Here are three types of hardneck bulbils. We will select the biggest for fall planting. The top two are different strains of porcelains while the popular purple stripes are shown at the bottom. We plant them in the fall in green houses that affords some protection from the worst of winter’s weather and gives the plants time to grow into a 3 or 4 clove bulbs by the following summer.
These are purples planted last November and harvested late this June. Notice the larger ones show segmentation into small cloves. We will break these apart and replant this fall. Next summer the hundreds of bulbs produced will be our finest seed garlic. In the fall of 2016 we will plant that generation of cloves and in the summer of 2017 we will harvest giant purples. It takes a minimum of three plantings to get these plants up to maximum size. That is why it has taken us several years to get our commercial crop up and running. We are set to greatly increase our market crop next year with thousands of replacement plants waiting in the wings.
We only sell our largest bulbs for table garlic. The seed garlic is 1-2 years younger and is far superior. We never use our giant bulbs as seed garlic. They simply lack the vigour of the younger generations. I’ve spoken to many gardeners who are puzzled by their garlic crop that only seems to get smaller every year. The reason is the loss of vigour from repeatedly replanting cloves from the same line of plants. To regain size, growers must start with younger bulbs. Our goal is to eventually have substantial amounts of 2nd or 3rd year bulbs available for sale to the general public.
We believe this method of producing seed garlic is far superior to all others. We also feel that our Zone 8 (temperate maritime) horticultural bio-region is unique and we look to sell our Zone 8 seed to Zone 8 growers. Buying seed garlic from B.C.’s interior or Southern Ontario is less satisfactory for the plants, and this negatively affect yields.
To give you some idea of sizes, here is one of the purple small bulbs in front of two jumbo table garlics. The two bigger bulbs are close to 3 inches across. The small is barely an inch.