Not all garlic grows in SoCal

It’s the end of July and my garlic plants still haven’t sent up scapes. Another oddity that I noticed is many of the leaves are still green. I dug a few bulbs out to see if they were ready and found them to be disappointingly small.

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For comparison, here’s my garlic harvest in 2014 when I was in Richland, Washington…

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…and my garlic harvest this year in San Diego:

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The ones this year are less developed and don’t have that long neck characteristic of hardneck garlic varieties. After some research, I learned that hardneck garlics aren’t suited for warm climates and need really cold winters to develop their bulbs. It turns out that I should be growing softneck varieties as I’m in zone 10. This kinda makes me sad since hardneck varieties are more diverse and interesting. Here are a couple articles I read: How to Grow Garlic in Warm Winter Areas and Hood River Garlic FAQs

Guess I’m buying a new set of garlic seed bulbs again. Savers Exchange carries mainly hardneck varieties, but Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply has several softneck and California varieties. Because I really like growing varieties I can’t find in the store, I’m purchasing Inchelium Red, a softneck variety that’s won taste tests.

Lesson learned. Let’s see how this one does in the next season.

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