The month of November is the time we plant our seed garlic around here. Early to mid-November is about right in the eastern Piedmont of North Carolina.

We prefer a hardneck garlic, and the “Rocambole” varieties are perhaps the best. ‘Spanish Roja’ and ‘Killarney Red’ are our two go-to cultivars. They both are outstanding. Each, in kind, produces a beautiful purple streaked paper bulb; holding within a delightful cluster of large reddish brown cloves that resemble baby chestnuts.

What makes this garlic stand out is that they peel without a lot of fuss and are easy to work with. Rocamboles are more complex in flavor, not too hot, and lean toward the sweeter side. They are simply delicious.

This planting season we are dedicating most all of our “Seed Savers Garden” to build up our garlic seed stock. These bed’s soil is deep, loamy, and rich in worm castings and compost. This growing area is what I would call a “nursery” that is given extra attention. An ideal location if everything needs to go as well as possible.

The one weak link with Racombole and hardneck varieties, in general, is that they do not store as well as the softneck varieties. They need to be harvested and handled carefully in storage. And it is important to break the seed cloves from the bulb only on the day you plan to plant. This insures the quality of each seed clove before it is sown. We plant on a 4″ x 4″ spacing and each clove  1″– 2″ deep depending on soil texture. In the Seed Savers Garden, we will go closer to 2″ deep given the quality of the soil.

November is perhaps one of the most beautiful months in the Piedmont of North Carolina. After a brief, two day, cold snap to start this month; we look to have an exceptional Indian Summer for more than a few days to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Eat a Peach.