Elephant Garlic in mid-March

The back half of this bed was planted to elephant garlic and the other half to a regular garlic. We had planted these the previous October, in this temporary raised bed about four feet wide, and this was about mid-March.

Garlic, good for you and easy to grow.

Growing Garlic on the Coast.
Garlic grows during the rainy season. Other than short bursts of activity during the planting and harvesting times, garlic has to be the lazy person's crop. Here on the coast it doesn't even need watering! Put it in the ground in October and dig it back up in late spring. There are many varieties to choose from, from mild eat-like-an-apple varieties to the kind that'll make your ears water (that's not a typo).

And it really is easy. If you don't harvest the bulb it'll sprout again next year. It is not uncommon to find abandoned homesteads where the garlic is still actively growing every winter. The key to the good harvest is the final size of the entire plant just before it finishes its growing cycle, the larger plants make the bigger bulbs. You'll want the greenest, fattest, healthiest and baddest plants on the block. Remember this as you read the rest of these directions.

Varieties

Garlic originated in Central Asia, and there are many hundreds of varieties. But garlic also adapts to local conditions, and its color or markings and even its taste may be different in your garden than in other locations. Bear in mind that, after three years of establishment, any garlic that you import to your garden will have pretty much adapted itself to its local conditions. Garlic isn't fussy, and both hardneck and softneck garlic grows here. Softneck varieties are the ones to get if you want them for braiding.

A little bit of a fiery garlic goes a long way, and we do grow a small amount of a hot variety. But since we enjoy garlic in our meals we lean toward the milder varieties, allowing them to be presented as a vegetable rather than an herb. Inchelium Red and Elephant garlic (actually a leek) are both mild. Nootka Rose is our strong flavored garlic, but even that is considered tame by garlic afficiados. There are many varieties available for sale, and you can experiment with a high variance of degrees of heat.

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.   –Yiddish proverb

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