This year we are planting some new, (to us), varieties. This is not by design. By the time I had got round to ordering the garlic from T&M they had sold out of all the usual suspects. The options left included ‘Arno’; ‘Garcua’; ‘Garpek’; ‘Sultop’; ‘Sprint’ and ‘Thermidrome’. Whilst the more familiar varieties had been snapped up early, I could be onto a winner with the lesser known.
First up ‘Arno’ – has the RHS AGM, so a good start, and is described as ‘an attractive softneck garlic with ivory-white skin covering pink cloves which stores well’. I’m loving it already.
‘Garcua’ and ‘Garpek’ are varieties which were bred by PLANASA, a huge multinational plant breeder. ‘Garcua’ is a softneck, white variety, with high yields and good storage capability. ‘Garpek’ is a hardneck, purple garlic variety, also high yielding, early with an ‘intense aroma and flavour’.
‘Thermidrome’ is a commercial French, white variety and is tried and tested. Reliable, producing big fat heads.
‘Sultop’, a hardneck, a white skin covering red skinned cloves. Said to have an intense flavour. A hardneck variety won’t store as long as the softnecks, so one to use up first.
Finally, ‘Sprint’, which was certainly living up to its name as it had already sprouted. A white bulb with violet streaks. Again this is a hardneck variety and so won’t store, but it will be ready to lift a number of weeks before the rest.
For the first time this year we will also plant some cloves from the garlic heads we harvested this summer. Usually we avoid this, preferring to plant certified virus free stock. This includes cloves of Elephant garlic, Allium ampeloprasum, (not really a garlic – rather a relative of the leek); last year these produced large monobulbs; if the season is long enough we may get the single cloves to split into more like the garlic, though we could also leave the bulbs in the ground for another season to make sure of forming heads.