Sunday, January 15, 2017

Picardy Wight v. Carcassonne Wight; or, Softneck Garlic v. Hardneck Garlic

Six rows of garlic were planted during the 2nd week of October 2016. I regret to say that I didn't make a note or blog post to record when they germinated, but from memory it was approximately 4-6 weeks later. 3 rows of softneck Picardy Wight to the left, and 3 of Carcassonne Wight to the right. The Picardy were first to appear, couple of weeks earlier than the Carcassonne, and are now about twice the height of the hardnecks.

There's a (North American) discussion of the difference between hard- and softnecks here. Essentially, softnecks produce more cloves and store longer, but are more difficult to peel. This last point I don't take lightly: I love garlic, but find peeling it the most tedious possible job the kitchen can offer. (Cooking for myself alone, I don't bother; but family and friends don't like the skins, I've found.)

There's something magical about garlic. We associate it with the Mediterranean, where of course it's a staple of most savoury dishes, but it actually benefits from growing in a cold climate. It was plentiful and cheap to buy in Libya, for example, but was very mild - I'd use an entire bulb when cooking for myself. And here it is now, in Glasgow, growing up through snow.
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,
And it's years since I've grown it. I tried over winter in our old Pig Sty Avenue allotment, and it seemed successful until harvesting it when it turned out to be badly effected by onion white rot - that whole allotment had it.

This current crop was quite expensive, £5 or more for a couple of bulbs, but if successful I'll keep back a dozen or so bulbs to plant in October this year. Also, where it's planted now, I was taking a punt on the ground not waterlogging, - that my drainage works would work, - because this time last year this particular area was under an inch or two of water. So far, so good.