Garlic. The Stinking Rose. This is an easy crop to grow, although it doesn’t like containers. If you want big fat gorgeous heads of garlicyou have to have it in the ground in the autumn, before it freezes. We’ve gotten ours in as late as mid-November. Dig some 3-4 inch deep trenches. Put in some compost. Throw in a little wood ash if you have it (protects bulbs from rot and allium worms). Cover with soil. Do not stomp it down. Cover with mulch of some sort (straw, burlap, old towels..) to keep them from heaving out of the ground with frost. Say a li’l prayer to the Allium Goddess. Thaw out yer hands. Toreally show that Goddessthe respect she deserves, plant a diversity of kinds. At the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF), we planted about 30 varieties (some of the bags are shown below) with telling names: Northern Siberian, Mennonite, Persian (aka Shaharazhad), Cuban, Purple Glazer, Fish Lake, Sicilian, Puslinch, Russian). At the amazing"Simpler Times Farm" just down Hwy 6,south of Morriston, you can find almost 50 varieties. Farmer's Markets around the country will have a range of varieties, too. And neighbours, and Seed Banks. Why bother?
It isdefinitely more work than simply, you know, opening a bag of already-split-clovesin a white plastic mesh bag from a rack in Home Depot or Canadian-Tire....Almost all the garlic one buys in any grocery storefor consumption AND for planting, from Ontario to Mainland China to Costa Rica, is one variety: “Music.” It also almost always comes in a horrid little disposable white plastic sleeve. Plastic coming and going! And it is almost always grown in vast fields requiring irrigation, fertilizer and pesticides, just like any other monocrop. This practice depletes the soil both in terms of soilstructure and health, and its physical well-being: it dries up and blows into the air and sea. Seed garlic from neighbours, local vendors and seed banks is invariably cheaper than any store-bought garlic. It lasts longer....Here's what FOODLAND ONTARIO says on their site: “Different varieties are grown, but there are no significant differences among them.” WTF? That is total horseshit! Discerning farmers and cooks candescribe differences in tastes (heat, edge, colours, softness).