Garlic Harvest, 2008

I went and dug up the garlic this weekend.  As mentioned in my last post, here in Michigan I have to grow “hardneck” garlic, as opposed to the California-grown softneck garlic available in the grocery store.  The difference is illustrated in the picture below:

Softneck garlic on the left, hardneck garlic on the left.  The central stem can be seen plainly on the hardneck garlic.  Hardneck garlic is more equipped to survive a Northern winter, apparently.

The garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves start to brown, as seen in the picture on the top below.  On the bottom is a shot of my garden fork lifting up my first set of bulbs:

After the soil was loosened up with the fork, I was able to pull up the bulbs by the stalk.  Here’s one fresh out of the ground on top, and a pile of ’em below.

After they were all out, I cut off the tops and set them out to dry.  With something like a 12′ x 1′ area for garlic, and 4 plants per square foot, I’ve got 50-60 bulbs piled up on the patio chairs.  I left them out there for a few days to dry and cure:

I don’t know if it was a bad year for garlic or what, but many of my bulbs were quite small this year.  The smallest of them only had 3-4 cloves per bulb.  The majority of the bulbs were quite a bit bigger than this, but definitely smaller than grocery-store bulbs.  This could be poor soil, strictly organic methods, incompetent gardening, or lower yields from the hardneck garlic.  My smallest and largest bulbs are pictured here side by side.

Someday, I’ll learn to properly use a camera.  Notice, though, how in-focus the grass is…

Here’s the total haul for a year’s worth of growing.  The bulbs in the mesh bag will be broken into cloves and planted in the fall for next year.  The cloves in the basket we’ll keep in the basement and cook with though the winter.

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2 Responses to “Garlic Harvest, 2008”

  1. Jack W Says:

    I’ve grown two different kinds of garlic, both of them originating from the grocery store. But we live in Georgia with a long hot summer. Some of the bunches, I’ve just left in the ground to multiply and get bigger the following year. This is the third summer, and several of the bunches flowered for the first time and I’m just going to let the seeds fall. See what happens.
    I have good luck with “multiplying onions” also. Thats what the guy at the farmers’ market calls them. One type multiplies by the root, the other type multiplies with flowers that become tiny bulbs. I learn more about gardening every year. My goal is to have lots of year round perrenial edibles going.

  2. Home-grown Vegetables Hall of Fame III: Garlic « Great Lakes Green Eating Says:

    […] Vegetables Hall of Fame III: Garlic By glge I covered the process of growing garlic last year, but recently saw the garlic flower buds for sale at the farmer’s market.  I had […]

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