Harvesting Garlic

The variety called Music is my mainstay

The variety called Music is my mainstay

I harvested some of my garlic this morning.  My benchmark on timing for harvest is when the bottom five leaves have turned brown.  I used a four tined garden fork, gently eased it under the plant and then levered the fork up to loosen the roots.  I then pulled out the heads and put them in a bucket, one for each variety.

Shake off as much of the soil as you can, then wash them

Shake off as much of the soil as you can, then wash them

I planted four different types this year.  Music is my mainstay with its rich flavor and large creamy cloves and then there’s Russian Rocambole for its medium-hot taste and long keeping qualities.  I’m trying two new ones, Nirvana Weird which is reputed to be spicy with a sweet aftertaste and Unadilla Double Coil, great for roasting.  These had long scape coils this spring, a source I used for the Garlic Scape Pesto mentioned earlier.  These last two are rare, local varieties that I bought from Gibson Hill Garlic.  The owners inherited the farm and found these two varieties, grown nowhere else.  They had only a few hundred heads but have cultivated it enough that it is now available in limited supply.   I grow only the stiff-necked varieties as I have found the soft-necked don’t do too well in this New England climate.

Divided by variety.  Note the condition of the leaves.  If you let them go much further than this, the skins split and they don't store well.

Divided by variety. Note the condition of the leaves. If you let them go much further than this, the skins split and they don’t store well.

After washing the heads, I spread them out to cure for about two weeks on the screened porch.  When they are cured, I will cut off the stalks and store them in a cool, dark place.

They'll be ready to use in a couple of weeks

They’ll be ready to use in a couple of weeks

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