More than likely the garlic you purchase from the supermarket is California Late white garlic. What is California Late garlic? It is the most commonly used garlic in the United States, as it is an excellent general use garlic that stores quite well. The following article contains information on growing California Late garlic plants.
What is California Late White Garlic?
California Late garlic is a silverskin or softneck type of garlic that is later maturing than California Early garlic with a hotter, classic garlic flavor. A prolific grower, California Late garlic tolerates hot spring temperatures and has an excellent shelf life of about 8-12 months.
It is harvested in the early summer and produces large bulbs with 12-16 nice sized cloves that are perfect for roasted garlic or any other use. Plus, California Late garlic plants make beautiful garlic braids.
Growing California Late White Garlic
This heirloom garlic can be grown in USDA zones 3-9. Like all garlic varieties, patience is a virtue, as the bulbs take some time to develop – about 150-250 days from planting in the case of California Late garlic plants. This garlic can be sown from October through January where temperatures are mild in an area with at least 6 hours per day of sun and soil temps of at least 45 F. (7 C.).
For the largest bulbs, plant the cloves in fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. Break the bulbs into individual cloves and direct sow in rows that are 18 inches (46 cm.) apart, with plants spaced 4-6 inches (10-15 cm.) and about an inch (2.5 cm.) deep into the soil.
Keep the beds moderately moist and fertilize in the spring with an organic fertilizer. Once the tops begin to brown, quit watering the plants for a couple of weeks. When the entire tops have dried and browned, gently lift the garlic bulbs from the soil.