Sunday, June 26, 2011
First Time Harvesting Garlic
The softneck garlic from the grocery store that I planted last Halloween were starting to look like they might be ready to be harvested. But since this is our first time growing garlic, I wasn't sure if they were really ready. I read somewhere that they are ready to pull when the bottom leaves start to turn brown, and then I read somewhere else that they are ready when the whole plant flops over. My garlic plants definitely have some browning leaves, but they haven't flopped over yet, so I decided to pull one to see how it looked. Keith did the honor of pulling it out of the soil ("this thing is really stuck in here!"), and we did a quick happy dance when we saw that a perfectly shaped head of garlic was attached to the bottom of three feet of wilty garlic greens.
Well, I had to see what it looked under all those outer layers, so I peeled it right up. I noticed that the normal papery garlic skin was absent from this fresh head of garlic. Instead, the outer layers protecting the garlic cloves felt a little juicy, fleshy, and hmm, fresh? I'm guessing that the paper skins come from proper curing of homegrown garlic.
After all the layers were peeled off, I ended up with six beautiful cloves of garlic. I haven't tasted it, so I can't speak to the flavor, but by the looks of it, I'm pretty happy with our grocery store garlic growing success! As for the size, I feel like they could be a little bigger, so I'm going to leave the remaining plants in the garden a little longer, maybe another week or two, and see if they can grow any more.