Last November, right before the first frost, in the middle of the month, I planted garlic in one of my garden beds. It was very easy to do, you take a garlic clove and stick it in the soil, root side down about 6 inches from the next one. And that all there is to it.
The garlic sprouted only a few days after I planted it, but then overwintered in the ground, uncovered, all Winter long. It didn’t grow any further but it didn’t die either. Once the weather started to warm a bit in the beginning of Spring, the garlic started growing again.
My garlic share the bed with peas and the soil is covered with leaf mulch. I have to note here that this worked really well, both the garlic and the peas were happy and the mulch (which is basically dry Fall leaves) made it a no-work bed. I didn’t have any weeds and I didn’t have to water at all.
In the past week, the top of the plants started to yellow and die. This meant, it was harvest time.
I used a garden fork to loosen the soil around the bulbs….
I placed it a few inches from the plant and pushed it into the soil, moving it back and forth a bit to make the soil loose.
Then I pulled the bulb gently out of the soil.
I had to take a moment to admire nature’s wonders. Those crops which grow under ground kill me. I am so curious through the whole season about what is going on under there, I have to hold myself back from harvesting too early. And then, when the moment comes I find myself time and again amazed. It never gets old.
I harvested one third of my garlic, the rest will be ready in a couple of weeks. To cure garlic you have to hang it in a cool, dry, well ventilated, dark place for three weeks or so. You can tie the bunch and hang it in a shed or in your house somewhere.
I choose to braid my garlic. The braid positions the bulbs apart from each other so air can flow easily between them, making it easier for them to dry. You do this just as you will a french braid. Place three of the plants on the ground or a flat surface…
And start braiding. The hand in the picture belongs to my baby Benny, he was checking the quality of the harvest.
Add one plant every time you bring an outside stem to the center.
Keep going. Hurry up though, cause this little hand is going to mess the whole thing…
You can keep going and make it as long as you want. When it’s time to end the braid….
Take a couple of leaves out…
And loop them around the braid…
Then bring them in between the rest of the leaves and tuck them in or you can use a twine here to secure the braid.
I can’t wait to use them and I really hope to get at least two more braids like this one from the garlic left in the bed. After they dry out I will cut the roots and then cut the stems about an inch from the bulbs and clean it from dry soil (I didn’t do much cleaning after I pulled them out, just a little gentle brushing with my hands).
Do you grow garlic? When do you plant it? Where do you cure it?