Sunday, November 06, 2011

Heirloom garlic project

We are taking part in an heirloom garlic project with Seeds of Diversity, Canada's non-profit seed saving organization.  There are over 200 varieties of heirloom garlic being grown and saved across Canada as part of this project, many on small urban farms or gardens such as ours, as well as many larger farms across the country.  The idea is to grow the garlic for two years, reporting on growing conditions each year, as well as saving the garlic to send back to the Seeds of Diversity seed bank.  We chose to grow 3 soft necked varieties, as the other garlic we usually grow in our garden is hard necked Rocambole variety that has scapes we also harvest and use.  The soft necked varieties don't form scapes, but tend to be longer keepers.  We were given varieties called Applegate (a superb mild Artichoke variety of garlic), Early Silverskin (white-pink skin, great for braiding), and Red Toch (another Artichoke variety with a little more heat than the Applegate).  We had fun planting about 100 cloves were today, labelling the plots well so they don't get mixed up, and we are crossing our fingers for a good crop next summer.  Seeds of Diversity is always looking for more participating in growing their vast selection heirloom varieties of vegetables, so if you are at all eager to learn more or get involved do check out their website. 

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