Thursday, July 9, 2020

Garlic Harvest 2020

We have moved on from Juneuary into Japril ... unpredictable, drizzly weather, cool evenings with lots of happy slugs and weeds ... Groan!! 

Burlap suspended on hoops to protect pulled garlic from sun
Since around June 26th, every week I have been pulling a few heads of garlic. The purpose is to count how many skin wrappers remain covering the cloves. When five remain, it's time to harvest, this process was explained with photos in my July 2015 Garlic Harvest post

The difficulty with our recent on and off again drizzly weather, is that the garlic bed wasn't drying out enough to harvest and the last 2 garlic heads I pulled were ready with 5 skin wrappers. Last week it rained overnight and I covered the garlic bed with a tarp in desperation to keep it dry. Once the tarp was removed the next morning, I also removed the straw mulch. It was a hassle but it paid off because we had several days of sun and warmer temperatures following the tarp episode. 
2019/20 ~ my largest planting and harvest
Because of other commitments, I had a very small window of opportunity on July 6th to get the garlic pulled, haul it up to the garage and lay it out undercover on screens with fans. After the garlic was pulled, it was left in the garden for about six hours. The sun came out and I didn't want it to get sunburned so burlap was suspended over hoops to provide shade and protection from the sun, but still allow air circulation. All my planning and work paid off when the next morning the rain came and has stayed on and off every day since! I did the happy dance with a sigh of relief that the garlic harvest was in, dry and under cover. 

Last October when planting the garlic, I wanted a higher yield from the same space, so I put in the regular amount of rows and then staggered more in between, hoping that if I fed them enough, the size of each head would not be sacrificed. So many variables determine the outcome, but the size of the heads are a bit smaller than in years past. Whether that is due to this years more crowded planting method, not enough fertilizer, cooler weather, all the rain?? I'm not sure. What I do know is I've got LOTS of garlic this year!!

October 2019 was the largest planting and July 2020 my largest harvest on Denman; 150 Porcelain and 60 Rocambole garlic heads! The pick of the crop will be set aside for seed, the rest will be used in the kitchen and shared with family and friends. I'm on a 'Paleo Caesar Salad Dressing' obsession these days, so watch for that recipe coming soon! 

Three elevated screens of garlic, drying undercover, with fans
For the first time ever, I had to add a third screen for drying in the garage and the large garlic harvest still looks crowded in comparison to the photos in 2015

Let it rain for the rest of the gardens! I now have room to plant more winter vegetables... and I'm still doing a happy dance with the garlic harvest looking good and progressing to the next phase!

Until next time... 
Please stay healthy, be safe, take good care...  
Happy Gardening and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae