Monday, July 18, 2011

Garlic harvest

It's time to harvest our garlic!  Well, actually, we should have been harvesting our garlic anytime in the past 2 weeks, ......... but what I harvested today is looking pretty good!
The garlic that I harvested from one of our garlic patches.
I've been telling Shawn for the past few weeks that we need to get our garlic harvested.  If you remember one of my earlier blog posts last November, we planted our first garlic this past fall.  Garlic needs a longer growing season than most plants, so you need to plant it in October or November. 
Several years ago, a local man who raised lots of garlic (I believe he planted around 1500 garlic cloves each year!) did a program for our herb group in Greenfield and he said that he always harvested his garlic on the weekend closest to the 4th of July.  So we should have been harvesting a couple of weeks ago.  However, I also did some reading and chatting with other folks and got the opinion that the 4th of July might be a little early to harvest.
You want some of the leaves to be dying off and browning......but you want the protective papers that surround the bulb to still be intact.  Leave it in the ground too long and the paper wrappers will start to deteriorate.  Harvest your garlic too early and it won't dry and store as well.  So it's all trial and error for us at this point.
We planted 6 varieties of garlic -- 2 of them were softnecks and 4 of them were hardnecks.  Today I harvested Silver Rose - which is a softneck variety.  I was very pleased with the harvest!  The first few bulbs I unearthed were rather puny and disappointing.  But soon I was digging up more substantial-sized bulbs and some of them were plump and full!
I will put them in the barn to cure for a couple of weeks.  I'll trim off the tops and rub the dirt off of their skins.  Maybe I'll trim the roots shorter once they are completely dry.  I might even try my hand and doing a garlic braid (which you can do with the softnecks, but not the hardnecks).  And once they are cured, I think I'll store them in the basement and I'll save back a few of the nicest bulbs as my 'seed' for next year.
Tomorrow I'll try to get another variety of garlic harvested.
I laid them loosely in my garden cart to put them in the barn.  I hope that tomorrow we come up with an idea of what to put them on in the barn so they can spread out and dry.  I ended up with 67 bulbs from this patch.
I'll update you later on the rest of the harvest!

1 comment:

  1. What do we do with all of the seeds from the tops?