There are two types of garlic. There is hard neck and soft neck. You catalogs will tell you the type. If it is not there, call the catalog company.

Hardneck garlic has a little curly thing that grows out of the top. It is a flower stem. On the top, is a little white packet. It looks like a little bulb. The thing that grows out of that stem is called a bulbil. Actually, it's a little packet of bulbils.

If you open it up, you will find maybe twenty to thirty bulbils. They are about the size of peas. On a hard neck garlic, you will get these. That's the difference between a hardneck and a softneck garlic. A softneck garlic will not have these bulbils or flowers on top.

This stem that comes up in a hardneck garlic is a flower stem and flower stalk. It is very tough and fibrous, woody almost inside. So if you want garlic that you can braid together when they dry out, you will want to use softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic has bigger cloves. I like those big cloves that practically fall out of their skins for you.

You might ask what in the world am I going to do with those little bulbils? First of all, you'll want to cut most of them off, just as they are coming out of the top of the plant. If you leave them on, you will have way to many of these. They will make your garlic bulb a little bit smaller. You don't want the garlic plant to put energy into something that you won't use. But I do leave a few on because every one of these will grow into a little plant.

I've had chefs ask me, "Do you have any Spring Garlic?" And I didn't know what it was. And then one year I found out what it was by accident. One year I cut these off and tossed them on the ground. The next year there were all these shoots coming up where the garlic was the year before. I dug one of these up because I didn't know what it was. It looked like a little green onion with flat leaves. (Garlic does look different than onions. Onions have tubular leaves. Garlic has flat leaves.) Anyway, I dug one of these up with a shovel and I thought, mmm, these smell like garlic. I wonder if this is spring garlic.

Sure enough. This is how you get Spring Garlic. When your garlic has produced these little bulbils, let a few of them grow and mature. Then save maybe a handful or two. In March, you plant some of these little bulbils and let them grow. You will end up with Spring Garlic.

Spring Garlic looks like a little onion plant. It is ready to use when it is about eight inches tall and has a little garlic flavored bulb on the end. And it has a green top. You can chop the whole thing up and use it. It is so delicious.

So, if you grow a hardneck variety of garlic, I never have to buy garlic, year around.