Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great Garlic!

This is my 2nd year growing garlic, and this year, I didn't have to MOVE the garlic midyear.  As you may or may not remember, I moved in late February of 2010.  In mid October of 2009, when I was planting the garlic, I did not realize I was going to be moving in a few months.  I did get the chance to move it later on, but I seriously disrupted the growth cycle.  Still, it was okay.  But this year, they stayed where I put them, October till now. 

I knew it was time to harvest the garlic because the tops started to yellow a lot, like this picture above.  Last year, I waited until the leaves were a lot more yellow, and I had a hard time finding all the garlic.  Waiting so long, the tops had deteriorated a lot more and I couldn't tell where the bulbs were under the ground.  About a month ago, I removed the seed and stem part of the garlic plant, called the scape.  There are basically two kinds of garlic, hardneck and softneck, and hardneck is the type that makes a scape.  All my garlic is hardneck this year...I would like to grow some softneck garlic though too, because that is the kind that you can braid and hang up in your kitchen.  Hardneck garlic doesn't store as long as softneck garlic, they say, but mine did just fine last year.  You can see a post showing the garlic scapes here.  Cutting off the scapes makes the bulbs grow much bigger because they don't have to put so much energy into making their seed head. 

I've found that the best way to get the garlic out is to use a large tined fork.  I step down on the fork a few inches back from where I think the clove is, and lift it up, to loosen the ground up.  If you have cultivated your soil well in the fall, when you planted the garlic, it shouldn't be too hard to loosen it up now.  Then, since you didn't wait too long to harvest your garlic (smile), you can reach down and gently pull the garlic bulb loose from the dirt. 

Elephant Garlic!
I tried some elephant garlic this year.  Elephant garlic is not a true garlic, but actually is a kind of wild leek.  But I grow it with the garlic, since it allows itself to be treated as such.  These bulbs turned out to be huge!  The flavor is nice, and a tad bit milder than the real garlic. 

This is a variety called Georgian Fire.  Seed Savers says this one is a true 'white hot' garlic, with a pleasant heat.  I can't wait to try it out.   I also grew Siberian Garlic and Chesnok Red this year.  Siberian is a good all purpose garlic, while chesnok is good for baking and roasting.  I tried to cover all my bases. 

For the time being, I put all the garlic into my barn (aka my enclosed front porch).  I will leave it there for a few weeks to cure, to dry out so it will store better for as long as possible.  I'm sure a lot of it will go into marinara and salsas that I will be canning later in the summer.

I'd love to hear about your garlic experiences...especially other varieties that people grow.  I need to learn how to properly roast garlic without burning the heck out of it.  If you like the smell of garlic, come on on over and sit on my's smelling pretty good out there about now. 


  1. I saw your title and this is what I said, It's the Great Garlic Charlie Brown! Lol, yes I am a dork! I thought it was funny! Your garlic looks great! Elephant garlic is gianormous!

  2. Beautiful garlic harvest! We are growing elephant garlic for the first time this year and other new varieties from our friend. Wish us Luck!

  3. That garlic is HUGE! Tell me how white hot tastes :)

  4. I hope you ate the scapes, which are truly a seasonal treat. Nom nom nom!


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