I've now pulled all the garlic - except the elephant garlic that was planted directly on the plot. If you remember my harvesting was initiated by the fact that this lot had become rusty. This meant that at best the garlic wasn't going to grow any more.
I'd planted 9 varieties of ordinary garlic and then a few cloves of elephant garlic and was interested to see how the varieties compared. I also had grown the garlic in three different ways. One lot was started off in pots in the cold greenhouse in mid October and transplanted onto the plot at the end of March. A second lot was planted at the same time but in large tubs. The tubs were left in the cold greenhouse until March when they were lifted outside. The third lot were planted the day after the others directly into the ground on the plot. I described this in more detail in this post.
The garlic started in the greenhouse began shooting in early November with the cloves planted on the plot being only a little behind. The varieties that grew away quickest were, Lautrec Wight, Edenrose, Germidour and Early Purple Wight.
The first bulbs pulled were Albigensian Wight which had produced decent sized bulbs but these hadn't formed cloves so I was a bit concerned that all the other garlic would follow this pattern.
There were varying numbers of cloves of each variety planted directly in the ground - I just planted whatever I had left after setting the cloves in pots and tubs with three cloves of each variety planted in each situation.
Surprisingly the cloves planted in pots and later transplanted perfomed the poorest. They were off to a good start but it seemed they resented the move - roots had hardly ventured out of the compost ball in which they were initially planted. All varieties produced small bulbs.
Both the tub and plot grown garlic performed much better with maybe the tub grown having the slight edge. The tub grown garlic had no sign of rust which is maybe due to it being in the garden where there was less chance of the rust spreading from other plots. Although the plot grown garlic grew fairly well it was very dry last winter and I'm not sure that it would have been equally happy had the ground become waterlogged as is often the case.
So far the variety that has performed best is the commonly grown Early Purple Wight - I suppose there had to be some reason for it being so popular. This variety was the best performer in all planting scenarios.
What's more the Early Purple Wight bulbs that I have checked have formed cloves - I haven't checked other varieties yet though.
Early Purple Wight is a hard neck variety and so isn't supposed to store well which is a pity seeing as it had produced the best harvest. The best softneck out of the varieties planted is Iberian Wight but to be honest that isn't very impressive and I don't yet know whether or not it has formed cloves.
As for taste - I must admit (shock, horror) - to my unrefined palate, one garlic tastes very much the same as another ... garlicky! So it looks as though Early Purple Wight has earned its place on the list for next year but I'm undecided about a soft neck variety.
I won't be starting garlic off in pots next year but will set some in tubs and some directly in the plot. The tubs will be kept in the greenhouse and later put out in the garden to avoid rust and the garlic on the plot will have to cope with whatever the weather sends. If we have a soggy winter to mimic our soggy summer I will be interested to see how it performs.
I've produced a summary of our garlic experimant results here and will add to it as I have more information.