Porcelains are among those with the highest allicin, the sulfur compound associated with therapeutic benefits for blood pressure and cholesterol. Very hardy in northern climates, however early spring/summer heat can stress the plants. When conditions are ideal, they can grow into some of the largest bulbs with 4 to 7 cloves in a single layer.
Music Huge bulbs; with 4 to 6 very large easy to peel cloves per bulb; rich, strong, hot and pungent flavor and relatively good storage time of up to; does very well in times of a lot of rain and in hot, dry weather as long as they have plenty water right up to harvest. One of the most popular for it’s robust, lingering flavor.
Rosewood – listed in the Heirloom Seed Catalog, it may not grow into large bulbs but it doesn’t lack for rich flavor. Discontinued
Zemo – award winning and the choice of many chefs; has moderately hot and spicy flavor. Discontinued
Turbans are the first to harvest when the first couple bottom leaves turn brown; the stalk may become weak and fall over. They also have the shortest storage time, however the varieties below are known for longer storage. For flavor, the heat is immediate when eaten raw.
Chinese Purple is one of the first to show sprouting plants about 30 days after planting and one of the first to be harvested. Very pretty garlic with purple blotches on the outer wrappers and tight thin covering on the cloves; making for a decent storage time of 5 months. Deceptive small plants produce large bulbs and the scape forms an upside down U which stands out among the other scapes that form curls and loops. If hot flavor is what you want this one delivers. A good one to take to farm market early in the season. I continue to be amazed at this variety. It has withstood drought and flooding; the bulbs are great sized. This is definitely one to include in your garden.
Purple Stripes may have both purple stripes and blotches; very flavorful and outstanding for baking. There may be 8 to 12 cloves per bulb
Glazed Purple Stripe – are in a group of their own; brilliant purple stripes with the wrapper having a shiny metallic or gold tones, hence the name “glazed” Some debate whether these are in a separate group as the coloring is dependent on environmental conditions.
Vekak, – exceptional rich flavor when sautéed and highly productive. These bring a smile to your face, when you see the striking shiny, purple bulbs pulled up from the ground. In the midst of the worst winter on record, in January, I discovered a few bulbs in storage, that were just as good as if they were just harvested. Certainly surprised me! Discontinued
Marbled Purple Stripes is also in a group in its own; sometimes more blotches of color with purple striping.
Bogatyr – can grow into very large, long-storing bulbs of this variety with short squat fat cloves with easy to peel brown or tan clove wrappers. Very hot when eaten raw, it can make you break into a sweat and turn red as a beet! This is one hardneck variety that grows well in the south.
Pskem -, this one is commonly placed in the Marbled Purple Stripe group but genetic studies show it’s closer to Purple Stripe. It has large 3 – 6 large impressive cloves like a Porcelain, with purple striped wrappers. Can be quite hot when raw. Another impressive variety continuing to become more popular every year.
Creoles grow best in southern climates and tolerate heat and drought; with persistence they will acclimate to northern regions and produce nice size bulbs. Creoles originated from Spain, Mexico, South America and Italy; they are most beautiful to grow. Clove skins are brilliant red-purple to dark purple; most are mild enough to eat raw but a few have a kick. I love growing these cultivars not only for the challenge but because they are pretty and one of the few varieties I can eat raw without my stomach burning. These are increasing in popularity and sell out quickly. Unfortunately, not many survived the harsh winter. In northern climates, they do not grow into large bulbs; bulb size between 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″ diameter. Had to make the difficult decision not to continue to grow several varieties because of the quality and quantity of harvest.
Creole Red – winner of many taste tests, can grow few larger cloves than other Creoles. Discontinued after 2015
Aglio Rosso di Sulmona, a.k.a Red Sulmona – Originally from Italy and not too well known yet, but the word is getting out about it’s great flavor without pungency. Quantity Limited, discontinued after 2015
Burgundy – Cloves skins are more purple than red, like that of burgundy wine; excellent flavor for eating raw. This has stored very well and often use it through the winter months, discontinued after 2015
Donestia Red – Looks like a very nice sized Creole for this area. Quantity Limited
Softnecks – These cultivars do not have a flower stalk and have multi-layers of cloves. There are 2 separate classes, artichoke and sllverskins. All varieties grew exceptionally well this year, withstanding a wide range of growing conditions.
Artichokes are very robust plants with broad leaves that can grow large bulbs. They are so named because of the overlapping cloves in multiple layers, like an artichoke
Lorz Italian – Well adapted to summer climates, it keeps its great flavor in cooking and when roasted. It doesn’t have very small cloves in the center. Bulbs make very attractive braids. Extremely well this year, very large bulbs
Kettle River Giant – From the Kettle River region in northeastern Washington near the Canadian border, highly productive, exceptional large bulbs and cloves. Limited quantity
Ail de Pays Parne – originally from France, mild sweet flavor, medium size bulbs. Has a tendency to bolt.
Silverskins are high yielding and adapt well to a wide variety of climates. Plants are upright with narrow soft green colored leaves. Also used for making braids
Rose du Var – Originally from France, attractive bulbs that have a robust flavor, improved this year
Mild French – the name may be deceiving as this one can be quite hot; clove skins have a rose pink blush to them. It can be adapatable for southern climates
I started growing the following varieties out of curiousity and because I have not seen them offered before. Please inquire about availability
Beekeeper’s Sicilian – Very excited about this cultivar. Very large softneck and no small cloves in the center! Definitely a cook’s delight.
Punuk – Grows into 2 – 3 cloves. One clove may split into 2 plants
Rose du Lautrec, a Creole – limited quantity, going to give this one more year, bulbs are medium to small
“There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic.” Louis Diat