Polish White Garlic Info: How To Grow Polish White Garlic Bulbs
By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
Each year, many enthusiastic home chefs and vegetable gardeners plant garlic as a means of bringing homegrown and high quality ingredients into their kitchens. By planting their own garlic, growers are afforded access to unique and interesting varieties which may not be commonly found in supermarkets.
Growing garlic at home is not only cost effective, but also allows growers to choose varieties that best suit their own tastes and needs in the kitchen. Read on for some more Polish White garlic info.
What is Polish White Garlic?
Polish White garlic plants are known for their production oflarge reliable bulbs. Yields of these garlic plants are especially beneficialto home gardeners which may be looking to maximize their growing space.
This softneck garlic is also ideal for home gardeners due toits storage qualities. Though harvested early in the summer, those growingPolish White garlic are able to store their crops well into the winter.
In addition to these attributes, many growers simply preferthe taste of this garlic when compared to other cultivars. Polish White garlicis often less pungent than others, adding a more subtle and delicate flavor tofavorite recipes.
How to Grow Polish White Garlic
Growing Polish White garlic plants is relatively simple andsomething which can be done by even novice gardeners. Like any other varietyof garlic, deciding when to plant the cloves will be determined bythe garden’s growing zone.
First and foremost, growers will want to purchase garlic forplanting from a reliable source. Purchasing from online seed retailers willensure that the garlic has not been treated with any kind of chemical toprevent sprouting and is disease free.
In general, garlic should be planted into the garden around4-6 weeks before the first predicted freeze date. The process of overwinteringgarlic in the ground will ensure that the plant receives adequate coldtreatment for the formation of bulbs in the spring.
Beyond planting, the garlic will require little care. Oncethe ground has frozen in the winter, many growers may choose to cover theplanting with a layer of leaves or mulch to insulate the planting until spring.
After growth of the plants has resumed in the spring, thecloves of garlicwill be ready for harvest when the tops of the plants have startedto die back to the ground. With minimal care and some forward planning, growerscan ensure that they have abundant garlic harvests for many seasons to come.
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Garlic is a member of the Lily family and the genus Allium. Other members of the genus are onion (A. cepa L.), chive (A. schoenoprasum L.), leek (A. ampeloprasum L.) and several other edible and ornamental species. Elephant garlic is not a type of garlic but a bulbing leek.
Evidence of garlic cultivation can be found as far back as 3200 B.C. in Egypt. It continues to be an important part of Mediterranean, European and Asian diets as a food item, as well as a medicinal plant used to treat a variety of ailments. Recent research indicates that fresh and processed garlic may have some health benefits. Garlic is currently used for its unique flavor as a food ingredient as well as a dietary supplement. A liquid garlic spray has been used as an insect repellent for other crops.
Choosing your garlic
Common garlic Allium sativum - Soft neck Garlic, Italian Garlic, Silverskin Garlic. There are two main 'types' of common garlic - the so-called 'artichoke' garlics we buy in the supermarket, and the 'silverskins', with either very white, or white blushed rose outer skins. The bulbs of the common 'artichoke' types outer parchment is white, or off-white. There is usually a row of decent sized cloves around the outside, and irritatingly smaller, thinner cloves in the interior (altho' there are varieties with few, but quite large, cloves). As we all know, removing the skin from these cloves is not easy. The bulb is wrapped in many layers of parchment, which continues up to form a soft parchment like neck ideal for using to braid all your bulbs together on a string to hang in the kitchen! This garlic keeps well. Silverskins have the strongest flavor, and have numerous small cloves. They are very white, and the neck is sturdy and well suited to plaiting. The 'Creole' sub-group of the silverskin type is atypical, because they have only 8-12 cloves, are mild, and have a rose colored outer skin.
Hardneck Garlic Allium sativum var.ophioscorodon - Serpent Garlic, Stiffneck garlic, Rocombole Garlic, 10 clove garlic, Top Setting Garlic, Bavarian Garlic, Porcelain Garlic, Purple stripe garlic.
These garlics have a stiff, sometimes thick, neck, usually with fewer, even sized cloves arranged around the central 'neck'. Cloves number from four to twelve or so, depending on the variety. They are generally less reliable in changeable weather conditions than soft necked garlics, with the exception of the rocombole type.
The most distinctve of the three main hardneck types is 'Rocambole' Garlic. This garlic is similar to common garlic, but has two important differences. First, unlike common garlic, it throws up a flowering stem, called a 'scape'. Second, the bulb has relatively little outer parchment. This last difference has a positive and a negative side. On the negative side, the individual cloves are often exposed, can be knocked off the bulb by rough handling, and can wither a bit after long storage. In addition, the bulbs don't look anything like as attractive as bulbs of common garlic. On the positive side, they are a dream to remove the skin from -it is trivially easy- there is only one ring of decent sized cloves arranged around the woody central flower stalk and no smalls or thins, and it keeps almost as well as common garlic if stored carefully. The tall flowering scape , for reasons of its own, makes a twisting loop as it unfurls it's 'flower' head (which contains not flowers, but tiny little bulbils). Thus it's alternative name, 'serpent garlic'. Clipping the flower stalk off early on significantly improves bulb size.
It needs a cool winter and spring, and simply will not suceed in hot areas.
Purple Stripe Garlic has very white, thick, bulb skins, streaked with bright purple. They are quite a variable group, with some strongly flavored, some mild, some mid season,some late maturing. They store fairly well.
Porcelain Garlic includes varieties with few (4-8), large fat cloves covered in a very thick, very white bulb skin. The taste is usually strong. They store moderately well if free of disease.
Porcelain image at Filaree Farms
Artichoke garlic varieties JJJJ Gourmet Garlic Gardens have a very good, considered page on the 12 or so varieties of 'artichoke' garlic (the common supermarket type) they sell, the pros and cons of each variety.
Garlic types, history, and virtues JJJJJ Gourmet Garlic Garden have a photo-illustrated guide to the kinds of garlic in general - both hard neck and soft neck garlic, and their taste differences and more.
Simoneti garlic at Garlic Foods (a common garlic type from the SSR Georgia)
Metechi image (purple stripe type) at Gourmet Garlic
Chinese purple garlic image at Garlic Foods. This is an extremely hot garlic with characteristics intermediate between soft and hardneck types.
Asian Rose i mage at Gourmet Gardens. (An early, very hot cultivar.)
Prepare the soil
When to sow
Temperate areas- plant after the first good frosts of autumn. Spring planting is possible in the higher latitudes, as the longer day lengths promote bulbing, but the shorter season means the bulbs are often smaller. Autumn garlic will produce roots, but either no, or short, top growth. If the garlic sprouts have emerged, they will survive freezes and snowfalls, but they should be mulched heavily (about 15 cm/6 inches) to prevent heaving. Pull the mulch aside in spring. Autumn planted garlic will have strong roots by winters icy grip, and these roots will help prevent the 'seed' being pushed out of the ground as the soil alternately freezes and thaws ('frost heave').
How to sow
The tricks of growing satisfactory bulbs
give the best possible drainage
It is important to have a free draining soil. While cloves put in early in winter will have a longer cold treatment and will respond to lengthening days more quickly than those put in later, there is always a risk of the cloves rotting in a cold wet soil. Especially if the cloves are of dubious quality, or if you have a history of disease problems in your own saved seed cloves. Commercially, the seed cloves are often soaked in rugged fungicides prior to sowing to minimize this problem, but this is not an option for most of us. Excellent drainage is very important to give the edge on climate and disease.
give your plants an unreasonable advantage
Your garlic is likely in a race against root rotting disease and stem and leaf diseases. The better the leaf growth before bulbing starts, the bigger the bulb and the cloves will be. This translates to 'early care pays dividends later'. And also at the main growing stage, give your garlic every advantage to grow more than the disease will damage. Provide a free draining soil by amending it with sand, potting mix, well finished compost, leaf mould, or whatever. Consider a raised bed, or large tub culture. Before sowing, beef up the nutrient status of your soil by working in a complete fertilizer (5N - 10P - 10K) at about 225gms/half a pound per 7.5 Metres/25 feet of 30 cm/12 inch wide row. Once they have started growth in spring, give them regular - say fortnightly - very light side dressings of urea (or other high nitrogen fertilizer), spread 100 mm/6 inches either side of the plants. Liquid manures are also beneficial. Garlic competes poorly with weeds. Keep them as close to meticulously weeded as is possible. Be careful with the hoe- there is nothing more tragic than a beautifully growing garlic plant sliced off at soil level by a hurried hoe! If the weather is dry, mulch them to conserve water. Dry soil when the leaves are developing affects the yield quite badly, so water them well and regularly in dry periods.
either buy clean seed stock or provide ideal growing conditions
If you grow garlic regularly, and especially if you keep your own seed cloves, you will almost inevitably end up with a greater or lesser degree of disease in your soil and seed stock. This shouldn't prevent you from growing garlic, be we do need to accept that we have to put extra effort into keeping the plants in best possible condition when they start growing, and accept that is very wet years we may lose the lot. Even if you have disease in your soil, it is probably best to by clean seed cloves every year, as they will get a good start before becoming infected. Rocombole can usually be relied on to produce something, even when your common garlic is a total loss. Garlic that is water stressed in it's early growing period can 're-vernalise', which means the plant in effect 'cancels' the side buds that were about to grow into cloves, and produces a single fat, low quality clove instead. Cold winters largely prevents this phenomenon, so it is chiefly a problem for warm temperate areas. The same thing can happen if the plant is exposed to unseasonably high spring temperatures-29C/85F or above. The solution is keep the garlic well watered if there is a dry spell in spring, mulch to keep the soil, at least, cool, and keep your plants growing strongly.
use the most suitable variety
Some garlic strains will just not bulb satisfactorily in your area. Garlic varieties are adapted to a fair range of day lengths, intensity of cold, and accumulated heat conditions. Don't expect all varieties to do well in your area. 'Wrong' varieties may grow very well, but not bulb properly, re-growing from the barely formed new season cloves without the top dying back and without forming a proper bulb at all. Try locally sold seed cloves. They may well be- but certainly not certain to be- the best variety for your climate. In mild and cool climate areas 'rocombole' garlic is far more forgiving of the vagaries of climatic conditions than common garlic. Equally, in hot areas, the 'creole' silverskin types are far more reliable than most other garlics.
For example, it was very wet this year in Pittsburgh, PA, where I live and garden. The plants had just started to turn brown when I checked the first one. It was already down to 3 sheaths. You might want to warn people what happens if they wait too long - the garlic opens up and it's nearly impossible to get out of the ground. (And the garlic you do find is already starting its growth cycle, so it doesn't keep.)" - RC, Pennsylvania. USA
Wash the bulbs, especially the roots, and leave them for a week or so to dry- so long as it is fine. If you live in a hot climate area, you will have to dry them out of the sun, or your precious bulbs will sunburn. If the weather is dubious, dry your garlic under cover. When the bulbs are dry, you can trim off the roots, scuff off the outer discolored parchment, and braid your garlic for storage.
If you intend to keep your own clove seed, select the biggest and best bulb. Leave the cloves on the bulb, and at planting time select only the best cloves to use as seed cloves. But store your seed bulbs in a relatively cool, dry place-heat in storage can cause the seed cloves to develop into a plant that produces a single large clove , rather than a normal multi clove bulb. Prolonged very low temperatures can also disrupt proper growth.
Links to other sites and pages
Gourmet Garlic Gardens JJJJJ site covers everything garlic - medicinal properties, growing, varieties, history, chemistry of garlic, cooking. They sell garlic as well. The growing information is oriented to the heat of Americas Texas state, but is nevertheless very good indeed.
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