Great garlics

Don't forget about the great variety of garlic when planting your fall bulbs.

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When gardeners think about planting fall bulbs, daffodils and tulips pop to mind. But save room for a crop of garlic.

A member of the onion family, garlic is normally planted in fall and harvested the next summer.

There is a dazzling variety of garlic, each suited to specific growing conditions. Garlic found in supermarkets is known as softneck but tends to have a less pungent flavour. For more zing, hardneck types are recommended. They develop a central flower stalk, called a scape, which needs to be snipped off to allow the plant to form a large bulb. ‘Korean Purple’, ‘Russian Giant’ and ‘Romanian Red’ are some of the more popular hardneck varieties.

Maggie Leslie of New Moon Acres in Richmond, B.C., recommends planting garlic in raised beds and she only plants during a new moon. Do not separate the garlic cloves until just before planting pointed end up, 5 cm (2 in.) deep, about 15 cm (6 in.) between cloves. Where to order seed garlic: Boundary Garlic Farm in Midway: 250-449-2152 or New Moon Acres in Richmond: 604-271-1645 or Salt Spring Seeds on Salt Spring Island: 250-537-5269 or