Garlic lovers who’ve spent a few
months without fresh garlic cloves are prime candidates for growing Early Red Italian,
which is ready for harvest before many other types. What is Early Red Italian
garlic, you may ask? It is a mild, artichoke garlic with a minor bite. Early
Red Italian garlic info calls it “an excellent garlic ready for harvest weeks
before some other varieties” and says “it is a prolific grower” with large,
Growing Early Red Italian Garlic
Native to southern Italy, heads are
large and, as mentioned, the Early Red Italian garlic plant is one of the
earliest types ready for a late spring harvest. While this garlic
variety will grow in less than ideal conditions, bulbs and taste are
improved by growing in a sunny spot in loose, composted soil.
garlic cloves with the roots downward and cover with a
couple inches (5 cm.) of rich topsoil. Space the cloves approximately 18 inches
(46 cm.) apart. Plant into soil that is loose and well draining so the roots of
Early Red Italian have plenty of room to develop and grow the large bulbs. Info
says one pound of this garlic typically has 50 to 90 bulbs.
Water regularly when there is no
natural moisture. Keep the weeds cleared from the garlic patch, as garlic does
not like competition for nutrients. A layer of organic mulch assists with both
holding moisture and keeping weeds down. Clip off any blooms that appear.
Planting times for garlic vary
somewhat by location. Most plant in mid-autumn if there will be a winter
freeze. More northern areas may wait to plant in early spring. Those without
freezing winters often plant in winter and harvest in fall.
Purchase seed garlic from a
reputable source, locally or online. Keep in mind, when you’re buying your
first seed garlic that it will produce bulbs for eating and reseeding for years
to come, so don’t be intimidated by the price. You haven’t truly tasted garlic
until you eat that you’ve grown.
Early Red Italian garlic stores
well and lasts several months if properly stored. Use this garlic in sauces and
pesto or for raw eating. You can store the entire plant or store bulbs in a
dark, dry place where air circulates, in a mesh or paper bag.