Growing Garlic 101

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Plants | Tags: , , , |

Plants - Garlic 1Now is the time!  Go to the farmer’s market and buy some garlic bulbs.  Break them apart.  Put the pointier end up and the flatter part down – about 2 inches down and about 3 inches apart.  Cover with the plentiful leaves that are everywhere right now and forget about them!

I planted about 50 plants the other day.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.  Perfect.

Plants - Garlic 2Now they will grow their roots.  All winter they will settle in and get comfortable,   readying themselves for the spring that is certain to come!

Plants - Garlic 3In spring they will steadily grow to about 3 feet tall.  Come June they will produce flowers, called scapes, which I will cut off to sauté and enjoy like asparagus.  And by mid-July the greens will be about halfway dried up.  Time to harvest!  I then dig them out, hack off the tops and place them in a box to cure in the basement.  Then I’ll be eating and re-planting next fall.  Easy peasy!  Garlic is extremely healthy, it’s a great first crop for anyone, even kids, because it is super successful (no pests bother it really) and it’s yummy!

I got a good question on facebook:  What do you mean by cure?

Here’s the answer:  Cure is for root vegetables like sweet potatoes and garlic that benefit from a drying time which is why I put them in the basement near my dehumidifier.  You can eat the garlic fresh, but curing the bulk of it by just letting it rest and dry for about a month will make it keep longer/better.  Some people bundle it together by the stalks and hang it up for good air circulation during the curing time.  It also stops all the growing and readies it for planting.  Thank you to Glenda for the question!

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Garlic Harvest

Posted on August 6, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Plants - Garlic

Here’s the haul I made the other day!  Garlic is one of my favorite things to grow.  It is so easy and forgiving.  This year I didn’t weed, I didn’t even rake the leaves off of the bed in spring.  The garlic thrived in complete neglect.  My kind of plant!

Here’s what I did:

1.  I made a trip to Copper Kettle Farm near me to buy a few bulbs from their harvest last August.  You can find a local grower easily by doing an internet search for garlic growers or visit your local farmer’s market to find it for sale.

2.  In October, break apart the bulbs into individual cloves.  Prepare the planting bed by clearing of debris and weeds.  Hoe it if the ground is dry and hard.  Put a layer of compost on top if you have some ready to spread.

3.  Push the individual cloves into the ground about 3 inches apart and 2 inches deep.

4.  Water, and cover with something like straw or leaves.

5.  The cloves will begin to grow roots and get ready for the long winter.  If they start to grow little green shoots, just ignore this deviant behavior and it will go away!

6.  Ignore the bed until spring when you should rake off the covering.  A little water when it is dry is good, but they don’t really need anything.

7.  In June you will notice flower scapes developing on the green plants which look like curled whips at the tops of the plants with a sack at the end which would become the flower.  Because you don’t want the plant to put any energy into flower production, but rather building a nice big bulb below, you cut off these flower scapes.  Collect them, chop up and sauté in a little butter or olive oil for a delicious veggie!

8.  About mid-July the plants become about 1/2 browned.  This is harvest time!  Carefully dig up the bulbs, cut off the tops about 6 inches above the bulb and put them together in bunches or loosely in a box or bag to dry (cure).  I like to put them in the basement near the dehumidifier, my dad hangs bunches in his garage.  Whatever you like, basically you want air flow.  They are dried in about a month, but you can be using it fresh during this time too.  Drying it makes it last into the winter without spoilage.

9.  Save the biggest bulbs (I know, hard to do, but worth it) to replant in October.  Eat the rest!  Enjoy the freedom from cancer and a bunch of other ailments!

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