Lorz Italian Softneck Garlic
Sow in fall to harvest the following July
Rare and now renowned, Lorz Italian garlic is recognized by Slow Food in its Arc of Taste. Originally brought to the Washington State from Sicily in 1850 by the Lorz family, softnecks are not known for their cold-hardiness — the local “lore” of softneck types like Lorz was dismissive: “not worth growing softnecks up here‘” — yet our friends have grown Lorz in central Maine, Zone 4, for 15 years. You’ll find 7 to 9 cloves with rich, buttery heat, in the outer ring of Lorz with numerous ‘shard’ cloves tightly packed at the center of the head, similar to all ‘artichoke’ softneck garlic types. Hardy in winter as well as summer, Lorz seems to thrive in hot and dry summer conditions that can set back many hardneck types. For optimal winter survival and impressive bulb harvest, plant the large outer cloves and savor the inner ‘shard’ cloves. Unfazed by the Corinna Maine winter cold, our friend leaves Lorz unmulched; experience showed softnecks struggle to push through a frozen Maine Spring’s mat of straw.
Lorz is an ‘artichoke’ type. Softnecks do not produce scapes and are among the most productive garlics to grow. They readily develop very large bulbs (average 4-5 bulbs per lb) in a wide range of growing conditions and soils, maturing before many other types. Their bulb wrappers are generally thick and coarse compared to other varieties and are generally white or white-purple.
Artichoke cultivars have multiple clove layers (though not as many as Silverskins), the inner cloves generally being smaller than the outer cloves. Artichoke cultivars are typically mild with modest flavor complexity and lack the assertive heat of most garlics. As a group they are less adapted to cold, harsh winters but often adapt well after several seasons (which ours are). Also as a group they store exceptionally long (often a year or more), only exceeded in storage by the Silverskins. Also, garlic is one of the hungriest crops in your garden! We feed our soil as well as our garlic with our Organic Garlic & Shallot Fertilizer as well as our Fish & Kelp Emulsion.
And have you heard? Fruition’s Organic Garlic & Shallot Academy shares a lifetime of lessons distilled into step-by-step tutorials, season by season, to amplify your garlic & shallot abundance for years to come. Friends, we decided to make this $98 course free because our individual & collective abundance as well as our ability to give generously is more critical than ever…
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Note: Lorz is not certified organic, but is grown using organic methods
~ Garlic will be available Summer 2023 ~
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How to Grow Organic Garlic: Just a Taste!
Choose well-drained soil that has plenty of sun and plenty of compost worked in.
Here in Zone 5 we plant between late September to early November. Plant individual cloves 2-3 inches deep and 6 inches apart in a row. Rows should be 6-10 inches apart depending on bed spacing and cultivation tools. If you have mulch available it will aid in reducing frost-heaving. Keep garlic well-watered and well-weeded! Feel free to harvest the delicious, spiraling scape that will appear in early/mid-June on the hardneck varieties. Harvest your bulbs beginning the first or second week of July up until mid-August with a fork or shovel once a third of the leaves are brown and dry. Cure garlic (leaves and all) out of the direct sunlight for two weeks with plenty of good air flow, clipping the necks and roots to store long-term in a dark, dry place. Softnecks: when harvesting we like to cut the stem of the plant as close to the garlic bulb to encourage uniform drying.
We have recently begun to use a small handful of worm castings on top of each clove when we seed in the fall. The health and size of the garlic plants has dramatically improved- give it a try! Late planting? As long as you can get into the garden and the ground is not frozen the garlic will do just fine. We have planted digging through the snow when we got behind and had no other choice. You might not like being out there then, but the garlic does not seem to mind.
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