hardneck vs softneck
Well we all know that hardnecks are the variety to grow up north but you can also grow softnecks, so I have heard. So I planted both types last October. Here's an observation about the plants.
There is a VAST difference in the two types of plants! I planted 3-5 different varieties of hardneck that were bought from a local organic farmer. I planted a softneck of unknown variety from the grocery store and I used very large cloves rivaling all the hardneck cloves in size. My point is the softneck cloves were big not puny cloves. All were planted around 10/10, 4" deep, 6" on center and I have a detailed map for identifying the hardnecks at harvest. The bed was amended with blood meal, bone meal and compost, mulched with 6-7" of shredded leaves (when the ground froze about 12/5) and the mulch was reduced to 1" of leaves in late March. Neither variety has received any more or less treatment.
The hardneck plants are easily 2 feet tall perhaps even 30 inches tall. The leaves are bright green, broad and very healthy looking.
The softnecks are about 12-14 inches tall. The leaves are greenish yellowish, narrower and somewhat twisted or curled. The softnecks do not look healthy.
Most all the softneck cloves sprouted and grew in the fall being about 4-5" tall before the ground froze very late around December 5th while only a few of the hardnecks grew. I was really worried that the lack of sprouting by the hardnecks was a sign they were not going to grow come spring but that obviously is not the case. The ratio of hardneck to softneck cloves planted was 10:1 and I'd say 100% of the hardnecks grew while 85-90% of the softnecks grew.
Obviously I have no idea how either will yield come July but based upon the looks of the plants I'd say growing softnecks is a waste of time. Perhaps if I grew these softnecks for a few years they'd acclimate and I think they'd change to a hardneck if I remember correctly. If that is correct why not just grow a hardneck initially? I wanted to see how the softnecks would do and store but right now they look pathetic!