Sunday, July 4, 2010

Garlic Harvest

Jo is digging our garlic.  As with most things that happen around here, we're getting the garlic out of the ground a little behind schedule. That's really not a problem since our weather has been so dry.  Wetter weather would have caused the garlic bulbs to rot.  Voles and mice love dining on our potatoes while they are still in the ground, but don't care for garlic.

Rusty and Bucket think they deserve a share of everything harvested in the garden.  They are going through the motions of begging for garlic, but didn't really put up too much of a fuss since even Bucket won't munch out on a garlic bulb.

Jo is heading back to the garden cart with another handful of garlic.  We grow an older stiffneck (or hardneck) variety.  Our original bulbs were a gift from a friend.  I'm not certain of the exact variety, though it's probably a Rocambole.  As this garlic reaches maturity, it sends up shoots.  Tiny garlic bulbs (called scapes) form at the end of the shoots.  When the shoots first appear, they are curved into a circle.  As the garlic matures, the stems gradually straighten.   At full maturity, they are pointing straight up.  You are supposed to pinch off the scapes.  This secondary means of reproduction doesn't benefit the gardener and is said to rob some of the plants resources that would otherwise go into producing a larger underground bulb.  We failed to pinch off all the scapes this year.  In our very unscientific experiment, neither Jo nor I could see a difference in bulb size between plants with and without scapes.

A small part of our garlic harvest.  The bulbs now need to dry a bit more.  Jo will cut off the stems and select some of the cloves for replanting.  Here in Arkansas, we plant garlic in the fall.  The plants come up and then go dormant over winter.  Once spring arrives, the garlic begins growing again and completes its life cycle.  We'll use some of the garlic fresh, but most will go into the deep freeze providing us with a year around supply.



gwendolen said...

Hmm, I feel like making slow roasted garlic now.

Marvin said...

Sounds like a good idea to me, Gwen. Go for it!

AphotoAday said...

How cool... One can never have too much garlic, so some say...
Those dogs look pretty interested in the whole process.