garlic harvest

oh, how do i love garlic – perhaps previous posts professing my love of growing other veggies will have you thinking that i profess my love of every vegetable – and in some ways i do, the longer i grow vegetables, the longer my life revolves around the cycles of the growing season the more i realize just how much i love growing, and no other crop really connects me to the cycles like garlic.

garlic planting always takes place in october when i’m the most tired – when i wonder if i should just throw in the towel and quit farming.  when all i really want is some time off and to catch up on some sleep.  but carefully breaking open those heads, selecting each clove, and gently tucking it into the soil and covering it with straw to overwinter – says ” i’m committed to one more year”.  i’m always glad i did plant, when in the middle of the bleak grey days of march i start seeing little bits of green growth from the garlic.  i love watching it’s knife like blades coming up in the spring, and the scape as it’s curls around, and popping sound they make when you snap them off, but he real joy comes this time of year when its time for the harvest.

the harvested garlic laid out

this last year we planted 1500 row feet of garlic – most of which will go to community gardeners for seed garlic so they can grow their own garlic in their garden.  seed garlic costs a lot, and though years of saving this particular variety we figure that we are selecting for the qualities that make it best for our local community.

after digging it we bundle it up in groups of 20, and tie it up.  – since we are trialing several new varieties this year we make sure to tag them, so we can compare them to see if it’s something we want to grow again next year.

 

tagged and bundled

i’m very much looking forward to trying the new varieties and seeing which one we like the best – which ones to keep.  after bundling them up they get hung up to cure for about four weeks.  the garage at work is almost overwhelmed by the smell of garlic for the first few days, it lessons up over the coming weeks – or i just get used to it, and fail to notice anymore.

garlic curing

this about half of the garlic we harvested, about 300 pounds total.  once they are fully cured, it’s just a matter of trimming and cleaning them and then they are ready to store for sales, or to get distributed to community gardeners to grow their own garlic.

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4 responses to “garlic harvest

  1. Nice crop, if you get enough for market sales, as opposed to seed sales, consider doing smoked garlic for the restaurant trade. It is a good money earner in New Zealand for garlic growers, who may have more than the fresh garlic market can bear. I use an electric Big Chief smoker I bought in Alaska, and either hickory or mesquite wood chip, 2 pans of chip over about 2 hours to smoke flavour and partially cure the bulbs.

    It is great mixed with salt crystals as well.

  2. smoked garlic sounds amazing perhaps i will try some as an experiment. do you smoke the garlic before it is cured?

  3. Hi Patrick, once the garlic has dried, and any loose dirt brushed off is best. Too long a storage tends to increase the chance of a few bad bulbs appearing.

    The gourmet type restaurants love it, and my partner back in NZ is trying to get a few of the gourmet pizza places to try as well.

    Initially it was just for friends and own use, but it has grown a lot in a year.

    Cold smoking is best, temp about 68*C which my smoker maintains.

  4. Pingback: garlic cleaning | little house on the urban prairie

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