Martin's Heirloom Garlic-What's the history?

I did a search on this here, but didn't find anything about the history of it.

I'm new here and will be trying it, so I'm curious about the story behind it.



Comments (8)

  • paquebot
    15 years ago

    Sue, it's been covered a number of times since the Allium Forum was created. But since it's still something with just a very small grower base, perhaps it's time to cover it again.

    I first bought it in 1982 or 1983 from Jung's Seed Co. It was the first and last time that I saw it. It was simply listed as "Topset Garlic", or something similar, and sold only as bulbils. Upon getting them home and reading the planting instructions, they were to be planted 4 to 5 inches deep. Whoops, that can't be right! I contacted Jung's to point out the error and it was due to failure to convert metric to English. It was supposed to be 4cm to 5cm! Therefore, anyone who bought a packet, and planted according to instructions, got nothing in return.

    Now forward 20+ years and I've been growing it ever since. Thus far, nobody can find out what it originally was named or if it were merely a local landrace from somewhere. Information on where Jung's obtained it went up in smoke several years ago. Thus it's sort of a mystery as well.

    It's a hardneck variety, possibly a German porcelain type, and with rather large bulbils. An old Bavarian friend told me that they used to use those large bulbils in cooking and making stock. Those bulbils will produce normal divided bulbs in a single season, and that's how we planted them for many years. Some years, we got a lot of small bulbs and other years had larger ones and always from bulbils. In recent years, we began planting back cloves instead and got really big bulbs. (Go back and read other threads about growing and harvest results for it.)

    Overall, it's unlike any other garlic that I've grown. It may be close to Schumacher which is another old heirloom from around this area. Both have similar growth habits except that Schumacher has more red on the clove skins. I've yet to see if Schumacher will do when grown from bulbils but they are about the same size.

    I've completed planting the Martin's today and have at least 50 cloves and 100 bulbils left yet. In my Exchanges offer, I failed to mention that the 10 cloves come with 20 bulbils. Anyone who has received it now are being trusted to do a mass grow out of at least 30 specimens. 30 plants, allowed to produce bulbils, can be enough to support a major business in a few years!


  • Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks Martin for all the info.
    I see threads are hanging on about 6 months, so maybe I'll bump it up several months from now.

    Do you or anyone know, when a search is done, (and it is working)do the results include all of the existing threads on the forum.

    I'm amazed at how much and how often the search yields 'nothing' found.


  • decolady01
    13 years ago

    Martin sent me some of his garlic in November 2006. I planted it and hoped for the best. We are pretty far south for hardnecks and this was my first experience with them. During the spring the garlic was growing wonderfully and made great scapes in early summer. I was happy with those as it was my first time to ever have them. Then the southeast got into this horrible drought from which we are still suffering. The garlic continued to grow and I harvested it in early August. The heads were not as large as others have reported, but I was delighted they survived and grew. Really, it was better than I expected given the days and days of 100+ temps with no rain and me out of town for 3 weeks.

    Martin tells me I am the furthest south he has sent any of his garlic. I have now planted two 10' rows from some of those bulbs and am hopeful the next crop will be even better. I keep remembering what my grandfather told me. "Just keep planting." :-)


  • mindsmile
    13 years ago

    Martins(MOH/Martins Old Heirloom)was sent down to Georgia z7/8 back in late 04 or early 05 if I remember correctly.Cant remember offhand who I sent them to.Twas part of the deal with Martin to spread them around some.I may have sent a few cloves over to California along with Catawissas also.

  • aka_peggy
    13 years ago

    I recently googled an image search on carpathian garlic. Martin sent me 7 cloves of this garlic last year. I ate one and planted the rest.

    Anyway, I got a nice surprise when I found Martin himself showing off Martin's garlic. Scroll down a bit. I'm growing Martin's too and really like it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Martin

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Another one from way back!

    I didn't have success with the 1/4 lb. of Martin's I bought from Filaree farms several years ago. It produced small bulbs the first year and the second year most of the bulbs suffered from rot during a wet spring. I gave up on it after that. Might have been the climate differences between my location and Washington state where Filaree is located.

    I'm down to 3 varieties now after growing 11 types at one time.

    I saw Martin (paquebot) post over on Tomato Junction not too long ago. He had some serious health setbacks I believe.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    6 days ago

    "Martin's" may be more Northern adapted. Mine was lost several years ago, when my entire collection died due to the late, unexpected loss of the planting site. I have since replaced 12 varieties via the Seed Savers Exchange, but Martin has stopped offering, and no other members currently carry it. I still want to replace it, and there are a few commercial companies selling it (including Filaree). This one is closer to me, and will probably be my source.

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