CHOOSING THE RIGHT VARIETY
We offer over 25 varieties of garlic, and we know it can be overwhelming for new garlic growers to know where to get started. First, it is helpful to know your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Click here for an interactive map that will help you determine your growing zone. Also available at: planthardiness.ars.usda.gov
These are general guidelines and there is quite a bit of overlap. Consider your region's humidity, winter temperatures, growing season temperatures, and how you like to prepare your garlic to determine the best varieties for you. If you want to try a variety, consider one of our Seed Garlic Samplers to start out with.
Zones 2-6: Porcelains, Standard Purple Stripes, Glazed Purple Stripes, Rocamboles, and Artichokes (softneck).
Zones 6-7: Porcelains, Standard Purple Stripes, Marbled Purple Stripes, heat tolerant Rocamboles, Turbans, Artichokes (softneck), and Silverskin (softneck).
Zones 7-8: Standard Purple Stripes, Marbled Purple Stripes, Turbans, Creoles, Artichokes (softneck) and Silverskin (softneck).
Zones 8-9: Turbans, Creoles, Artichokes (softneck), and Silverskin (softneck).
MOST ADAPTABLE VARIETIES
If you want quick and easy recommendations, consider our most adaptable varieties:
Want a more in-depth explanation on choosing varieties? Read on...
HARDNECK VS SOFTNECK
Hardneck garlic varieties grow a hard stalk (the 'neck') that forms a flower containing aerial bulbs known as bulbils. This flower, commonly called a garlic scape, is generally harvested immature to re-direct energy down into the bulb, resulting in a larger bulb. The scape itself is a tasty treat and our favorite for making pesto. Hardneck garlics have a shorter shelf life than softnecks but they include many unique traits such as size, flavor, and color that often missing from the longer storing hardnecks.
Softneck varieties do not form a flower stalk, and this makes them easier to grow and also lends them to garlic braids. Softneck varieties store longer, often over 1 year, but many varieties are bitter, pungent, and lacking in flavor. The white garlic you buy from the grocery store is a classic example of a softneck garlic. The varieties we offer here are heirloom varieties that have been selected to have good flavor and be visually appealing in garlic braids.
Porcelain - Known for their large, white bulbs containing 4-8 jumbo sized cloves. Eaten raw they have a sharp, spicy, somewhat bitter flavor; roasted they become sweet, creamy, and a little starchy; stir fried or sauteed they have a nice, mild flavor. Stores 8-10 months.
Porcelains prefer a cold winter and a moderately warm growing season. They can be vernalized (stored in the fridge and tricked into thinking it's winter) and grown in warmer areas.
We offer 3 Porcelains:
Music - The most popular Porcelain we grow. Great for cold, dry regions.
Romanian Red - More tolerant of humidity and coastal regions.
Susan Delafield - More tolerant of hot, dry regions.
Rocambole - Outstanding flavor and 8-12 easy-to-peel cloves. If I could only grow one garlic, it'd have to be a Rocambole (Carpathian). Eaten raw is a delight, try a clove dipped in peanut butter or a healthy spoonful mixed into your favorite dressing; stir fried or sauté brings out the rich, complex flavors; roasting mellows the flavor but brings out a beautiful nuttiness. Stores 4-6 months
Rocamboles require a long, cold winter and they can be more challenging to grow with a susceptibility to fungal problems. They love the cold, dry areas of the Northern tier states and generally struggle in warm, wet regions but some are more adaptable than others.
We offer 4 Rocamboles:
German Red - Does not vernalize well and really loves a very cold, long winter.
Carpathian - Seems to vernalize well in warmer areas and is more tolerant of short winters. Delayed emergence makes this a good option for areas with a lot of freeze/thaw in Spring. Longer growing season than most varieties.
Montana Giant - Does not vernalize well, drought and heat tolerant.
Island Rocambole - Tolerates warm, wet conditions, good for coastal regions.
Standard Purple Stripes - Easy to grow and big, beautiful bulbs with 10-12 medium sized cloves. Purple striping varies due to the mineral content of the soil, sometimes very purple and other times a satiny white. A great all-purpose garlic that is prized by canners for pickles and salsa. Raw it is well balanced with a medium heat; stir fried or sauté and it maintains is balanced flavor; roasting brings out a sweet, caramel flavor without any starchiness. Stores 8-9 months.
Standard Purple Stripes are a great choice for new garlic growers, market gardeners, and growers who only want to grow 1 reliable variety. Not drought tolerant.
We offer 2 Standard Purple Stripes:
Chesnok Red - Probably the most widely grown hardneck garlic and adaptable across all regions of the US. Vernalizes well in warm zones.
Persian Star - More tolerant of hot, humid conditions.
Glazed Purple Stripes - Sweet, balanced flavor that is first to harvest in many regions. Excels in very cold regions with short growing season. This dainty plant would be a good option for container growers. Eaten raw it is sweet with a medium heat; stir fried or sauté it is mild with a robust garlic flavor; roasting intensifies the sweetness and mellows the heat. Early to harvest but also a short shelf life, store 4-6 months.
Loves a cold winter followed by a cool growing season; not tolerant of heat or drought.
We offer 3 Glazed Purple Stripes:
Purple Glazer - Adaptable to most regions of the US.
Brown Tempest - New to us, we're still learning more.
Red Rezen - New to us, we're still learning more.
Marbled Purple Stripes - Robust flavor and mild-medium heat, with 5-7 easy to peel cloves in each bulb. Reliable and easy to grow, a common hardneck choice for commercial scale plantings. Eaten raw it is mellow with a robust flavor; stir fried or sauté brings out the sweetness; roasting it sweet and creamy without the starchiness of a Porcelain. Stores 8-9 months.
A good substitute for Rocamboles for growers in wet, cool-warm areas.
We offer 3 Marbled Purple Stripes:
Russian Red - Cold tolerant
Metechi - More heat tolerant
Khabar - New to us, we're still learning more.
Turbans - One of the most adaptable varieties of garlic, Turbans will form a scape in cold climates but stay a softneck in warm climates. Plenty of heat and a robust garlic flavor in these typically small but very colorful bulbs. A great early garlic for market farmers and good choice for growers in warm zones who haved struggled with other hardneck varieties. Store 3-5 months.
Small, colorful bulbs full of heat and flavor.
We offer 3 Turbans, all our new to us and we're still learning their differences.
Creoles - A great choice for growers in the South who struggle to grow other hardneck varieties. Like the Turbans, these varieties will form a scape in colder regions and remain a softneck in warm regions. Their sweet, spicy, complex flavor has made them one of the trendiest garlics in modern culinary culture. Exceptional storage life makes them an ideal choice for saving for spring and early summer cooking. Stores 10-14 months.
Creoles do not generally produce a large bulb, but they store exceptionally long.
We offer 2 Creole varieties:
Ajo Rojo - Intense heat with beautiful vibrant colored cloves
Rose de Lautrec - More likely to be weakly bolting (not form a scape)
Admittedly, we have a fondness for hardneck varieties. We have grown them extensively for over a decade and know more about growing hardneck garlic than softneck garlic. However, the giant bulbs and beautiful braids keep us planting more and more softneck varieties. Expect this section to grow with time.
Softneck varieties are preferred for warm growing regions that do not experience winter temperatures and for busy or new gardeners who don't want to fuss with taking off garlic scapes to improve bulb size. These varieties are easy to grow and reliable, with a long storage potential. Braided with some dried flowers and they can become a beautiful, thoughtful gift from the garden that will make any foodie swoon with delight.
Artichokes - Large bulbs, medium-large cloves, and mild flavor makes this is a standard for commercial gardens of all sizes. 12-20 cloves per bulb makes this one of the most economical varieties to plant and high yields of large, dense bulbs makes this one of the most profitable varieties to grow. Stores 10-12 months.
Great for braiding, processing into powder, or growing for farmers markets and CSAs. One of my favorites for canning pickles or pickled garlic.
We offer 5 Artichoke varieties:
Inchelium Red - Adaptable to cold and warm regions
Kettle River Giant - Similar to Inchelium Red
Red Toch - Our favorite for flavor and color
Lorz Italian - Very heat tolerant
Oregon Blue - New to us, but such a beauty!
Silverskin - Medium sized bulbs with lots of small-medium sized cloves. Spicy, strong flavor. Stores 12-14 months
We offer 1 Silverskin variety:
We hope this helps to steer you in the right direction. If you still don't know where to start, check out seed garlic samplers. We feature adaptable varieties that do well across the US and then add in a specialty variety chosen by our experts that we expect to do well in your area. This is a great way to try a few varieties and see what does well in your region.