Friday, August 28, 2015

Garlic and Onion Harvest 2015

The heavy rain we had this spring and early summer wasn't appreciated by all of my Alliums. Some of them did all right, but others had problems with rot. That's why I'm posting about them a bit late this year because some of them had some problems during curing.

All of my garlic and onions were planted on September 21, the Autumn Equinox, last year. I planted three varieties of perennial onions: French Red Shallots, Yellow Potato Onions, and I'itois Onions, five varieties of garlic: Red Toch, Lorz Italian, Inchelium Red, Nootka Rose, and S&H Silverskin, and two varieties of leeks: Elephant Garlic and multiplier leeks.

The Yellow Potato Onions, Inchelium Red Garlic, and Nootka Rose garlic were all new varieties I got from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

French Red Shallots
Harvested June 11

I got these French Red Shallots back in 2013, I think, and this the first year I got enough to eat as well as plant (and even give some away to family members). The first year I planted them, a lot of them rotted, but they must have adapted or something because now they are doing great.

They're just like little red onions, with a sweet mild flavor. They're small, about the size of golf balls, but I'm very happy with them, especially when I see the price of shallots at the grocery store.

Yellow Potato Onions
Harvested July 2

The shallots' cousins, the Yellow Potato Onions, didn't do nearly as well. Long after all the other Alliums were harvested and cured, the YPO's and Nootka Rose garlic still looked like they weren't ready. I finally gave up and harvested them anyway, and I found out that a lot of the Yellow Potato Onions had rotted. They are supposed to be easier to grow than shallots, so I emailed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange to ask them what they thought happened. They thought it was because of the wet weather, and said onions especially don't like that.

It's like we either have to little rain or too much! The onions in the picture are the ones that weren't rotted, so I'm going to try planting them again and seeing what happens.

I also grew I'itois onions again, but don't have a picture for them. These are the ones I got back in 2009 from Native Seeds/SEARCH. They did great, as usual.

Elephant Garlic
Harvested May 11

Even though the Elephant Garlic was one of the first Alliums I harvested, apparently I was still too late. As you can see from the picture, all but two of the bulbs fell apart into individual cloves as they cured. Next year I need to remember that Elephant garlic is ready very early, and I'll try digging them up as soon as they send up scapes. This year I cut the scapes and then left them in the ground a while longer, and I guess that was a bad move.

As usual, I got lots and lots of bulbils, as you can see in the picture, but so far I haven't had much luck with growing those. You're supposed to be able to plant them and they grow into larger solid bulbs, that you then plant again to grow into full sized bulbs with cloves. When I've planted them before they didn't come up at all. If I have room I'll try again this year.

The other type of leek I grew again were the multiplier leeks I got from my SCA a few years ago. As usual, they're doing great. They're almost doing too well and are becoming almost like weeds.

Inchelium Red
Harvested May 12

This was my best garlic this year. It's an artichoke variety that I'm trying out for the first time, and I'm happy. It's very similar in appearance to its fellow artichoke, Lorz Italian. I haven't done a taste comparison yet. I got several bulbs of a good size. Don't have much else to say except this one is a keeper.

Lorz Italian
Harvested May 27

I'm still happy with Lorz too. It didn't do quite as well as Inchelium Red this year, but I still got some good sized bulbs from it. It's also a keeper.

Not pictured is Red Toch, which I harvested on May 12. I only got a few undersized bulbs of that one. It's also an artichoke, but Lorz Italian and Inchelium Red are both doing so much better, I've decided to discontinue this variety.

Nootka Rose
Harvested July 2

This is the garlic that gave me the most problems. It's a silverskin that I tried out new this year, to see if it was better than S&H Silverskin. I finally gave up and harvested it in July along with the Yellow Potato onions even though it wasn't ready, and some of these turned out to be rotten too. I'm torn about whether to replant this one or not. There were a couple of bulbs that looked like they might have produced cloves, and the biggest bulbs of this one were bigger than what I got from S&H Silverskin, but it took so long before they were ready to harvest. I like to rotate sweet potatoes after my garlic, because usually my garlic is out by May or June, just in time to plant sweet potatoes, but this year I had to make my sweet potatoes wait for Nootka Rose.

S&H Silverskin
Harvested May 12

I've planted this other silverskin before, but it's never done very well. The bulbs are always very small. I wonder if maybe silverskins just aren't a good type of garlic for me. They're supposed to be the longest keeping garlics, which sounds good, but that doesn't help much when the bulbs are so tiny they're hardly worth peeling.

Keepers - Lorz Italian garlic, Inchelium Red garlic, Elephant garlic, multiplier leek, I'itois onion, and French Red shallot
On Notice - S&H Silverskin and Nootka Rose garlic, Yellow Potato Onions - These will all get another chance, but if they don't do better next year, I'll probably discontinue them.
Discontinuing - Red Toch, due to being consistently outperformed by the other artichoke garlic varieties I have in my collection

Even with the failures, I still have plenty of Lorz Italian, Inchelium Red, and Elephant garlic to eat, plus a lot of French Red shallots.