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 there are only 3 or 4 green leaves left (these will form the wrapper surrounding the cured garlic bulb), that's my signal that it's time to harvest.
|Bottom leaves have dried up|
but there are still 3 or 4 green ones
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.
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.
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.