Way, way back in November of last year, SoupAddict planted dozens and dozens and dozens of garlic cloves. Seventy-six, to be exact. It was the end of the growing season, and SoupAddict had just finished tearing down her various gardens. Her many heirloom tomato plants, which she saved for last, had reached some 17 feet tall and were tied to, among other places, the gutter of her house. Greenery, everywhere. She was pooped.
But, being the forward-thinking girl she is, she knew she still had work to do. In zone 6, garlic should be planted in the Fall for a Summer harvest. That meant getting the cloves in the ground, now. Er, then. Back in November. When SoupAddict was dog tired. But her love of garlic … and garlic in soups … garlic in sauces … garlic in marinades … spurred her on, and she got those 76 cloves of garlic planted in lovely, loamy, fresh-turned soil. Then she went and took a nap.
But now it’s mid-July. The cloves have been doing whatever cloves do underground, in the dirt, that somehow, miraculously, turn them into entire bulbs containing many cloves of garlic. SoupAddict is always amazed by that. Nature is awesome.
So earlier last week, the first patch of garlic was ready to say “Hi” to the world. Last year’s garlics were tiny and wan-looking, so she was quite anxious this year and gave all the plants extra love and attention.
All the worries were for naught – this Georgia Crystal is gorgeous!
By the end of the week, the 2nd patch of garlic was ready to harvest, too. Harvesting before all the leaves are dead ensures a healthy bulb wrapper for protection while the garlic is curing.
This patch, by the way, is in SoupAddict’s neighborhood community garden. SoupAddict’s fellow gardeners are growing all sorts of yummy stuff, like tomatoes and broccoli and greens and potatoes.
Harvesting garlic is fairly easy, but one must be careful with the bulbs because they damage easily. The first year SoupAddict grew garlic, she must’ve cleft the edges of half of her bulbs, being careless with a spade. Use a small shovel, several inches away from the stalk, to pry the bulbs up from underneath while giving the stalk a gentle tug to free the plant from the ground.
These are some happy garlic – look at those roots!
German White Porcelains, with one curly, blooming scape still attached.
SoupAddict is very pleased, not only with the size and health of her garlic crop this year, but also the fact that she will no longer be buying bland garlic from the grocery for many, many months to come. Take that
And for the record, SoupAddict has already ordered garlic for this Fall’s sowing (Chesnok Red and Music), and has set aside Georgia Crystal and German White bulbs from this year’s harvest. November is coming – eek!