I Grew Garlic!

When I first started this blog, 71/2 years ago, I never would have imagined that I would have my own food garden let alone that I would have grown my own garlic! I posted about my garden last fall, but this is my first garlic harvest.

I grew two kinds of garlic – hardneck and softneck. I didn’t snap a photo of the garlics growing but basically, you can imagine, the garlic bulb is the root and those green grasses and stems grew up out of the soil.

The hardnecks grow with their necks straight – seems obvious but it wasn’t to me – and they produce the elusive farmer’s market jewel, the scape. I don’t have a photo of this year’s crop, but click here to see ones I bought at the farmer’s market two years ago. They are like solid tubular green garlics that are mild in garlic flavor and can be eaten raw in salads, in pesto as you see in the photo post, or roasted like I did with these asparagus.

So, the top photo is the day I harvested the garlics. I had no idea what to do so I did a little googling and asked my niece who is a professional farmer. It wasn’t that hard after all.

I pulled them out of the bed and just shook them a bit to get some dirt off. You are not supposed to clean the garlics with water, the whole idea is to keep them dry. That leads me to the next step which is curing.

I tied them up in bundles of 10 or so and hung them on our bike rack in the garage. I left them until the greens turned brown. It took two weeks. Next time, I will have to spread them out a bit since I lost a few bulbs due to spoilage. They didn’t dry out and were moist and gross.

Then, I sat on my front porch and cleaned and prepped the garlic. I pulled the excess stems off and took off a layer or two of the paper so there was no dirt left.

You can see the softnecks on the left – their necks are super soft – and apparently the fun (and Italian kitchen) thing to do is to braid them which I did! I have a son and the last time I braided anything was in camp 35 years ago but I think I did a pretty good job.

The hardnecks are on the right.I cut the roots and stems off and now I have about 2 dozen bulbs of garlic to work with for months! I am storing them in a paper bag in the utility closet and can’t wait to see how long they last. (I will be giving some away because I am super proud but I figure at least through the fall!)

I am having so much fun with this garden. I am patiently waiting for my tomatoes and cucumbers plus I have an entire bed of kale to harvest until the first frost. I also have beets, carrots, peppers, basil and chives. I might have planted an eggplant but I don’t remember! I will keep you posted with my harvest. And as I continue to learn, I hope to plant even more new and exciting things next year, like ramps!

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