Thursday, July 12, 2012

Garlic Harvesting

Day 163
The Daily DuBrule

The garlic harvest is in! I love this crop, it is completely backwards from anything else I grow. I plant cloves of certified organic hardneck garlic in November. The sprouts appear in very early spring and provide me with delicious garlic scapes in late May and June. In mid-July, the tops of the plants start to turn yellow. It is so exciting to pull the garlic and find gorgeous, perfectly formed heads. 

In honor of the first garlic of the season, I came home last night and made a simple sauce. As I peeled the garlic, the pungent oil was released. I cooked it in some olive oil before adding the chopped tomatoes and the entire house smelled wonderful. Even though I washed my hands, I could smell the garlic oil all evening,

Garlic is actually a perennial in my yard. Often I miss a few heads when harvesting. They pop up all throughout my raised beds from previous years. If you leave garlic in the garden, the following year you get six or eight strong shoots of green foliage, each topped with a scape. When you finally get around to digging it up it yields an entire cluster of smaller garlic heads. 

I grow hard neck garlic. It is completely hardy in Connecticut. The stems are solid and you cannot braid this garlic for decorative purposes. Instead, I dry it in the back shed for a few weeks, brush off the dirt, and store it in my cellar. Now that I have been growing garlic for many years, I save some of the biggest heads and replant them in the fall. No pests seem to bother my garlic and when I harvest it, I free up an entire raised bed for a new crop. I just love this plant, its unusual life cycle, and the fact that it feeds my household for months on end. 

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