Hardneck vs. Softneck Garlic

Garlic is garlic, right?
Well technically, yes.
And, no.

Yes, but there are differences between garlic that can help you decide which ones you will want to plant.

A mix.

A mix.

Hardneck Garlic:

  • Does better in cool climates.
  • Does not store as well.
  • Is easier to peel.
  • Has more gourmet flavors. These last two are reasons why hardneck varieties are often preferred by Chefs.
  • Gets a scape that then produces a flower if not trimmed. These scapes are wonderful to eat though, so in this sense hardneck varieties are a dual purpose veggie. They do take a little more work, as the scapes will need to be removed. If they are not, the plant puts its growing efforts into the scape, rather the bulb you are going to want.
  • Usually will produce fewer but larger cloves. Again, making them easier to use.
garlic scapes and friends

These garlic scapes are curly goodness.

Softneck Garlic:

  • Better suited for warmer climates.
  • Milder flavor.
  • Stores much longer so are usually the type found at the grocery stores.
  • Can be braided.
  • Smaller cloves but more of them, that is part of why they are more difficult to peel.
  • Shorter growing period, so they are good if you do a lot of succession planting.

We plant both.
We will consume the hardnecks first, or dehydrate into powder. Some cloves will be saved to plant again in the fall.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the “No” at the beginning of the post- Elephant Garlic isn’t really garlic at all.
Yep, it’s a leek.
But don’t tell anyone, it’s a well kept secret.


Categories: garlic, How to Grow



2 Responses to “Hardneck vs. Softneck Garlic”

L’ ail c’ est bon pour la santé, il possède des vertus thérapeutique !

It sure does Laurent! It has antibacterial properties, as do onions. If ever I feel I might be catching a cold, I drink hot vegetable broth with raw garlic in it. It keeps the col, and many people, away.

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