubarb in the same part of the garden, to show how far along they are at the same time (May first).
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File Type: jpg musicleft-argentinaright.JPG (362.6 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg May1-rhubarbegyptianonions.JPG (386.8 KB, 66 views)
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Old May 1, 2018   #2
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Are these just sprouting? Isn't it somewhat late?
I find that 'neckless' varieties are usually quite vigurous early on. The first leaf is basically at ground level and have broad leaves. Ail de la Drome is like that (thermidrome, messidor, provence wight, etc), it has insane vigour comparing to other garlic I grew, 3 cm thick base now (7 leaves), but much shorter plant. Curious to see if it will actually translate to production.
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Old May 1, 2018   #3
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Interesting.. I grew NY White softneck several years but they did so poorly last year I didn't bother to plant the few that were good enough for seed. They always harvest earliest which is nice, it gives you something to pull while anxiously waiting for the hardnecks.
This is actually the earliest I have on record for garlic sprouts being up... I checked my pics from past years and the same stage came in May 4, May 7, May 10, so we're not late by any means.
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Old May 2, 2018   #4
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By neckless I meant they don't have a neck (like the stalk before the leaves, many have really long neck, like most garlics my grandma used to grow).
It didn't occur to me it could also mean the opposite of hardneck.
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Old May 2, 2018   #5
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My garlic has really taken off for me over the past week. Some of them looked wispy (particularly the Xian, which I really like a lot), but now they're all filling out very well.

German Extra Hardy, Killarney Red, Romanian Red, and Lorz Italian grew out vigorously before the others - Xian, Nootka Rose, Leningrad, Burgundy, Rose du Lautrec, and Asian Tempest.
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Old May 3, 2018   #6
TomNJ
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Mine are quite vigorous this year with Music again more hearty than the others. The three rows on the left are Music. The three rows on the right are Russian Red, Estonian Red, and an unidentified variety sold as Appalachian Red but I have some doubt. The Estonian Red are always a paler green and a little wispy. The close up shot are Music, which are about two feet tall.

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Old May 3, 2018   #7
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Looking good!
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Old May 3, 2018   #8
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They are beautiful, Tom! Really nice pic showing the difference in size and leaf color too.

I wondered about the porcelains, and whether there are any real differences in varieties, after reading that they are "genetically identical". But there do seem to be genuine differences.
@ako1974 we tried Leningrad at the farm a few years ago, and I had one bulb I planted here and grew it for two years, but they didn't make the cut in either location due to being a bit too late to size up in our short season. Music otoh, and some others Argentina, Northern Quebec, are vigorous and early and large. I think German Extra Hardy is another porcelain with the same reputation? I have one more called 'Susan Delafield' I'm trying to grow up from bulbils, but only had one bulb survive from the rounds - they are not up yet so keeping my fingers crossed. There are 65 second year cloves of Music planted in those other beds, just starting to come through the ground.
And the 2nd year Kostyn's Red Russian is up, which I believe is a Marbled Purple Stripe and seems to be quite early too.
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Old May 4, 2018   #9
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@Bower - yes, German Extra Hardy have consistently been the biggest bulbs for me. I've been propagating it for around 10 years now. In terms of earliness, early vigor in spring, but I harvest them, I guess, midseason - around July 4 (though I don't let most garlic go much longer than that, I think it's still midseason for my zone?). The earliest one I typically harvest is Xian, but the harvest date shifts each year, depending on the weather.
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