Monday, July 30, 2012

The Garlic Harvest

Half of our garlic looked like it should have been harvested weeks ago, but we finally got around to it last weekend, when it all looked ready.  You're supposed to harvest when the two bottom leaves start to look brown.  These were screaming to be pulled out of the ground.
Side note: When we harvested the garlic scapes, it looks like we missed one.  They're supposed to keep the bulbs from growing bigger, and this one (on the left, if it's not obvious) was in fact small compared to the best looking bulbs.  But there were a few other small ones, too, so it might have been doomed from the start for other undetermined reasons.
We planted three varietes last fall- German Extra Hardy, Persian Star, and Russian Red, but I can't tell which is which now.  Maybe next time we'll label them.

I read somewhere that someone (I can't find what I read now, of course) harvested garlic a few weeks ago and had the biggest bulbs ever after fertilizing them when they sprouted for the first time this year.  Some people say it's not necessary, but I think it'll be worth trying next year. 

The Vegetable Gardner's Bible says to remove the outer two leaves and cure the garlic in full sun for two to three weeks, but most other instructions say bright shade, where there's plenty of air circulation.  We've got ours on a pallet on a wheelbarrow so we can move it around, and we roll it into the shed when it's going to rain. 
A few weeks like this and then we'll trim them and store them in the basement (the coolest place we've got) in a mesh bag.  The hope is that, if properly cured, they will last for many months. Once they sprout, they start to loose their eating quality. 

Of course, we don't have to wait for the garlic to cure to enjoy it.  I've been using the smaller bulbs since we ran out of store-bought garlic last week.  Last night, we had shrimp scampi with fresh garlic and parsley from the garden.

1 comment:

Tortla Dot said...

Now I understand why they make garlic braids and wreaths - to keep the bulbs fresh!

Cool and yummy!