This morning I dug up my 35 hard neck garlic bulbs. My garlic harvest is looking pretty good and I am looking forward to entering them in the Heath Fair next month. Garlic is a wonderful crop. So easy. You begin with good seed garlic which you can get from a friend as I did, or go to a garlic farm like Filaree where you will be amazed at how many kinds of garlic there are to sample and enjoy. You can also go to the Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange which is about all things garlic, including seed garlic – but so much more!
I plant my garlic in good rich soil in mid to late October. I put on a layer of hay or straw mulch and forget about them. In the spring garlic foliage will rise above the mulch and there is nothing to do until you see the twirly scapes appear. To make sure the bulbs as big as they can be, remove the scapes. Then let the bulbs continue to grow until the foliage begins to yellow in mid-July in our area. Then dig the garlic carefully, shake off the soil, then wash the garlic bulbs with a hose. Cut off the stalks and set them out to dry and cure. When dry cut off the roots. Do not take off all the protective skins. Of course you can use them any time after harvest. I have learned everything I know about garlic from Heath’s Garlic King, Rol Hesselbart, who I interviewed here. He gives the best instruction and advice!
Somehow I missed removing the scapes from two of the plants. See the difference? All the plants energy went into the bulb in the plant on the Left, but some energy went into the scape on the Right, making the useful bulb smaller.
Once you have had a successful garlic harvest you can save a few of your very best garlic bulbs to use as seed. That is what I have done and now when I see garlic in the store it seems very puny. But I rarely have to worry about that any more. If you are a cook you can save some money by growing your own. All my garlic grew in a double 8 foot row. Not much space at all.
So, Dear Friends and Gardeners, have you ever grown garlic? How did you fare?