Garlic Harvest


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.


Nice braids! I haven't braided ours yet, it's been drying and curing for the past few weeks, but hopefully I'll get a chance this weekend!
Anonymous said…
beautiful braids!
I, too, haven't had great success with garlic or shallots in my garden. The bulbs are either too diminutive or rotted. Trying to figure out where we went wrong...
Anonymous said…
It has always been my understanding (though I may be wrong) that to cure garlic,you dig them up and leave them in the garden on their sides for a week. The skins harden and then I wash them off with the garden hose and trim them. Mine always shoot up Scapes (flowers)and I just trim them off or use them in a flower arrangement, or eat them. The stems do make it almost impossible to braid them.

Larva lady-ZZ
Anonymous said…
P.S. Your garlic looks great to me. Mine are really punny with the lack of rain in the NE

Love the idea of using the salvaged rack for drying! Ingenious!!! Your braids look fantastic. I've never had enough garlic in a harvest to braid them so it's cool to see someone who has been able to do so.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage
Stefaneener said…
I'm with you on shallots, but that garlic looks like a good reward.

Next time I borrow a truck and get horse manure, want to come along for a oouple of loads? Your soil might like it, and it's fun. . .
jisun said…
Ooh, this concerns me, do shallots just not do that well in our area? I love shallots and have been planning on trying them next season. I especially love making shallot oil for salad dressings and drizzling on veggies, but they're kind of expensive to be doing that all the time. Do share if you figure out how to grow them. I hear you on the concrete soil!
Anonymous said…
Ahhh... Lisa.... Garlic is my favorite thing (being Italian)... Yours look amazing!

I couldn't help looking at the root pile and wonder...gee... what will Lisa do with them? Make socks out of them maybe? LOL

Thanks for sharing!

Noreen said…
Wow. Garlic Braids. I didn't even know that was a possibility. Cool.
MO UR4Me said…
Very interesting, I had better check and see whether I need to harvest my garlic and onions now. First time for both. Actually, I planted the onions last summer and the tops never died off so I covered them with leaves for the winter and they perked up again the spring. They have had flowers for a while now, so maybe I have waited too long!
earlysnowdrop said…
Your garlic braids are beautiful. Congratulations on a great harvest.
What a refreshingly honest blog!!! I will read more, because of this-- thanks a million! ~ Diane Evans Islas-Easy Elegance on Pinterest
Noelia said…
I think they look fantastic! I have to check mines in a couple of weeks ... we will seeeee
Anonymous said…
I had a lot of success with garlic in western IL but the last 2 years, since moving almost due east to Ohio, not so much. My successful garlic was the hard garlic. It comes in hard or soft varieties. You can braid the soft garlic, but not the hard. I'd plant it in February in large containers outside and harvest usually in late August. I'd plant each individual bulb and usually each would form an entire garlic head. In the early summer they would grow flowers, called scapes, and I would cut those out and take them to a friend who had a restaurant because you can use them as a form of garlic - they just don't keep well. If I forgot to cut the scapes, the bulbs would be smaller but the flowers would be so pretty that I didn't care. I think it may be too wet these last couple of years because the 3 crops that never failed me (tomatoes, potatoes and garlic) all rotted before I could harvest them.

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