Kettle River Giant Garlic: Tips For Growing Kettle River Garlic In The Garden
By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)
The addition of garlic to the home garden is an obviouschoice for many growers. Homegrowngarlic offers year-round access to high quality and pungent cloves,which are a treasure in the kitchen. While there are many garlics grownspecifically for fresh eating, the strong flavors of some other varieties makethem more suited for use in garlic butters, as well as in seasoning of meatsand pasta dishes. ‘Kettle River Giant,’ for example, is prized for itsattributes in cooking.
Kettle River Garlic Info
Kettle River Giant garlic is an artichoke type garlic whichis capable of producing large garlic bulbs. Though the size of the bulbs willvary depending upon growing conditions in the garden, it is not uncommon for itto reach sizes of 4 inches (10 cm.) across.
Developed in the Pacific Northwest, this giant Kettle Rivergarlic also demonstrates an impressive tolerance for both cold and hottemperatures. This, in tandem with its size, make it a viable option for manyhome gardeners, as well as those who grow for farmers’ market production.
Kettle River Giant garlic matures early in the summerseason, and demonstrates wonderful storage ability. With its strong and spicygarlic taste, it is easy to see why this heirloom is a favorite of many homegardeners.
Growing Kettle River Garlic
Growing garlic is extremely simple. In fact, this adaptablecrop can be grown in a wide variety of conditions as long as the plants areable to receive ample sunlight, water, and nutrients. Beyond these growthrequirements, garlic plants are an excellent choice for containerplantings and in raised bed gardens with well-draining soils.
In general, garlic should be planted in the fall about 3-4weeks before the first hard freeze occurs. This period of time allows the bulbto develop a root system as the weather transitions into winter. After theground freezes, apply a layer of mulch. This insulating layer of mulch willhelp regulate temperature and soil moisture levels throughout the coldest partof the growing season.
After the growth has resumed in the spring, maturegarlic will be ready to harvested when the tops of the plants beginto die back. Once picked, the garlic can be storedindoors in a dry location.
With careful planning, growers are able to produce a bountifulharvest of garlic cloves which will last all season long.
This article was last updated on
- Asian Greens
- Brussels Sprouts
- Garden Huckleberry
- Garden Tools
- Gift Certificates
- Ground Cherry
- Kitchen Gifts & More
- Lima Bean
- Runner Bean
- Seed Collections
- Seed Saving Tools
- Swiss Chard
Dixon Inchilium SOLD OUT - As of 07/13/20
Music (organic), SOLD OUT as of 10/05/20
Tochliavri - SOLD OUT as of 08/24/20
Chesnok Red SOLD OUT - As of 08/16/20
German Extra Hardy SOLD OUT - As of 08/13/20
Inchelium Red (organic), SOLD OUT as of 10/05/20
Samarkand SOLD OUT - As of 07/20/20
Our Tips for Growing Fall Garlic in Western Washington
Provided by: -Newaukum Valley Farm- Chehalis, WA
We love growing garlic! Here are few of our tips for growing garlic in Western Washington. Be sure to research garlic growing tips for your growing zone and garlic types prior to planting.
1. Seed Source. Make sure you buy quality seed from a trusted source. The Washington State Garlic Fest (WSGF) is a great place to buy your seed garlic. The farmers who participate in the fest have spent a great deal of time and attention on presenting you with some of the best garlic available. Seed garlic and eating garlic are the same thing. Some growers break up their bulbs and bag seed as individual cloves while other sell it as heads. We find that seeking out large heads is best. The bigger the cloves you plant, the bigger heads of garlic you will reap.
2. Research. Be sure to research varieties that grow well in your climate. All the garlic we produce grows well in Western Washington and Oregon. For example, Kettle River Giant and Inchelium Red are native to Washington State and can be found at the WSGF. You can choose to grow softneck or hardneck garlic or both. Hardneck garlic flowers while softneck varieties do not.
3. Flavor. Determine if you prefer more pungent garlic or something milder. The WSGF is a great place to test out the flavor profiles of a large collection of garlic. Softneck garlic tends to be milder than hardneck.
4. Storage. Purchasing eating garlic or seed garlic at the WSGF will provide you with quality garlic so long as you store it properly. For long lasting garlic, place it in a paper bag in the cool dry place with good air flow. A pantry or a cupboard is a good spot. An insulated garage is even acceptable so long as the garlic is kept out of the light.
5. Soil Prep. Make sure to remove weeds from your plot. Garlic prefers rich, sandy loam soil. If your suspect you soil is lacking nutrients, consider taking a soil test. Your local extension agent should be able to assist you in this process. Be sure to amend your soil with compost and fertilizer prior to planting.
6. Planting. At Newaukum Valley Farm, we start planting our garlic in late September thru October. Begin by breaking up a full garlic head into individual cloves leaving the paper on the clove. Handle the cloves with care to avoid bruising. Making a furrow ahead of time, plant cloves about 4-6 inches apart and 3-4cm below the surface with the point end facing up. Some folks prefer to mulch their garlic after planting it to cut back on weeds and keep moisture in. We don’t find it necessary in our climate to mulch in the winter however it is quite common in colder, dryer climates.
7. Growing. Garlic does not grow much in the winter, but you’ll see it take off as soon as the weather warms up.
Some farmers side dress their garlic with fertilizer in the late winter or early spring. It is important to watch the weather. If the weather is really dry, water your garlic more. Keep it watered regularly, but stop watering it about two weeks prior to harvest. If you have chosen to plant hardneck garlic you will see it scape (send up its flower stalk around June. Cut the scapes off when they first begin to curl in order to send more energy into the bulb. Don’t discard the delicious scapes. Drizzle them in olive oil and lay them on the grill like asparagus or make a pesto out of them. See recipe
8. Harvest. At Newaukum Valley Farm we begin our garlic harvest in July. We know when our garlic is ready when the leaves on our hardneck garlic start to change color and the softnecks leaves lay over onto the ground. Because of the size of our operation we use a tractor with an implement to dig our garlic. However, if you have a small patch, be sure to loosen the dirt around the garlic with a shovel. Pulling on the garlic stalk alone could result in separation from the stalk. Be gentle when harvesting your garlic to avoid bruising it. Brushing loose dirt off your garlic is an important step prior to curing it as it will help the drying process and keep things much cleaner.
9. Curing. The jury is out on how to best cure garlic. We have had great success in drying our garlic under shade cloth in our greenhouse. We hang it and/or lay it out to dry. We use fans to keep the air circulating and lift the side walls of our greenhouse to the up position for ample airflow. Many say the best way to cure garlic is out of direct sunlight in a barn or a garage. The key is good air flow. We know many who have lost their garlic to rot because the location they chose was too dark and damp. Either way, make sure to let your garlic hang or dry for 2-4 weeks for a good cure.
10. Cooking Now it’s time to eat that lovely garlic you’ve worked so hard for. The garlicky possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking. Check out the recipe section for some of our favorite ways to incorporate garlic into our meals.
Are you a hardneck or a softneck kinda garlic lover? Do you know?
Most of us only know the supermarket variety, which is a softneck grown for shipping qualities rather than range of flavor. Hardneck and softneck are the broadest terms used for all varieties of garlic, and there are several hundred sub-species within those varieties. We’ll look at a few of the hardnecks here, and some taste notes you might consider in growing one variety over another.
A separate article will cover softneck garlic for Southern climates.
All garlics are Alliums, the species sativum, and originated in central Asia. Garlics fall into two broad categories, the hardnecks which usually grow a woody, hard neck or scape in the stem center are var. ophioscorodon. The softnecks which usually don’t grow a scape, are var. sativum. The climate in central Asia is damp and cold, which the hardnecks prefer. The softnecks were later developed from hardnecks and do better than hardnecks in warmer climates.
Most of the early garlic in the US came with immigrants from Poland, Germany and Italy. In 1989 the Soviet Union finally invited the Americans into the Caucasus region to collect garlic varieties. They were only allowed to travel at night (in military areas) and as they went from village to village along the old Silk Road, they named the cultivars from the towns where they were purchased. Hence, we often have a variety known by more than one name.
According to many garlic lovers, hardnecks have the only ‘real’ garlic flavor although I am a garlic lover and I heartily disagree. Hardnecks are distinguished by the stiff “neck” or stalk in the center of the growing plant and they tend to have fewer but more uniform cloves around the stalk. There are three distinct groups of hardnecks: Rocambole , Purple StripePorcelain . Three additional groups have recently been added, Marbled Purple Stripe , Glazed Purple Stripe and Asiatic . Unfortunately, I found very few variety references for them.
The most readily seen garlics are Rocambole and the term is often used as a generic name for all garlic. Rocamboles have thin, parchment-like skins and do not store as well as softnecks. However, they do peel easier. The term ‘serpent garlic’ comes from Rocamboles, which have curling top scapes that produce seeds called bubils. Bubils may be planted which in 2-3 years will mature into full-sized garlic bulbs.
Purple Striped garlic is aptly named for the stripes which all have to some degree. The differences in Purple Stripes in taste are from mild to pungent, and in time to maturity. I have ‘Chesnok’ growing in my garden, mainly for roasting whole.
Porcelain garlics have a thick, tough skin making them excellent for storing. The heads are plump with just a few large, fat cloves. Only the Silverskins (a softneck) store longer. Porcelains are all full-flavored, generally running to musky hot and pungent in taste. They are usually more expensive to buy and have the fewest cloves per bulb… sometimes as few as 4 although 6-8 is more typical.
I no longer wonder where fire breathing dragons come from in Chinese folklore – they’re ordinary people who have eaten too much of the Asiatic garlics. Asiatic garlics were originally classified as a separate group that was part of the Artichoke garlics (Softnecks) but recent DNA research done independently by Dr. Gayle Volk  of the USDA in Fort Collins, Colorado and Dr. Joachim Keller of the Institute for Plant Research in Gaterslaben, Germany, shows them to be weak-bolting hardnecks.
Here is a list of a few hardneck garlic varieties, with some notes about them and taste descriptions:
‘Baba Franchuk’s’, endangered and hard to find, excellent flavor with punch
‘Carpathian (Polish)’, very strong, hot and spicy and sticks around for a long time
‘Colorado Black’, smooth, medium bite
‘Dan’s Italian’, good strong bite
‘German Red’, rich, strong flavor, hot and spicy, lingering flavor, 8-9 cloves/bulb
‘Killarney Red’, perhaps originated from ‘Spanish Roja’ or ‘German Red’ but said to grow better than either of those. Rich flavor, 8-9 cloves/bulb, heritage, endangered and hard to find
‘Korean Purple’, hearty delicious flavor, heritage, endangered and hard to find
‘Purple Italian’, rare, rich and strong and not overly hot and spicy, 8-9 easy to peel cloves/bulb
‘Purple Max’, strong rough flavor, heritage, endangered and hard to find
‘Puslinch’, excellent lively flavor, heritage, endangered and hard to find
‘Spanish Roja’, heirloom, huge bulbs, strong hot and spicy, full flavor, 8-9 cloves/bulb
‘Bogatyr’ stores well, 5-7 cloves/bulb
‘Brown Tempest’, a marbled purple stripe, heritage variety, 5-9 cloves/bulb
‘Chesnok’ or ‘Chesnok Red’ (aka Shvelisi) roasts well, rich hot medium flavor, lingering taste, 4-10 cloves/bulb
‘Chrysalis Purple’, large, dependable, hardy, easy to peel, 8-12 cloves/bulb
‘Duganskii’, heritage variety
‘Khabar’, smooth mellow taste
‘Metechi’, very strong, heritage variety
‘Persian Star’ (aka Samarkand), rich elegant medium flavor, heritage
‘Purple Glazer’, tall with large bulbs, sweet hot and warm richness like ‘Red Toch’ and ‘Burgundy’, heritage, hard to find, 9-12 cloves/bulb, stores 5 months
‘Red Rezan’, hot, mid harvest, needs very cold winters, 9-12 cloves/bulb, stores 5 months
‘Siberian’, mild delightful flavor, not overpowering, 5-7 giant cloves/bulb, heritage, thrives in cold climates, stores 5 months
‘Skuri #2’, very strong
‘Starbright’ has a somewhat nutty flavor
‘Dan’s Russian’, full flavor that starts strong and then fades
‘Fish Lake 3’, heritage, good taste and strength, endangered and hard to find
‘Georgian Crystal’ is very mild with fat bulbs, 4-6 large cloves/bulb, stores 6 months
‘Georgian Fire’, rich, robust, strong and lingering flavor, endangered and hard to find, 5-9 cloves/bulb, stores 6-7 months, Hottest
‘German Stiffneck’ is often called ‘German Extra-Hardy’, ‘German White’ and ‘Northern White’, strong and robust flavor, stores 10 months or longer
‘Leningrad’, hot and strong, endangered and hard to find
‘Music’, large bulbs, hot, sweet and pungent, 4-7 cloves/bulb, stores 6 months
‘Northern Québec’, endangered and hard to find
‘Polish Hardneck’, sometimes called ‘Polish Carpathian’, rich flavor, hot searing pungency that sticks around for a long time. Good hot strong long storing garlic.
‘Romanian Red’ is fiery hot and has a lingering tanginess
‘Rosewood’, very strong and robust and sticks around for a long time and can nearly be overpowering at times
‘Susan Delafield’, very HOT, tolerates wet soils, endangered and hard to find
‘Ukrainian Mavniv’, good strong flavor
‘Wild Buff’, very strong and robust and sticks around for a long time and can nearly be overpowering at times
‘Yugoslavian Porcelain’, strong with good taste, 2-5 cloves/bulb
‘Zemo’, hot, strong and spicy robust flavor, grows well, stores 5 months
‘Asian Rose’ – A strong garlic, Harvests VERY early in season – stores about 5-6 months.
‘Asian Tempest’ – A strong garlic. Harvests VERY early in season – stores about 5-6 months.
‘Japanese’ – Early harvest, 4-8 cloves/bulb, stores 5 months, Hot
‘Korean Red’ – rich yet mellow. Harvests VERY early in season – stores about 5-6 months.
‘Pyong Vang’, Mid-harvest, 7-10 cloves/bulb, stores 6 months, hottest
‘Russian Redstreak’, A rare early season mild garlic delightfully mild and full flavored with only a little heat, productive, stores very well, presents a nice appearance with an excellent raw flavor.
‘Gregory’s China Rose’, Harvests early in season – stores around 6 months. – Excellent for growing in Warm Winter Areas. Rich earthy flavor.
 Genetic Diversity among U.S. Garlic Clones , Gayle M. York, Adam D. Henk, and Christopher M. Richards, J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 129(4): 559-569. 2004
Photo Credits: Many Thanks to Hood River Garlic Farm, http://www.hoodrivergarlic.com/
Garlic for planting should be pre-ordered now (or before late summer) to assure availability. By mid-to–late summer when I usually start to think of planting garlic, very few varieties are still available.