Hardneck garlic is a term used to categorize a type of garlic.
The hardneck referred to is the stalk, which is tall — up to 4 feet (1.2 metres) — and woody. The stalk extends below ground and the cloves grow around it. In the wild, all garlic is hardneck.
Hardneck garlic generally has fewer but larger cloves than garlics in the other major grouping, softnecks, and its cloves are easier to peel in general. The bulb wrapping also has fewer skins, which means a shorter storage life. The bulbs tend to be wider than those of softneck garlic.
Instead of seeds, the flowers of hardneck varities produce “bulbils.” You plant the bulbils in the fall. In the first year of growth, they produce small bulbs. By the second year, they produce regular size bulbs. The bulbs are ready to harvest when the lower leaves above ground have turned yellow. They in fact should be harvested at that point, or the garlic underground will start to decay.
Hardneck garlic is best grown in northern climates as a rule, because they prefer cold winters and cool springs.
Three are three sub-varieties of hardneck garlic: Porcelain, Purple Stripe, and Rocambole.
Most supermarket garlic is softneck.
Very young stalks can be used in cooking.
One of its synonyms is “ophis garlic.” “Ophis” means snake in Greek. The plants produce a “scape”, as most garlics do, and this group of garlic produces a scape that curls.