This is my garlic harvest for this year. A year ago about this time I was thinking I really needed to grow some of my own but when I went onto the High Mowing Seed website with the intention of ordering some and they were sold out. Bummer I thought – then figured I’d order it for this year. Garlic is planted in the fall, like tulips and daffodils, it needs that fall and winter time to set out its roots. It then blossoms in June or so and is ready to harvest in July (at least here it is). The seed companies send out their garlic for planting the first week in October.
I moved on completely forgetting about the garlic. A couple of weeks later I received a package in the mail – a pound of garlic for planting from High Mowing. I had forgotten that I had ordered it with my spring seeds back in February. It felt like pennies from heaven because I’d paid for it back in February as well.
The garlic I had ordered is called Music. It’s a hardneck variety which I know seems to do pretty well around here. I dug a nice bed for them in a sunny, well-drained sight and placed each clove about 3 to 4 inches deep, covered it and walked away. When spring arrived it was the first plant out of the ground. In June the blossoms, called scapes, emerge. I pick all of them off – doing this puts the plants energy in forming bulbs. The scapes are delicious – I chop them and cook them in eggs for breakfast but they are great in all kinds of things. Two harvests from one plant.
Towards the middle of July the stalks of the garlic begin to turn brown from the ground up. I’ve heard that timing is everything with garlic. You don’t want to dig it up too soon- you want those bulbs as big as you can get them. If you wait too long the bulb will no longer be tight, the cloves will have splayed out – ready to continue growing for another year. I had to guess. I waited until the plants were brown half of the way up the stalk and then I dug one out to see. It was a thing of beauty. I dug the rest.
Curing the garlic takes another 3 to 4 weeks. The skins dry to that thin paper we are all familiar with. I just laid the whole plant on paper in the house and waited (of course a couple of bulbs were sampled along the way). This weekend I cleaned and trimmed the crop. What you see in the photo is what I grew. This was a pound of garlic cloves. The cloves are very large on this garlic so it doesn’t take many to get to a pound. For every clove you plant you get a bulb.
This garlic is so good I vowed to plant 3 times as much next year – the problem? It would probably cost over $60 for the seed.
Bill and I gazed at these beautiful bulbs and decided that I would use most of what I grew this year as seed for next year. It made me a little sad to think about not eating most of what was in the basket but I could quadruple the number of bulbs next year just by planting what was in front of me. It was sort of a no brainer, but all I want to do right now is eat garlic mashed potatoes from the garden.