garlic has been curing for well over 4 weeks. if anything we have left it up in the rafters for too long. for more info about the actual harvest and hanging check this post out. i kept waiting for a rainy volunteer day, and when one finally came last week i took advantage of it. in the end it took us several days to process all that garlic.
first step after getting it out of the rafters is to trim off the tops. the tops are left on in order to increase the surface area to remove moisture from the heads. removal of moisture is crucial for having the heads last in the pantry for any amount of time.
next step is to clean the heads. you can twist or cut off the roots, and then remove the first paper which is covered in dirt. this way you don’t have to wash the garlic to get them cleaned, and after they have cured it is very easy to remove the papers.
once they are clean we grade them and put them away for sales or planting. the garlic grader is a very simple design, i think i picked up the idea from the very informative magazine growing for market. it’s just a series of nails set various widths apart one is for 2 inches and under, the next 2.25 and under, the next 2.5. the next 2.75 and the last one 3 inches. you simple pass the garlic though the sets of nails. if it easily pass though the 2 inch nails it goes in the 2 inch box, if it doesn’t you go to the next set of nails and keep trying till it easily pass though a set of nails. the majority of our garlic was under 2.25 this year, we had a lot less huge size garlic. most of this i blame on the fact that we planted the garlic in the least fertile part of the field, so i was not surprised when we came up small. graded it goes into 10 pound mess bags and stored away in a cool, dry, dark place. about 80 pounds of this will get planted for next year, some we sell and the rest goes to community gardeners throughout the city.
the location they were photographed in is neither cool, nor dark, but it’s where we put them for now until the honey supers came out of the honey room, they get moved into the honey room now that the supers are in the freezer. total yield just about 300 pounds on the dot. i really need to clean up those shelves.
meanwhile at home we have been cleaning our garlic too.
our harvest was nowhere near that of work but did include several new varieties, including a couple of softnecks, which were reported to be very difficult to grow in michigan. keep on the lookout for a garlic tasting fundraiser – and help decide what varieties we keep and which we lose.
in addition to the bulbs we harvested i’ve also saved some of the little bulbils that form on the top of the scape.
i’m thinking i can use them to grow green garlic from them and space them like i would scallions to be harvested in the spring. right now we have them planted in the greenhouse in hopes of sprouting them, and then transplanting them out. we shall see.