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Garlic Gluttony: Killarney Red

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Garlic Killarney Red

Meet my first garlic bulb: Killarney Red, a rocambole type of garlic. One of its marketing points is that it survives wet soil better than most garlics. Chef Shop says its rare and rich and they charge a lot for it.

I ordered 3 kinds of garlic last fall from Burpee for my first foray into growing garlic: Elephant Garlic, shown here with Roma III tomatoes with baby ‘maters on them. The Romas will be caged today even though they are sold as not needing staking or caging.

Roma III tomatoes with elephant garlic

Italian Early, a softneck and milder for eating fresh and Killarney Red, rich garlic flavor for cooking and powder.

When I’m out of garlic I’m stopped in the kitchen and all bets are off. We live 5 miles from town so I wanted to have a stash of garlic. Ya, that’s right. Garlic gluttony.

Killarney Red is said to be hot and fiery, good for making garlic powder. I planted a row and it shares the bed with Italian Early, a softneck and more mild garlic.

Zephr Squash flowers, Garlic with Peas climbing in the background

Scapes grew this spring on the Elephant Garlic and the Killarney Red. The third type of garlic is Italian Early, a softneck which doesn’t produce a scape and is good for braiding. Scapes are beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat. Try them if you see them at the Farmers Market. And then pat yourself on the back and declare yourself one of the luckiest people around!

Filagree scapes

At that time I didn’t cut the scapes from the Killarney Red even though the elephant garlic scapes were soooo delicious and made me want more. I wish now I that I had.

The Burpee packaging said that the Killarney Red scapes would be double looped. I waited for that double loop. It didn’t come. I am finding out that there is lots of misinformation about garlic readily available. I’ll just have to learn on my own! I do think this Canadian grower has good information: Boundary Garlic Farm


One day last week after a stretch of dry hot weather the scapes were upright, not looped at all, so I cut all of these very mature scapes and have been peeling their stems much like very mature asparagus stem and cutting up small bits and frying the softest parts in every dish coming out of the Stitchery Kitchen. Oh, yum.

Bunch of Scapes

An upright scape usually signals that the garlic is mature and ready to harvest.

Then it rained and rained as the tornadoes moved eastward from their dirty work in Oklahoma. Our little trenches filled up and flowed.

Trench Still Necessary

I feared the worst: bulbs rotted in the ground.

This morning some of the Killarney Red garlic tops were all brown. Alarmed, I lifted one:


No wrapping skins on this one. This was not what I was expecting to see. I expected to see rotted bulbs from all the rain. I will let this one cure along with any more that I harvest today according to the advice given here by Garlic Farm I do trust a serious Canadian grower, don’t you?

Maybe they will become garlic powder one day this summer if they don’t face the frying pan first.

Out of the swamp and into the skillet. Oh, goody!


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

8 responses »

  1. A short course on garlic! I am such an urban girl (or at least a lazy one) that all I know is how to buy grocery store garlic, peel it with my silicone cannoli-shaped garlic peeler and feed it into my garlic press or mini Cuisinart. So….how do you make garlic powder?

    • Well, according to my research, Karla, you slice it, dehydrate it, and put it into a food processor to pulverize it. We’ll see how well that goes when I get round tuit, right?

  2. I love the idea of a company called Burpee selling garlic. And the scapes look lovely and sound delicious. They are the stems with flower heads? I didn’t know you could cook them. If I grow garlic again I’ll try it. Thanks for the tip. You look as if you are getting good results even despite the bad rain.

    • Trish, you are a treasure! Burpee selling garlic…hahahahahahaha. They are the stems with the flower heads and they cook up delicious. They can be grilled, sauteed, baked etc or eaten raw if they are young and tender enough.

  3. That sounds yummy. My sister makes her own garlic powder, but from store bought garlic. Can you grow it in any climate? I may have to try it this fall. I agree that when I’m out of garlic the kitchen stops.

  4. Becki, I don’t know any thing about growing garlic in your climate. Zone 8, 9? Since I’m flying by the seat of my pants, I’d hate to lead you astray. How about researching online, contacting companies that sell garlic bulbs, etc? It would be great to learn how a 7-8 month long garlic session goes in your neck of the woods.

    • I’m in zone 9.5 and, from what I’ve read, it isn’t easy to grow garlic here (or any bulbous thing.) There are some varieties that do better in warm weather, you plant around Thanksgiving and harvest early summer when they start to flower. I’ve not yet seen it in the garden centers here, nor in the farmer’s markets, so I’m guessing it isn’t a great crop in these parts.

      • I wonder if garlic chives in a container would work for you. They are perennials and don’t want full sun. You’d get some of the taste of garlic without the work!


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