If you are a garlic lover but hate the thought of spending half of your cooking time peeling all those tiny cloves, then music garlic is the type for you. With just 4-6 large cloves per bulb that are easy to peel, Music garlic is nothing short of a cook’s best friend.
Each garlic variety brings its own subtle taste and flavor to your dishes. Music cultivars offer a garlic flavor that ranges from spicy and hot when raw to sweet and savory when cooked, making it a favorite amongst garlic lovers. A staple in a chef’s kitchen, music is the perfect addition to sauces, soups, dips, pesto, marinades, stir-fries, rubs, and other recipes.
About Music Garlic
Also known as Allium Sativum Ophioscorodon, Music is a hard neck garlic variety. This large, well-formed Italian porcelain garlic variety was introduced to Canada by Al Music in the 1980s from his homeland of Italy. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Music garlic for elephant garlic. Music garlic variety typically yields six jumbo cloves per bulb wrapped in a slightly pink outer skin with pure white wrappers over the bulb. The bulbs boast a rich, medium-hot, true-garlic flavor that tends to mellow out to almost sweet when cooked and have a long storage life. As a result, this allium does well in hardiness zones 2 to 10.
Over the years, this garlic variety has grown in popularity mostly due to its robust taste, vigorous growth, and easy-to-peel cloves. Its garlic bulbs are beautifully covered in white wrappers that sit over plump rose-colored cloves. Gardeners love this type of allium for its cold hardiness and ability to survive cold winter months when properly mulched. Its germination rate is excellent, yielding vigorous, tall, dark, and vibrant green plants. Overall, music is a reliable hard neck variety to grow.
Unlike soft neck varieties, hard necks produce a flower-like stalk called a scape. Scapes should be removed to boost proper bulb formation. The best part is that these scapes are quite delicious and can be used like scallions.
When To Grow Garlic
As a hard neck garlic variety, music enjoys cooler temperatures when growing. Typically, fall planting – between late September and November, before the first frost of winter is recommended. This is mainly because garlic roots develop during the fall and winter, before the ground freezes. By early spring, they should start producing foliage for a summer harvest.
You can also plant garlic in the spring, especially if you have a long growing season. Note, however, that the cloves won’t be as large. It can be planted in late winter or early spring. In a warm climate zone where the soil does not freeze, plant late fall or early winter.
Fall Planting Requirements
Easy to grow, each planted clove will produce a full head of garlic in the following conditions:
- Soil: Music garlic prefers sandy, loamy, well-drained soil with a pH level between 6-8. Take time to weed out your planting beds before planting your cloves.
- Light: This garlic does well in full sun or partial shade. Plant garlic in an area that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
- Climate: This garlic variety is quite cold-hardy and can survive deep winter freezes when properly mulched. Garlic plants do not require too much moisture as it causes mold and mildew.
How To Plant Garlic
Music garlic thrives in rich, loose, well-draining soil. If your soil is dense and compact, loosen it to about a foot deep. Work in several inches of organic compost along with a dusting of a mild fertilizer. We usually recommend adding a combination of alfalfa meal, bone meal, neem seed meals, and kelp meal to the beds.
Plant Your Cloves
Once the planting bed is ready and free of weeds, start separating the bulbs. Choose the largest cloves from bulbs and leave the outer paper on. Plant the cloves 1-2″ deep in the soil with the pointy end facing up. Maintain a space of 1-3″ between plants and 5-9″ between rows. Lightly shovel soil over the cloves. If you live in a colder climate, cover the cloves with about 2 inches of soil. But if you live in warmer areas, an inch of soil is fine. Pat the soil gently to firm it on top of the garlic cloves and water thoroughly.
Mulch Your Garlic
Music garlic planted in cold northern climates should be overwintered. Heavily mulch the topsoil with several inches of loose mulch like leaves, straw, or even additional layers of compost. If you are growing your garlic in a location with mild and sometimes rainy winters, consider skipping the deep mulch to prevent your bulbs from rotting.
Garlic Plant Care
When it comes to watering, it is best to water your garlic plants deeply but infrequently. Allow the soil surface and top inch to dry out between waterings. If it is raining, snowing, or dam during the winter, do not apply additional water to your plants. During the winter period, maintain low moisture conditions to keep the soil cool.
Music garlic is a moderate to high feeder. It is a particular fan of nitrogen. Apply nitrogen-based compost to your soil before planting and again two to three weeks after your plants have emerged. Fertilizing is not necessary once plants have become established.
In the late spring, snip the scapes from the head of the garlic plant to channel the energy to the bulb formation. This plant grows up to four feet tall and yields thick garlic bulbs that contain jumbo cloves that come with dense flavors.
Music Garlic Pests And Diseases
Although garlic is relatively easy to grow and has low maintenance, it is also prone to several pests and diseases. The most common diseases include basal rot, blue mold, botrytis, ink root rot, downy mildew, and rust. Most of these diseases are soil-borne, so proper site assessment and yearly rotation are crucial in maintaining a healthy garlic garden.
Garlic is generally harvested in early to mid-summer. You will know when your garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow or dry out. Please do not leave your bulbs below the ground for too long, as they may start to separate and rot.
Once the leaves begin to yellow, and you think it is close to harvest time, stop watering. This will make the harvest and cleaning easier and aid in proper drying and storing.
Harvest your garlic bulbs when 3/4 of the leaves begin to turn yellow, brown, or dry out. Extract your bulbs by loosening the ground around the bulbs with a shovel or spade to unearth them. Take care not to shovel too close to the plant: you might puncture, bruise or otherwise damage your bulbs. Allow them to dry in the sun for a few hours.
How To Cure Your Bulbs For Great Garlic Flavor
Proper curing is crucial for your garlic bulbs to hold up well in long-term storage. To cure your bulbs, spread them out in a well-ventilated location away from direct sun. Allow the garlic to cure for 3-4 weeks until the tops are thoroughly dry. Do not wash the garlic during this period. Instead, let them dry out and brush off the soil as needed. Keep both the leaves and roots intact during this period. The bulbs are still drawing important energy and nutrients from them. Once properly dry, you can trim the small roots at the bottom of the garlic. With proper curing, music organic garlic can store for months without losing its strong aromatic flavor.
Once your garlic is cured and dried, store your garlic bulbs by hanging or laying them out in a dry location with good air circulation. Garlic may be frozen, made into vinegar, garlic powder, or garlic salt. Under the proper storage conditions, music garlic can store for nine to twelve months.