The Garlic Cycle
Hardneck garlic is a wonderful crop for us. The best part being the party where our CSA members help in the harvest! We began growing our garlic seven years ago. Many of our CSA farming friends gave us generous gifts of their farm garlic for planting our first crop. The seed is the cloves of the garlic individually planted. We have grown enough garlic for CSA, sales, and our own seed ever since!
Garlic is planted in September/October. We cover the planted ground with thick layers of straw. The garlic overwinters in the soil and is good and ready to sprout when spring comes. We see the garlic shoot up early hopeful for its veggie friends.
In June the garlic plant is a good 2 feet tall and flower shoots up from the plant in a green spiral, this is the part we snap off, the garlic scape. Snapping off the flower shoot helps the garlic bulb to grow bigger, keeping the flower’s energy for the bulb. The flower shoot, if left, will eventually straighten itself, reaching for the sun, bloom, much like an onion flower. The plants in this process are beginning to brown and by the end of July are mostly brown as they pull all their resources into the garlic bulb. We have found the best time for us to harvest is the middle to end of July. The garlic can be eaten then but for better storage we dry the garlic in our black crates, thinly layered for good air circulation. In about two weeks the garlic bulb is fairly dry, with papery skins.
Enjoy the scapes, they are coming to an end and get ready for the garlic harvest and potluck, which will most likely be scheduled for one of the last two weekends in July.
This week we plan to harvest chinese cabbage, head lettuce, garlic scapes, kale or chard (baby or bunched), we are hoping there is enough broccoli for everyone. Kohlrabi? uh, maybe.