By Laura Mills – AP buyer at our Cedar Hills Garden Center
Fall is a time of change and with change, comes choice. Pumpkin spice latte or warm apple cider? Riding boots or rubber boots? Barack or Mitt? There is one choice this fall that takes little deliberation; planting garlic, onions and shallots.
If these tasty cloves and bulbs had a campaign platform, it would be flavor without toil. Simply plant them in well-drained soil with lots of compost and some Dr. Earth Bulb Fertilizer in full sun. Plant them pointy-end up (remember bulbs point towards the sky). The very reason that we elect to put them in our meals, their strong flavor and smell, is the same reason that they are virtually pest-free. And though they don’t promise rapid production, planting in fall means harvesting in summer, they live up to their pledge of delicious flavor.
Onions and shallots vary mainly in their color and potency of flavor. There are two major parties of Garlic: softneck and hardneck. If braided garlic that has an excellent storage life is your objective, than choose softneck garlic like Italian Late or Inchelium Red. However, if potent spice, with a fair storage life is your ambition than choose a hardneck garlic like German Red.
Aside from adding some additional fertilizer as new growth appears in spring and watering regularly during the summer, these candidates require little else. For more potent flavor for any variety of onion, garlic or shallot, cut-back on watering as harvest time nears, this concentrates their flavor. It is time to harvest when the foliage starts to brown and dieback in summer. After harvesting, clean off as much soil as possible, without using water (as it can cause rot) and store in a cool, dry place for a minimum of 2-3 weeks in order to cure it.
When it comes to garlic, onions and shallots the decision is easy, flavor without toil. So this fall be sure cast a ballot for flavor by planting garlic, onion, and shallot.