Garlic Estonian Red, grown by Søren, Anne and Kirsten

We are three seedsavers who privately made our little garlic competition. Who grow the largest garlic? It was very interesting, as we went in to long talks on how we grow our garlics, and how our local soils affect the garlics.

Garlic Inchelium Red, grown by Anne, Søren and Kirsten

After these two pictures I’m proud to present the results of the competition:
Kirsten is the winner of our little competition – congratulations 🙂

Estonian Red is as usual a big garlic with few big cloves. The garlic is heavy, as the few big cloves makes it compact. If you eat a lot of garlic, there is no better garlic to grow in Denmark. The huge cloves are easy to peel, taste is strong and it keep very long time in storage. I know some have been eating it from their own harvest as late as early june. It is mentioned in Heirloom Vegetable Archive. Pictures (and danish text) can be seen in Karna Majs diary. Estonian red is a hardneck, a Marbled Purple Stripe variety. Bifurcated Carrots garlic types.

Inchelium Red we have grown for two years now. It didn’t get as big as last year, and this year we had many smaller garlics in this variety. The big ones are still big. Hopefully it will stabilise with a big size and few small ones, in a few years. Inchelium Red is a softneck of Artichoke type.

Anne in her allotment

What is the secret in Kirstens garden?
She has a sandy soil next to a stream. Annes garden is almost next to. They have water down in the sand all year round, in reach of any plant that has started well. Kirsten dig in a lot of compost deep in the soil. It makes her soil light and black, noutrisous, full of microorganisms, that functions by prolonging the roots of garlic (and onions). She also add a little lime and woodash. Garlic are gratefull for this kind of tender loving care.
Anne work to improve her sandy soil. Who knows, in few years Anne and Kirsten might have to share the first prize?

Why don’t I (Søren)do like Kirsten and Anne?
My soil is heavy clay with lime. If I dig that deep, the organic matter will pack airtight. Instead of an aerobic proces, I will have an anaerobic, rotting the organic matter and producing growth restricting substances, not enriching the soil as wanted.
My soil needs patience. Patience, lots of organic matter and earthworms. The earthworms are experts in dragging organic matter in to the soil, and never too deep. I can see a huge improvement by now, and there is still room for more. I’ll continue, and hopefully I can match the garlics of Kirsten and Anne sometime in the future.