Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pulling Garlic

The weather has been a bit strange this year and while I didn't think it was time to pull the garlic yet, the garlic has different plans. I'm fairly sure that I just cut the scapes off of most of these, but some of the larger plants are turning already. In years past we have waited until July to pull our garlic.

 These larger plants are being pulled today since the leaves and stem are soft and I'm worried about rot.
These smaller plants will be left for a few more weeks since they are still a bit green and are hopefully still growing. The weather has not been their friend this year.

During the A to Z Challenge in April I had a post G is for Garlic, in which I talked about why garlic is such a great addition to your garden. The most work you will put into garlic is after the growing season. Getting it out of the ground, cleaning it up and making it sure dries and doesn't rot.
Check out that root system they have. They really don't want to come out of the ground. 

Once you have pulled your garlic, if your in the south that normally would be late June to July, northern climates are a bit later due to our growing season differences, it is ready to eat. make sure that you keep some of the larger bulbs out for replanting in the fall too!

 But since you have waited almost nine months for this feast you might want to put a bit side for later also. If that's the case or if you have a large harvest you'll want to cure some those bulbs. Don't wash them, you want them to stay as dry as possible. We give them a day or two and then we clean the dirt off of them when it's dried out a bit, some dirt doesn't hurt and it can stay on. You don't want to rub too hard. You can bring them inside, or braid them and hang them in under a carport. Anywhere that gets a good ventilation and is out of the sun. Sun can damage the bulbs and change the flavor. Keep those leaves on, the garlic is still using them for energy until they are completely dried, which can take as much as two months depending on your humidity and weather. Once the leaves have completely dried and the roots are brittle you can trim them off, leaving a bit of root and 1/2 of top. They can then be stored in mesh bags (we hang on to onion bags and use those), cardboard boxes or even pantyhose if you have any laying around. They just need to be in a breathable container so they stay dry. Stored this way they can be kept for 6 to 9 months depending on the variety. They will be just as great as the day the came out of the ground!

I hope that if you haven't tried garlic, we've encouraged you to give it a try, I promise you won't be sorry!