Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Garlic Haul

As there's almost nothing growing and happy in my yard now, I thought I would post my round-up on growing garlic, because you need to start thinking about ordering garlic if you want to plant in the fall.

Last October I planted five varieties of garlic. I marked the rows. I marked the bags with the corresponding row number, and then promptly forgot to make a note of that somewhere. So I can't really tell you which varieties succeeded, and because of that I also can't conduct a taste comparison that would yield any more insight than this one tastes the different than the other one.

I never claimed this would be a helpful blog, now did I?

But I do have some thoughts on the process, the outcome, and the likelihood that I will grow garlic again.

Planting garlic: I pretty much exhausted all that can be said about planting garlic here.

During the season: I need to knock wood before I type this: easy peasy. Ninety-nine percent of the cloves sprouted. No pests, low water need. There was even some stuff from the sky that we used to know as rain that came down during the growing season. I eventually add some mulch but that's it. Sounds like the perfect plant, doesn't it?

Here's a shot of the first shoots to come up.
At the bottom of this shot, you can see how some of the garlic bed looked in April. (After searching and searching through my photo archives, I can not find a picture of the whole bed. I guess I got too distracted by the tomato/fish head adventure and the Beast.)
2) Outcome: Here's the haul in May.You're supposed to harvest when half of the leaves are dead. I might have waited to harvest a little longer for some of the garlic, but it was getting hot, and I was more worried about losing the garlic than harvesting it too small.

I tied up the garlic and hung it in my shed to cure. On Friday it finally struck me that it was probably way too hot in the shed for the garlic. (The heat's slowed down my brain power.)So I cut down the garlic bundles from the shed rafters and started cleaning. I did lose some of the garlic, particularly the smaller heads. They just couldn't handle the heat.Others looked to be perfectly roasted. I am actually contemplating cooking with them.
I also had a little fun. This hairy guy reminded me of Wilson, Tom Hanks's friend in Cast Away.The final, cleaned haul:
This may or may not be more than I planted. Of course, some of it I harvested as green garlic. Some of it I lost in the shed, and some of it I gave away already.
Overall, I am quite happy with the whole growing garlic adventure. It was easy (yay! for a lazy gardener). I cook a lot and use garlic in almost every dish I make (I obviously don't bake much). I will probably use all of this long before the next crop is ready.

For next season, I'll save some of these heads to plant the next crop. I'll also probably add some cloves from Boggy Creek's heirloom garlic. It's a variety the farmers found in Mexico.

And I might even plant more than I planted last year! With the way the weather has been this past year, I'm narrowing my focus to plants the succeed easily.