These varieties are distinguished by their different characteristics: earliness, colour (bulbs and cloves), flavour and storage qualities. Gardeners should choose varieties based on planting time, local climate and storage qualities.
Autumn planting garlic
Autumn planting garlic has large cloves and starts sprouting from the end of November. It can be planted from October to mid-December.
This type of garlic is best planted early and eaten freshly picked. It can also be stored, as long as it is kept in a warm dry room, for instance in the kitchen.
There are two types of autumn garlic : white garlic and purple garlic who is more early. They are differentiated by the external tunic color.
Spring garlic bulbs are smaller than Autumn garlic bulbs, and have a higher dormancy rate, which means that Spring garlic only starts sprouting from December. Which means that Spring garlic should be planted from December to the end of March.
Spring garlic only reaches full maturity in July. In Mediterranean regions, Spring garlic can be planted as early as November or December and is harvested 8 to 10 days earlier.
Spring garlic is in fact pink garlic: most of the time the pink hue is only visible once the cloves have been separated, as only the skin covering the cloves has that pink hue.
There are two type of pink garlic : ‘softneck’ varieties and ‘hardneck’ varieties which can be plant on autumn.
The neck is in fact the flower scape which has gone hard in the centre of the cloves.
Pink garlic stores very well.