If you follow me on Facebook, you know that last week I harvested our garlic. This was our second year planting garlic and it has become on of my favorite crops to grow and harvest. Garlic is so incredibly easy.
In the fall, you plant your garlic cloves, cover them and then just wait. When spring hits, your hardnecks will send up scapes. Cut those babies off; they make a delicious dish, and cutting your scapes will force the garlic plant to put its energy into making a bulb instead of a flower. Trust me. Cut the scape. This year, I missed about three scapes, and here are the garlic heads to compare.
These two heads of garlic are the same variety. The one on the left had the scape cut off, but the one on the right got overlooked during scape cutting time. Amazing difference, isn’t it.
Last year I harvested my garlic in a fit of nesting during the pouring rain, a mere week before C was born. I was insanely driven to pull all the garlic right then. It couldn’t even wait the extra day to let the soil dry from the rain.
But if you are not nesting a week before your labor, how do you know when your garlic is ready to harvest?
By looking at the leaves.
When the leaves at the bottom of the garlic plant start to turn brown and dry, your garlic is ready. As you can see from this picture, my leaves are almost all brown. I probably could have harvested a week or so earlier than I did, but as you might guess from all the weeds, I was sort of neglecting the garlic beds. Not to worry, garlic will usually keep as long as it’s not an overly soggy summer.
This year we planted three different varieties of garlic; a mystery variety that I’ve been saving from our CSA farm share (Monroe) for the last couple of years, Georgian Fire, and Erik’s German White. Judging by size alone, you can guess which has made me happiest. I’ve yet to do the taste test.