Enjoying fresh gourmet garlic year round can be a challenge but with a little planning you can grow selected varieties that will keep you in fresh garlic through the winter and into the next spring.
Most garlics mature and are ready to harvest in mid-summer, with an average shelf life of 6-7 months meaning that they’ll store and still be good to use through January or February.
That’s our starting point for most garlic varieties such as Creoles, Artichokes, Porcelains, and Purple Stripes. Depending on your climate, those will typically give you fresh garlic from June to February.
That doesn’t quite keep you in garlic throughout the year, however, as you’ll have a gap in spring when stored garlic is no longer good and fresh garlic isn’t yet ready to harvest.
The good news is that there are several garlics that typically mature very early in spring — giving you fresh garlic at the earliest point each season — as well as garlics that are store very well and mature later in the growing season.
Your best bet for an early-harvesting garlic will be Turban garlics that include varieties such as Red Janice and Tzan. Turbans are almost always the first garlics to be ready to harvest, and their relatively short storage life won’t limit you as long as you’re also growing a varied mix of other types.
On the other end of the spectrum, Silverskins such as Nootka Rose and Rose du Var are usually ready for harvest in mid to late summer and are some of the longest storing garlic, often staying fresh for ten months or longer.
Adding in Turban and Silverskin varieties alongside a mix of other varieties will be your best bet to enjo garlic year round, as your Silverskins should store the longest and still be good until the early spring, when Turbans are ready and providing you with fresh garlic for yet another year!
Below you’ll find a visual guide (click for larger version) that shows in green what months most garlic will be fresh and available in for an average climate. Keep in mind that more extreme climates (either hot or cold) can vary significantly from this.