Here is a tale of garlic. Once upon a time a girl gardener planted cloves of garlic.
One batch was planted in an area too wet. Another batch was planted in an area too dry. But another batch was planted in an area just right.
The garlic in the wet area were too small. The garlic in the dry area were a little bigger. But the garlic in the ” best” area were the largest (although still not as big as they could be).
Here is how they started out.
Garlic after harvesting.
I must say knowing when to harvest is a tricky wicket. My best advice is to go to this web site www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com and read their wonderful guide. They even have advice for growing garlic in the south, especially Texas. Basicly, what I read is “when the lower leaves have all died and only top 6 leaves are still green, it’s ready”. I also learned that “the upper leaves of the plant determine how many bulb wrappers the harvested bulb will have” . There is a wealth of information about planting, growing, harvesting, curing and storing garlic.
Here is the garlic curing. Curing is basically a drying process. Gourmetgarlicgardens says “The idea is for excess moisture in the roots and leaves to evaporate or withdraw into the bulb. When the roots and necks are completely dry and don’t emit a typical garlic odor when cut, it is time to trim it.”
Garlic ready to be “cleaned up”.
I had hoped to have a picture of all my neatly trimmed and cleaned up garlic, but when I trimmed the top of three of them, they weren’t quite ready for storing. But these will be used this weekend in pesto and salsa.
This past weekend I planted the garlic I had ordered back in the summer from www.territorialseed.com (and almost forgot about).
Two years ago, when I planted garlic I thought I had learned all the things you weren’t supposed to do when planting this member of the allium family. It seems I was wrong. While I did learn a few things, evidently I have much more to learn.
When I planted before, I waited way too late to plant. I planted in a low-lying area of my garden that became and stayed too wet when it rained. My soil was also evidently riddled with clay. How do I know this you may ask?
Well, when visiting Margaret Roach’s blog www.awaytogarden.com, a commentor mentioned a web site www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com. It was a wealth of information and specifically for me gardening in Texas. It also brought to light why my garlic, while delicious, was very small. If the soil is too compacted, your garlic will be small. Aha!
So, this year I did improve on my garlic planting. First, I picked a variety for warmer climates called Chet’s Italian Red. Second, I planted in October while the cloves were at their peak. Next, and this was totally by accident and after I did it I wondered if it was correct, I took off the paper skins after separating the bulbs into individual cloves. I then planted them about two inches deep and about four to six inches apart. So far, so good.
But what I didn’t do and will change next year is I will plant in raised beds. My soil is better this year, but I don’t know if it will be good enough for those big garlic heads I am dreaming of. We shall see.
I do know one thing, if all the garlic I planted actually turns out, there won’t be a vampire for a hundred miles.