Friday, July 3, 2009

Harvesting Garlic

The June gloom has put a damper on parts of the garden. The garlic has grown, but in my heavy clay soil it has been way too wet. The leaves have been sliming out more than drying. Usually garlic is harvested in the middle of July instead of the beginning. If I did it would be larger as more energy gets directed to the bulbs. I tried to put plastic over it to keep out the rain, but it just soaks in from the sides.

Everyone has their own time when they decide to harvest the garlic. I've heard anywhere from letting three leaves on the bottom die (in climates like ours) to letting six leaves die (typically in CA type climates). Sometimes they say wait until there are only six (or four) leaves that are still green on top. I'm going with the earliest harvest. I have three leaves on the bottom that have died.

Since I don't have a huge patch, I carefully dug it up with a trowel. I didn't want to accidentally stab one of my cloves with a garden fork. I didn't want to bruise it with a shovel. The bed is destined to have broccoli or Chinese cabbage in it eventually but for now I'll leave it fallow.

As soon as my garlic was dug, I put it in the garage to dry. We redid our windows last year and I still have some of the old screens. When I was done the garage smelled so good. There are four types of garlic.

The German Extra Hardy did the best in this wet wet year. The bulbs are respectable especially with the short season. I have a couple of really nice ones that I'll save for seed next year. If I like the taste I may grow more of this next year than all the others put together.

The next best bulbs were the unknown softneck from the supermarket. I planted 8, only 6 survived the winter (all the other varieties had 100% survival). One ended up very small, but five bulbs turned out very nice. Despite the death of two plants the poundage of the other bulbs may make up for the lack. If so it might be a good one to try again.

Gregorian Crystal did OK. Unless it tastes so much better than the others, I probably won't grow it again. Our wet climate was not to its liking.

Bogytar started out with a handicap. The garlic that I ordered came tiny. Tiny cloves make for tiny plants. They were the last ones to make an appearance in the spring. Some of the bulbs that I ended up with were bigger than the ones I was sent. So they may have more growth yet in them. I'll plant them again next year. There is one clove that did extremely well and I'll make sure to save it for seed.

I can't put these in the harvest tally yet. I'll weigh them once they are dry and the leaves and roots are cut off. I did get some bulbils for the tally, but then used the before I weighed them. I'm guessing they didn't weight that much anyway, but I have to get better with my scale.


  1. I'm up in the air about whether to plant garlic next fall. It was good, but my bulbs weren't very large. I think I harvested them way too soon, so maybe I should give it another try now that I've learned something. My shallots, however, were fantastic!

  2. I love the way your garden looks.

  3. Your garden looks great... even with all the soggy weather!

    Great post about your garlic.

  4. Your garden looks like a jungle! Beautiful garlic harvest! I didn't even know it was possible to grow supermarket garlic. Interesting! I don't like the taste of garlic, but it is a beautiful artistic vegetable, I love with ones the that purplish blush.

  5. You should be proud of your garden.., it sure absorbs interest and enthusiasm in you. Great harvest of garlic.... ~ bangchik

  6. Hey Daphne,
    Just stopped by again. I really love that picture of your garden. Looks so pretty!

  7. That is one misty garden shot. All last week was rainy and cloudy here, it seemed the sun never came out. The 14 day trend says it will be bellow seasonal except one day, this is starting to get a little old!

    Your garlic looks great. It must be enough to keep you in stock for a while. I want to harvest mine soon, not sure yet if it will be replaced with parsnips or leeks.

  8. What a great looking garlic harvest!!! How long will garlic last once you harvest it? I'll admit that garlic is one of my short-cut foods. I buy the chopped-up garlic in a jar (bowing head in shame).

  9. That's what June is supposed to look like, isn't it? It is supposed to here -- this sun and heat has been completely out of the ordinary. I love the entwining garlic greens in that one shot. Must. Get. The. Garden. Expanded. Room for garlic, I hope!

  10. How completely gorgeous your garden looks, and the garlic is laid out with such lovely precision. I wish I had even a tenth of your obvious dedication, work ethic and aesthetic sentiment. I will be back for inspiration.

  11. I am just about ready to harvest my garlic and am anxiously awaiting it too. I hope to get a good harvest but some do not look quite so promising. Yours looks so nice laid out on the screens. I'm going to have a hard time finding a place to put mine while they cure!

  12. Annie's Granny, I've grown garlic in the distant past and didn't do well then. This year it came out quite well considering the short season. I'm hoping next year it is better.

    MissyM and Toni, thanks

    Lzyjo, It is best to start with organic garlic if you can find it. I know they put growth inhibitors on potatoes and wonder if maybe they do it with garlic too.

    Bangchik and Kakdah, thanks, but sometimes it absorbs too much of my interest :>

    Toni, thanks

    Kate and Crew, I'm hoping it will last until spring when the green garlic comes in, but I've never tried growing all my garlic before and I may have planted too few. I'll find out. Oh and shame. Prechopped garlic. How could you? ;>

    Stefaneener, Ah so you are the one that stole all of our sun and heat this year. ;> All that we have had is cold an rainy. It really isn't normal this year at all. Somethings have so taken off in this weird weather.

    ReapWhatYouGrow, Thanks. My garden didn't used to get all this attention. When I had kids they took most of my nurturing quota, but now that they are in college my garden grows so much better.

    Cynthia, I hope your harvest ends up great. I thought about putting mine in the living room, but decided my husband couldn't handle that and relegated them to the garage. At least we cleaned out the garage this spring so they fit. Last year I would be hard pressed to find a spot for them there.