Thursday, June 24, 2010
A week ago (I know, behind on posting in real time) my garlic was looking really scruffy and yellow indicating that it was garlic yanking time!
I've already done a post on garlic harvesting and braiding from a while back so I won't bore you with the details all over again.
When I harvest my garlic each year, I also re-plant it at that time to replace what I've pulled up despite many people saying that garlic planting time is in the fall. I figure if I have holes in the garden already, why not just plant more in them and my other reason is my garden is sort of self sustaining in the garlic growing area. The first year I planted, I planted so much garlic that it was way too much for one harvest and it seemed that the cloves I planted might have grown at different rates, some smaller than others, so I left those smaller ones in the ground for the next year's harvest. Some I think have even been in there for 3 years just because I wanted them to get bigger.
The only change in the garlic harvesting/planting came from the garlic itself telling me something: They wanted to have babies apparently:
Lots of the garlic started sprouting flowers and growing bulbs at their tops like the Egyptian walking onion, but also bursting with little bulbs oddly from the middle of their stems too. I assume that it was their time and they had matured and these little bulbs can be considered seed garlic.
The mama bulbs that produced the seed bulbs were still small and I set them aside with the idea of replanting them too, but decided later as an afterthought that maybe they had run their course and it might be better to just simply use them despite their smallness (maybe their flavor's more intense?) I also made the decision not to replant the mama bulbs because there were so many little seed bulbs, those and the already too small bulbs still in the garden would get a little crowded if I added anymore extra garlic bulbs to the mix.
Last year I dried the garlic in the guest bedroom, but it did stink the place up of garlic (made worse because I kept the door closed in that room) and as I have guests coming, it's not happening now unless I can confirm my guests enjoy garlic scent as air "freshener." My only concern about the garage is that it is rather hot and humid outside, the heat not so bad in the garage, but still, a bit of a concern. I suppose we'll see. Granted garlic is cheap if it goes bad, but it's obviously nice to use what you grow and that it doesn't go to waste.
This, and winter squashes (missing those so bad this year) are amongst my favorite things to grow because of their shelf life. Someday I'll get/make a root cellar and I might be able to keep carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and other goodies well into the fall/winter without refrigeration. Someday, one day I will!
I try to use the garlic up as fast as possible because there's nothing like peeling or chopping up your garlic to find that it's all gray-black and nasty smelling. Any recipe suggestions? Lots of Italian and roasted garlic use here, so if you've got something real good, send it this way!