Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Harvesting Garlic

Our garlic has been ready to harvest for a couple of weeks now but I've put it off because our lack of rain for a month has made the ground super hard.  Normally I can pull the garlic up without having to dig it out but the first few attempts I made at this last weekend just pulled the stem off of the bulb and I ended up having to dig the bulbs out.  Yesterday we got about an inch of rain so I figured it was time to start getting the garlic out of the ground.  An inch of rain didn't make much difference in how hard the ground was.  It didn't take long to remind me why I don't grow much of anything that needs to be dug out of the ground.  I don't like to dig.

Another difference in this year's garlic is we never pulled the scapes off.  Garlic scapes shoot up the top of the plant and end up flowering if left intact.  I have always read that garlic bulbs will be larger if the scapes are pulled off the plant because the plant is able to put more energy into the bulb.  This year I just never got around to pulling the scapes off.  Today I consider that a bonus for me because not only do I get to enjoy this...

but the majority of my garlic bulbs looked like this...

That's a pretty nice size hardneck garlic - not an elephant garlic.  Proof that letting your garlic acclimate to your soil for a few years by replanting your biggest bulbs will produce great garlic bulbs.  

One bed of garlic on the trailer so far, three more to go.