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What Lies Below or Bullet Garlic II

June 14, 2010
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Garlic is supposed to be harvested when some of the leaves have browned; some suggest precise percentages of browned vs green leaves but the opinions vary. From what I have read, one leading indicator is when the softneck varieties flop over as the bulbs mature below. To the contrary the hardnecks don’t flop due to the scape or flower stem providing core support, hence the “hardneck” description
I read in several places that the hardneck scapes should be removed when they appear; the idea is that more energy the leaves pull in from the sun can go towards bulb development. I did as advised and removed them then tossed them out shortly after showing them to my lovely spouse. Well A day or so later it seemed everywhere I visited on the internet there were references to the what a delicacy the cut scapes are, how they should be savored for their unique garlic taste and how basically only fools throw them out. Oops.

A couple weeks ago, mine had started to brown and had definitely gone floppy on me, the softneck much more so than the hardneck.

I pulled one of each and hung them out to dry then took the opportunity to show them off to my modestly curious family. These were not huge, but certainly not a disappointment by any stretch.

The hardneck is the more round bulb on the left, the softneck is the one that looks like it should be hanging below a bull at the county fair.

Sidebar: We decided we had to eat some of it right away and ended up roasting it with a little olive oil drizzled on it. Delicious.

I’ve been getting more impatient lately anxious to get some harvesting going as the lettuce is petering out and the increasing ground cherries aren’t tiding me over to the peak summer season very well. So I grabbed my Ho Mi and used it to get under the bulbs and get them started lifting- the little roots really cling to the ground and I didn’t want to damage the necks by pulling too hard. As you can see the leaves were browning a bit and I had to hold up the plants to take the picture.

A Coca Cola liter case crate served as a basket and a few minutes after this picture I had around 3 dozen garlic plants pulled and ready to hand up to dry.

Garlic is supposed to be allowed to dry a bit (I have read anywhere from a single week to six) preferably in a place out of the sun where the air circulates well. The coke crate with a little wire added made for a decent drying set up and i hung it up in the porch of “Lizzie’s House”, the old servants quarters that watches over my back yard. (At first I pictured myself going to the trouble of tying the plants together and hanging them in clumps over a taut wire but lunch was looming and well… I’m no Martha Stewart so I don’t have to do it that way now do I…)

Anyway, here they hang:

Next: Garlic thoughts for next season

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