After the fiasco that was our leek harvest, I wasn't sure what to expect of our garlic.
The time had come to dig up our bulbs. The leaves were dying back, and in fact the plants were putting up flowers, which didn't bode well.
The garlic bulbs were neither huge nor puny. They were solidly medium-sized, with a few small bulbs scattered throughout. Considering how poor our soil was when I started this garden, I'm pleased by what we got.
I hosed everything off, and stuck the garlic into a wire bookshelf that I had picked up along the side of the road. Everything I read about garlic says that it needs to "cure" but I have no idea what that really means. Perhaps they need to dry out a bit, to keep from getting moldy. I dunno.
Today, I peeled off loose outer layer of garlic skin, and removed the roots. I was about halfway through this project, when I realized that I could grasp the roots with my scissors and rip them off the bulbs. I hope I remember this neat trick next year.
I dug the roots and cut-up skins directly into the garden. I'll often incorporate small amounts of un-composted organic material into our soil. I figure it can't hurt. Our dirt is like concrete, and needs some loosening up.
I found a couple of videos online, and braided the garlics. I think that my braids would have worked out better with larger bulbs. I found that I couldn't keep the braid and the bulbs in synch. The bulbs were small, but the stems were quite stout, and so the braiding got ahead of the actual garlic bulbs. Furthermore, the few garlic plants that hard started to produce flowers were too hard-stemmed to braid.
I also harvested shallots today, if you could call digging up bulbs that were the exact same size as when I put them in the ground back in November a "harvest." It is a good thing that the plants were so beautiful, and the bees and bee-mimics and butterflies liked them so much, because they were a culinary failure. Those shallots were a waste of money and garden space.
I've got to figure out where we went wrong, and try again.