Killarney Red Garlic - (Allium sativum)
- Hardneck Rocambole
- Heirloom, Non-Hybrid, Non-GMO
- Grows Best In:
- Cold to cool winters, needs vernalization
Killarney Red Garlic - Classic Garlic Flavor
This strain of garlic reads like a mystery novel, but the production and flavor satisfy with no surprises.
Often named as one of their perennial favorites, home gardeners and market growers alike have quickly discovered this well-rounded and memorable garlic. Initially offered over 20 years ago at a farmer's market in northern Idaho, this strain always sells out quickly and is one of the top wish-listed garlic, year after year.
It usually has 6 to 10 easy-to-peel cloves that are a good size, often larger than expected, with no small inner cloves. Bulbs are usually over 2 1/2" in diameter with good heft.
Killarney Red is famous for growing and producing well in cool, damp soils while having noticeably more resistance to the usual diseases and pests that plague cool, damp climates. It is easily recognized by its soft pink wrapper streaked with purple covering large cloves underneath.
What makes our strain unique is that our grower Travis lives in northern Georgia - seemingly a less than ideal location from growing hardneck garlic, especially one that shines in cooler climates.
He has been growing garlic for about four years, choosing which garlic variety to grow based on flavor, ignoring that they supposedly didn't grow in his region.
His soil is heavily amended to provide the needed nutrients to the bulbs and holds moisture well to support growth going during the heat of summer. He vernalizes his bulbs in the refrigerator for 5-7 weeks before planting and sows late in the fall when the soil has cooled. He only keeps the biggest and best heads for seed garlic stock, resulting in some amazingly large and dense heads of garlic. The flavor is outstanding as well.
Killarney Red originated, appropriately enough, on Killarney Farm in northern Idaho. Nestled in the hills above Killarney Lake and the Coeur d'Alene River valley, where it was named when a couple of exceptional growers started selling exceptionally large heads of garlic with loose skins that were easy to peel and memorably tasty.
It looks similar to German Red or Spanish Roja and is thought to be an offshoot of one of those older strains, but distinguishes itself with better growth and larger harvests.
Killarney Red is in the Rocambole family, known for exceptional garlic flavor without the harsh overtones or aftertaste that some longer storing varieties have. The flavor of rocambole garlic is often described as "ambrosial" for the richness, depth, and overall pleasing notes it brings. Prized by many famous chefs and discerning home cooks for their fine flavor and large bulb with easy-to-peel cloves. In spring, each plant sends up a beautiful edible garlic scape with single and double curls.
Killarney Red is widely considered one of the consistently best-tasting rocamboles.
This is the classic rich, sweet, spicy garlic flavor that many remember - excellent when roasted, sauteed, pickled, or slow-cooked into bold-flavored soups or stews.
What is Hardneck Garlic?
Garlic is divided into two main types - hardneck and softneck - based on whether or not each variety develops flower stalks, the hardiness, clove formation pattern, and flavor.
The "neck" in the name refers to the long flowering stem - called a scape - that grows upward from the bulb, only found in hardnecks. Also called garlic spears, stems, or shoots, they are cut while they are still young and tender and used as a vegetable and a seasoning due to their fresh, delicate garlic flavor. Slowly but surely scapes are gaining in popularity. Cutting the scapes also helps the bulb grow larger, better-developed cloves.
The garlic found in supermarkets or grocery stores is usually softneck - Artichoke is the variety for sale as bulbs and Silverskin is braided.
Hardneck garlic has a more complex flavor profile, being richer, spicier, and generally more 'garlicky' with subtle flavors reflecting where it was grown. The strength and character of the flavors vary, from mild purple stripes to musky porcelains to hot and spicy rocamboles.
Purple stripe and rocambole types are the hardiest, best for gardeners who live in the northern U.S. Gardeners living in mild climates should have good luck with porcelain varieties, especially if they vernalize, or pre-chill their garlic for 4-6 weeks before planting.
Minimize your spring weeding by planting a cover crop of cereal oats in the fall - about a week after planting the garlic - and letting the oats mature until the first frost kills them, creating a thick layer of beneficial mulch. The oat residue crowds out early spring weeds while adding needed nutrients for the maturing garlic.
Because of their short roots, garlic can't compete very well with weeds, so you must either pull the weeds or prevent them from growing in the first place. Oats give the additional benefit of providing additional nutrients to the garlic right as they resume growing after the winter, making for bigger and tastier bulbs.
Our article - Grow Great Hardneck Garlic at Home - walks you through the details of how to grow the best and most delicious garlic you've ever had!
About Our Garlic
The best garlic you've ever tasted is grown in your own home garden, no matter if you live in the coldest reaches of Minnesota, Michigan, or Montana; or the heat of southern Florida, south Texas, or Arizona.
Our grower for this strain - Travis in Georgia - is a small-scale grower that takes the time to nurture his crops for the best flavor and quality, both for himself and for the local market.
This garlic is direct from the grower, not from a warehouse or broker who treats them as just another commodity crop!
The common myth is that hardneck garlic just won't grow in warmer climates, but Travis proves that you can! If you've had challenges growing good garlic in a warmer climate, give any of our varieties a try - just make sure to vernalize, or chill, them in your refrigerator for at least 5 weeks before planting.
U.S. shipping only, Cannot ship to certain counties in Washington or Idaho
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