Kitchen Gardening

Start Harvesting History by Planting Garlic

Fall is an unusual time for a new gardening catalog to appear in the mail, but timing is everything.

Harvesting History's first catalog is filled with heirloom bulbs for fall planting. The company's tagline is "Seeding The Future."
Photo/Illustration: Harvesting History Catalog

What gardener wouldn’t drop everything to open up a new gardening catalog that arrives in September? The name, typeface and compact 8 ½ x 5 ½ size made me open the Harvesting History catalog to see what the company was offering.

The answer is bulbs and there are plenty of heirlooms and what the catalog calls “historically significant varieties, including garlic, onions, shallots and elephant garlic.”

The timing is perfect for planning and planting hardneck garlic types before the ground freezes. The bulbs will get a start on growing before they wait to start again when the weather warms up in spring. 

Harvesting History is a newish seed company started by a group of people that had worked with the D. Landreth Seed Company. These experts all have years of gardening experience and are committed to “the flowers, vegetables and herbs that have been a part of Americans’ lives for centuries,” according to the company’s introductory materials.

Almost all of the company’s offerings are heirloom varieties that have been around for many years. I was impressed with the number of different types of garlic bulbs in the catalog, including many I hadn’t heard of before. There’s also a little bit of garlic history for those who may not know garlic has been cultivated for more than 5000 years. 

Harvesting History’s garlic choices include the three hardneck types: rocambole, striped and porcelain. The softneck types include artichokes and silverskins.

Thermadrone is a hardy softneck variety originally from France, Pyongyang is an Asiatic garlic from North Korea, Kyjev is a hardneck Porcelain garlic from Czechoslavakia.

The Asiatic varieties are a hardneck subvariety of the Artichokes Garlics and may be unfamiliar to gardeners in the U.S. Porcelain Garlics were also relatively unknown until recently. Each variety has something special to offer to garlic-loving gardeners.

A visit to the Harvesting History website provides much more detail, plus you can get a catalog sent to you, too. 

Garlic Planting How-To’s

For the best results in cold-weather areas, plant hardneck garlic in fall and time the planting about four to six weeks before the ground freezes. Locate a sunny spot with loose, well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter.

Plant garlic cloves with the pointed end up, 1-2 inches deep and about 5-6 inches apart; space rows about 18 inches apart. Cover with soil and a thick layer of mulch. Keep garlic from drying out over the winter.

Feed garlic with a high-nitrogen fertilizer in spring when the garlic starts growing. Garlic is ready to harvest when about half the leaves yellow and dry. Carefully dig garlic with a garden fork. Use garlic fresh or let it cure to extend shelf life.

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