Harvesting the Garlic
The garlic is dug and drying!
Digging it up, it was hard to remember how it was when we planted it back in October. We were wearing coats and boots, for pete’s sake! In contrast, when we harvested it just two days ago, some of us were barefoot and the rest of us were wearing the least amount of clothes we could respectably get away with!
Jasper was taking a nap across the field, and so I made the girls help me, like any good mother would. I did the delicate work of digging the bulbs out without somehow slicing into them, Avery broke up the dirt lodged in their roots, and Iris stacked them all on the brick wall of the herb garden next to us.
I was so proud of them. It was hard work, and it was hot, but we got them all out – over 200 bulbs – and then spread them out in the greenhouse to dry and cure for the next couple of weeks to a month.
There is so much good information out there when it comes to harvesting garlic, and I’m not going to repeat it all here. Instead, I’ll just tell you what I did.
I stopped watering the garlic about two weeks ago, and waited to dig them up until the leaves on the bottom part of the stalk began to turn yellow and dry. If I’d waited any longer (like I did with some of my elephant garlic, whomp whomp) the cloves would have started to separate and wouldn’t store well, not to mention they would have tasted quite woody.
After it’s cured in the greenhouse, (which isn’t ideal but is the only space I had) I’ll cut off the stalk and roots, then store them in a mixture of mesh bags and wire baskets. Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll be able to keep and use these for 6-8 months, or maybe even longer.
Avery asked me what we’re going to do with all this garlic. We’ll eat a lot of it ourselves to be sure; I usually add one or two cloves to whatever I’m cooking for dinner. Plus, I’ll add some to all the pesto and tomato sauce I’ve yet to make.
And of course I’ll pick out 100 or so of the best cloves to plant again in the fall.
But a lot of it I plan on giving away, too. There’s nothing quite like sharing the bounty (and the gift of garlic breath) with friends and loved ones.