By: Jannie Vaught
Last fall I wrote about how to plant and grow garlic. One of the easiest crops to grow. Now this week end I harvested my first 2 beds of Chinese pink and by following the organic growing recommendation this is by far the best ever! Big Garlic with long roots and lovely pink color. I used the keeneorganics.com site and am growing their garlic. Here in Texas we need to grow the soft neck variety due to the weather does not get deep snow and freezing, then you plant hard neck varieties which grow a scape. This is a long shoot that comes out of the center of the growing plant. It is good to eat and they recommend making scape pesto. How do you know when the garlic is ready to harvest. In May I start looking for the outside leaves to begin dying and the plants tipping over. I will carefully dig around the bulb and look for the size. To harvest gently grasp the stem close to the soil and gently tug. Then bulb will have some soil on it simply shake and lay in a pile until you have a nice bunch. After this is done they are placed on a table under the patio to let them dry for a couple days then I gather small bundles and use cotton string to tie them. At this point they can be braided into long braids. I also label them with paper and a string tied to the bundle. Cure the garlic out of the sun, and in a place it will not get rained on or wet. This will cause it to mold. The rafters of a carport or patio work well and any open shed will also work well. Storage after cured can be a light free area that has a consistent temperature, not too hot, not too cold. Storing in refrigerator is not recommended as it will want to sprout in a few days after it is removed and will be bitter. Cool and Dry is where it wants to be stored.
I need to also add a few items. if your soil is very dry or tight and the garlic isn’t coming up easy , gently use a garden fork to the side of the row and loosen the soil. This will help in the pulling process. Do not wash or put the garlic in water to remove soil, it will reduce the drying time and may couse mold to grow. It will come off when it is dry and you can use your thumb and push it off. When the roots are dry use a scisor and trim them even with the bulb. That goes back into the compost or into the garden plot. As my garlic is coming out in large batches, the ground garden is also getting weeded and feed with compost. Then planted back with hairy vetch as a cover with some corn and beans mixed in. Hairy vetch is the best nitrogen fixing legume there is. This stays in and is planted with radish in the fall. The vetch makes the nitrogen the icycle radish takes it in and returnes it into the soil. How cooperative is our companions in the garden!
In the next weeks to come I have a large grow out ready to harvest and this year is a great garlic year. And did I also say the the roses are especially good too! But again Roses Love Garlic!!
If you haven’t tried growing garlic, this is the easiest and most rewarding plant in the garden.
Now I am going to cook with this fresh garlic.
Growing Green with Jannie