Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Garlic Harvest

Gardening at Frogpond is problematic.  Rocky soil, hot sun, and strong winds take their toll.  As do gophers, deer, and birds.  Even our cats, chickens and the dogs do in their share of damage.  But somehow, most years, we'll get one wonderful crop of something.  That something is generally a surprise and, although we can sometimes have success with it again, it never is as glorious as that one year.  We had one fabulous year for each of the following:  Santa Rosa plums, artichokes, beans, pomegranates, potatoes, tomatoes, Indian corn, sweet corn, sunflowers, amaranth, olives, sweet peas, thyme...

This year it was garlic's turn.  I ordered one pound each of three varieties of the cloves but realized that three pounds was way too much, so gave away half.  Last October I planted that 1 1/2 pounds of garlic in three long rows in a raised bed.  I followed the instructions as closely as possible and through the winter and spring the plants were mulched, fertilized with fish emulsion, and weeded.  And, lo and behold, in late May through early June I dug up lovely, fat heads of garlic.

Digging them up wasn't hard (other than the fact that there was so much to dig).

I left them to cure for several weeks before cleaning them up.

I trimmed off their roots, and carefully peeled away the outer layers of papery skin.  I took off as little as possible as it serves to protect the garlic from drying out.   Last of all, I used a toothbrush to gently remove the remaining dirt by the root area.  This took some time, but I enjoyed doing this sitting in the shade of the barn in the early evening with a glass of wine.

Spanish Roja
Purple Glazer

California Late White

The Purple Glazer and Spanish Roja are hardneck varieties -- their stalks are rigid and can not be braided.  I learned how to tie them in bundles from a YouTube demo.

The California Late White is a softneck with stems that are flexible enough to braid.  Braiding was more difficult to do well -- mine turned out rather messy.

Total yield from 1 1/2 pounds planted:

California Late White - 6.75 pounds
Purple Glazer              12.45 pounds
Spanish Roja                 9.5 pounds

Total                             28.6 pounds


A significant part of that total is the stalks of the hard necks -- they are dense and heavy.  Still, that's a pretty good return for an initial 1 1/2 pounds.

I brought most of the garlic into the laundry room where it's cooler than outside.  The Spanish Roja will hang over at the barn to cure for a few more days.

There's no way that Bruce and I can eat 28 pounds of garlic before it dries out.  We'll be giving a lot of it away.  I also am looking at recipes for putting some up in jars of oil.

It would be so fabulous if, for once, we could replicate this success.  It's worth giving it a try.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - what a bumper crop for you - beautiful! We like to roast it with fresh rosemary and keep it in a jar in the fridge. Really good on rustic bread and also tossed into recipes. http://tramps-camp.blogspot.com/2010/10/roasting-garlic.html