Monday, July 19, 2021

An Earlyish Garlic Harvest :)

 It's not surprising that with all the heat this year, the garlic harvest is about 2 weeks earlier than usual.


The garlic bed before harvesting

When to harvest garlic is all about the visual cues rather than a set time on the calendar.  Once the bottom two or three leaves are brown, that's my signal that it's time to harvest.

Bottom two leaves have dried up

Another cue comes from the leave tips, which should be starting to brown...check!

Practically all of the tips are browning

I could have waited another week or so to harvest but I decided that I had better take advantage of the couple of days of dry weather we've had.  The water to the garlic bed was turned off about 3 weeks ago but I was getting a bit worried as it has been raining here consistently ever since then, practically every other day.  In fact, just over a week ago I turned off the drip irrigation to the entire garden.

Thankfully, my worry was for naught - the bulbs looked awesome!  As in every year past, I've grown a bunch of different varieties:  Music (of course!), Pitarelli, Portugal 1, Duganski, Wild Puslinch, Persian Star, Sweet Candy and one simply sold (waaaay back) as Porcelain, which is more a type of garlic rather than a variety name.  My first impression is that this was a good garlic year - there wasn't a dud in the bunch, unlike in years past when I could see right off the bat that one or more varieties did poorly.

Duganski

Garlic, just like every other veg, comes in a range of sizes.  There are subtle differences between the different varieties I grow, not only when it comes to taste, but also how well they store, etc.  I really enjoy growing a wide variety, so even if a particular one doesn't get that large, I'll likely continue to grow it if it has other redeeming qualities.

Garlic harvest

My acceptance of smaller bulbs, however, does have it's limits.  A few years ago, I had a particularly bad year with absolutely tiny bulbs.  There were a couple of varieties that did particularly badly and were on the verge of being kicked out (Persian Star and Porcelain) - some of the "bulbs" were no bigger than large cloves!  At that point, I changed a few things up such as which amendments (and how much) I used.  Since then, all of the varieties have improved significantly, including these two which allowed me to give them a reprieve for the time being.

While I no longer weigh the majority of my harvests, I still enjoy tallying up the garlic and comparing how each variety did compared to years past.  But first, the garlic has to cure.  This year, the space normally allocated to curing garlic in the garage is being eaten up by a slew of wood that I'm using for the new raised beds.  I had to improvise and decided to tie up the bundles and hang them in one of our sheds.  Looks like I'll be spending the next couple of weeks trying not to hit my noggin on them - let's just say that in the few hours they've been up, I've been less than successful with that, lol.

I should put up a hazard sign 😁

I'm linking up to Harvest Monday at the Happy Acres Blog, where you can see what our host Dave and a whole lot of other bloggers from near and far have been harvesting this past week.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

16 comments:

  1. That looks a good harvest and should see you through the coming months.

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    1. Even though we love our garlic, I definitely grow enough that we have never run out :)

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  2. Fascinating. I've never grown garlic, although we both love the flavor in our food. We receive both garlic scapes and bulbs from our CSA food share every year, so our supply is sufficient. Yours look very yummy!

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    1. You are so lucky to receive scapes from your CSA - that's one delicacy that's, more often than not, only known by those of us that grow it.

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  3. I'll bet it smells good in that shed! I miss homegrown garlic but not the work in planting it, curing it, etc. That Duganski bulb looks like a beauty.

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    1. Yup - the shed is definitely "aromatic", lol!

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  4. Margaret, so nice to see you posting at Harvest Monday once again. Please continue! I'm going to harvest our garlic this week, despite the wet weather. Your harvest looks great!

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    1. Oh, that's so sweet :) I'm not harvested a whole lot as we are only down to 7 raised beds out of 18, but I'm planning to link up when I do. Yes, this wet weather is a bit of a curse - my tomatoes are definitely NOT happy!

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  5. For the first time in ages we have grown some decent garlic this year and ours is also hanging in the garage. We have more in the ground still to lift so I hope that is good too.

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    1. I have a feeling that the bulbs in the ground will meet your expectations ;)

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  6. Nice you have you join Harvest Monday with a blog post. I always enjoy your comments to Dave. What a wonderful garlic harvest. I've given up as a dry winter makes it vary hard to provide the water they like, plus they do fill a lot of real estate that can be used for succession crops. So these days, I just buy organic. It is fun to grow garlic as you've found.

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    1. Hi Sue! Yes, sometimes it's just not worth the trouble of growing something that simply doesn't do well in your situation. I've recently cut down two potted figs that I have had for about 4 years (or more?) as they simply were not producing. Each year I thought "I'll give them one more chance", but this was really it. I have a feeling part of the issue was the variety, so I'll likely try again in the future but for now, I'm taking a bit of a rest from fig growing :)

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  7. Your vegetable garden output always astounds me, Margaret. It looks like you have enough to provide for an entire town. It sounds as if you need a warning on your shed door, alerting visitors (and yourself) to beware of the garlic ahead. How long does it take to cure?

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    1. We do love our garlic! It takes about 4 weeks or so to cure, depending on the humidity. Basically, I wait until the leaves are all nicely shriveled up at which point they get cut off and the bulbs are cleaned up. Ha! A warning sign may be in order, especially on hot days like today - quite the aroma when I opened the shed door, lol!

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  8. I've been told home-grown garlic tastes much better than from the store. Will your harvest be enough to meet your garlic needs for the year? We also like lots of fresh garlic in our foods!

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    1. It tastes a LOT better than the store. And you don't have to be a connoisseur to see the difference. Just cut open a clove...the moistness & fragrance is amazing! We love garlic in our meals as well & often double (at least!) the quantity in recipes :) Even so, the 8'x 4' bed gives us more than enough for the full year. We have yet to run out & there is always some still left from the prior year (that we use up first) when we clean up the current crop.

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