Several have asked why we’re drying garlic on racks vs. braiding. Softneck garlic is easy to braid. Hardneck garlic isn’t so easy to braid and it works better dried on racks, especially when you have 700+ bulbs of garlic to dry.
Here’s a picture I posted back in 2014 when I had maybe 100 bulbs and most of it was softneck.
It seems backwards for us to be growing hardneck because softneck grows better in warmer climates but we plant our garlic in September or, October at the latest. We store it in the fridge to help with the vernalization (cooling of the seeds) til we plant it. Our winters are mild, though we do have some zero to 10 degree nights, which can be a bit rough on softneck varieties.
My preference is hardneck also because the cloves grow larger and are easier to peel. Also, the hardneck is the variety that produces the scape. The softneck varieties rarely produce scapes. My main reason for choosing hardneck is the flavor. I’ve found that the varieties of flavor available in hardneck types suits us much more.
Most of my garlic comes from Hood River Garlic, though I do usually save a few bulbs from one year to the next to use as seed garlic. This year I started with all new seeds because I had not grown garlic for the past couple of years. On Hood River’s website, they recommend hardnecks for cold weather winters but they also say . . “If you want to try a hardneck in a warm climate, we recommend: Purple Stripe, Chesnok Red or Marbled Purple Stripe, Metechi. As well as Turban varieties: China Stripe, Chinese Purple, Morado Giant, Shantang Purple, Thai Fire, Thai Purple and Tuscan.”
This year, I’m growing Purple Stripe, Metechi, Thai Fire, Thai Purple and Tuscan. So far, they’ve all done quite well.
By the end of the day, I should have some of the garlic on drying racks to show.