Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Garlic Harvest: 2017

When green garlic leaves fade to brown, it's time to harvest them. It's important to get them out of the ground before tops get too weak to help pull the roots out. Also, as the leaves fade, organisms start eating away the membranes that cover the cloves, exposing these gems to soil. Although dirt readily washes off, bulbs are much fancier wrapped in colorful membrane layers. Also, it's only possible to braid garlic together if the leaves are strongly attached.
Garlic Bed with Parsley Growing Between Rows
Another View Showing Green Garlic Leaves Turning Brown

This year it took six hours to collect about 200 pounds of garlic and stack them exposed to air to cure them. The bulbs must be oriented separately from the leaves so they dry quickly without starting to make "compost". Our new wagon seems to be an ideal tool for curing because the mesh bed allows air to circulate.

Wagon Full of Garlic, Stacked So Bulbs Are Exposed to Air
Knowing that garlic is harvested before the end of July, in early June I broadcast parsley seeds all over the garlic patch. It's now growing very well and by September will be ready for freezing packets of parsley pesto. Last fall the garlic was planted through inches of leaves and other mulch. This spring, some garlic sprouts needed help getting through the larger leaves. Today the mulch has disappeared, processed away primarily by worms, but there was enough left in June to successfully germinate parsley seeds.
Parsley Now Without Competition from Garlic
This year has been cool and wet so garlic scapes didn't appear until later in June. We picked them as soon as they appeared so that the plants' energy goes into the cloves.
Fifteen Pounds of Scapes from the Above Garlic Bed