Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Garlic Growing Results - 2013

Now that the garlic has been harvested, cured, cleaned, and sorted, I thought I'd share the results. This was our third year growing garlic, and I can definitely see the improvements that have come with gaining experience. I did a much better job of record keeping this year, which makes it easier to gauge our success. Overall I'm very happy with the yield, and think that we're on the right track.

In Garlic Planting - 2012 I gave the details of both the preparation and planting of the garlic, so will not repeat all of that information here. I do, however, think it is worth summarizing, for those readers who do not wish to read the earlier post. I planted the garlic on November 6th, which was later than I had wanted, but still plenty early enough. The garlic was planted in a bed that had been amended with compost, that I then tilled into the soil. After planting I mulched with a thick layer of straw.

I planted five varieties of garlic this year: Korean Red, Tochliavri, Inchelium Red, Polish White, and Silver Rose. I also planted some garlic seed, which I had purchased on a whim. I had hoped that it would provide me with some green garlic early in the season, but this didn't really work out as planned. I think that I'll stick with planting cloves in the future.

During the spring I harvested a few Korean Red as green garlic. A couple of times this was because it needed thinning, and once it was done accidentally while weeding. On June 6th, exactly seven months after the initial planting, I harvested my first scapes of the season. I was surprised to find, on July 1st, that the Silver Rose, a softneck, had developed scapes as well. I was happy to have more to harvest, since I had discovered the joys of garlic scape pesto following the previous harvest.

On July 2nd I harvested the Polish White, which in hindsight, I believe was too early. The other varieties were harvested about a week and a half later, and looked much better. After curing on the front porch for four weeks I cleaned and sorted the bulbs, and placed them into long term storage in early August.

Results by Variety

Korean Red: The Korean Red was, by far, the best performer. I planted 30 cloves (7.1 oz) and harvested 23 (aside from those harvested green), which weighed a combined 34 ounces. The leaves were a dark green all season, and the stalks were nice and thick. The bulbs were mostly medium to large, and produced the most long term storers. I sat 7 of the 23 aside for planting stock for next year, 6 went into long term storage, and the remaining 10 will either be used right away, or will be processed in some other way. The fact that Korean Red not only performed so well, but is also a hardneck that produces scape guarantee it a spot in the garden next year.

Tochliavri: This is my third year planting Tochliavri, but I'm just not seeing the results I would like. I only planted 8 cloves (2.1 oz), and harvested 6 bulbs (11.1oz). I sat one aside for planting stock, and the remaining will be eaten soon or processed. I'm hoping that maybe results will improve with acclimation to this area, otherwise I will likely not plant this variety again after next year.

Inchelium Red: The Inchelium Red performed moderately well. I planted 13 cloves (2.3 oz) and harvested 10 (10 oz). A couple of the bulbs were nicely sized, but were nothing spectacular. I chose one bulb to be saved as planting stock, placed 4 into long term storage, and will eat or process the other 5.

Polish White: As mentioned above, I may have harvested the Polish White too early. I planted 31 (4.1 oz), but only harvested 13 (12.1 oz). Six bulbs went into long term storage, and the other 7 were set aside for short term use. I did not save anything for planting stock, since the variety performed so poorly.

Silver Rose: The Silver Rose performed better than the Polish White, but not quite as well as the others. The bulbs were small to medium sized, but were overall nice. I planted 17 cloves (2 oz) and harvested 15 (10.1 oz), which was a better yield rate than the other varieties. Perhaps with a bit of acclimation the size of the bulbs can be improved. I sat a couple of bulbs aside for planting stock, put 6 into long term storage, and the remaining 7 will be used or processed in the near future.

The overall yield rate was 67.68%, with Polish White being the lowest at 41.94% and Silver Rose the highest at 88.24%. The others were around 75%. Last year I estimated a 90% yield, which seems exceptionally high compared to this year. The yield, in weight, averaged 4.39 times what was planted. Again, Polish White was the lowest, at 2.95 times. Tochliavri was actually the highest, with a weight of 5.28 times what was planted. The others were in the 4-5 times range.

I still have a lot to learn to get to where I want to be with my garlic growing abilities. However, the results show that I am improving, which is the goal. This is the first year that I've produced anything I felt was suitable to save as planting stock, which I am very excited about. I will be planting even more garlic next year, and am anticipating improved yields, large bulbs, and more candidates for long term storage.

No comments:

Post a Comment