Harvesting the Garlic

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The garlic is dug and drying!

Digging it up, it was hard to remember how it was when we planted it back in October.  We were wearing coats and boots, for pete’s sake!  In contrast, when we harvested it just two days ago, some of us were barefoot and the rest of us were wearing the least amount of clothes we could respectably get away with!
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Jasper was taking a nap across the field, and so I made the girls help me, like any good mother would.  I did the delicate work of digging the bulbs out without somehow slicing into them, Avery broke up the dirt lodged in their roots, and Iris stacked them all on the brick wall of the herb garden next to us.

I was so proud of them.  It was hard work,  and it was hot, but we got them all out – over 200 bulbs – and then spread them out in the greenhouse to dry and cure for the next couple of weeks to a month.

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There is so much good information out there when it comes to harvesting garlic, and I’m not going to repeat it all here.  Instead, I’ll just tell you what I did.

I stopped watering the garlic about two weeks ago, and waited to dig them up until the leaves on the bottom part of the stalk began to turn yellow and dry.  If I’d waited any longer (like I did with some of my elephant garlic, whomp whomp) the cloves would have started to separate and wouldn’t store well, not to mention they would have tasted quite woody.

After it’s cured in the greenhouse, (which isn’t ideal but is the only space I had) I’ll cut off the stalk and roots, then store them in a mixture of mesh bags and wire baskets.  Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll be able to keep and use these for 6-8 months, or maybe even longer.

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Avery asked me what we’re going to do with all this garlic.  We’ll eat a lot of it ourselves to be sure; I usually add one or two cloves to whatever I’m cooking for dinner.  Plus, I’ll add some to all the pesto and tomato sauce I’ve yet to make.

And of course I’ll pick out 100 or so of the best cloves to plant again in the fall.

But a lot of it I plan on giving away, too.  There’s nothing quite like sharing the bounty (and the gift of garlic breath) with friends and loved ones.

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12 thoughts on “Harvesting the Garlic

  1. Sydney Shapro says:

    We just harvested our garlic too. I was very proud of the 75 we got but 200?!! Impressive. Hey, do you have any suggestions of what kind of chicken for our city coop? I think you saw a picture on FB. We want them to be able to free range during the day and coop them at night. Coyotes are a big issue here and we believe that one killed my beloved Maine Coon, Betty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sproutandsprig says:

      Oh no! Not Betty! I’m so sorry to hear that, Sydney.

      As for chickens, I love my Buff Orpington, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and my Black Sex Link the most. I think Cochins are wonderful, too. They are peaceful and friendly. Three or four full-sized chickens are the perfect number for in the backyard. I don’t know much about bantams, but I think they’re a little more flighty. Good luck!

      Like

  2. Ilze says:

    This reminded me of my childhood. OK, we had only 50 (or so) garlic to dig out but.. we did it together with granny! I’m happy that you are doing the same with your girls! You should be a proud mama! Latvian garlic is very strong (not like Chinese garlic we can buy in a shop). Is your garlic strong?!

    Like

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