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.


~Holly~ said...

Congratulations on your first head of garlic!! Nicely done!!

RandomGardener said...

Wow, good sized garlic! I'd be happy to get that size when we harvest:) Did your plants still have greens on or were they all dried, before you pulled them up? Edges of the plants are turning brown on my plants, but the leaves are mostly green, so not yet sure of when we'll harvest.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Now that's what I call a clove of Garlic :o) It has to taste good, no way it can look so good and not taste the same :o)..Congratulations..

thyme2garden said...

Holly - thank you!

Random Gardener - our plants still have green leaves in the middle, and it's possible (and probably likely) that the greens are still growing. On this head of garlic that we pulled, there were still 3-4 green leaves that looked fresh enough that I chopped them up to use as green garlic. They were taste sprinkled over an omelet this morning!

Gingerbreadhouse7 - and now I can say that this fresh garlic tasted good, too! We just sauteed it up with some mushrooms as part of our lunch. Mmm, yum!

Annie's Granny said...

Lookin' good! I did spring planted garlic, so I'm not expecting much from mine. I'll be sure to plant in October this year.

Daphne said...

Garlic is always hard to tell when to pull. But it depends on what you are going for. Earlier pulled garlic stores better, but later pulled garlic is fine for eating relatively early and is often more garlicky tasting. Once they are ready to pull as the leaves die the wrapper formed by that leave that would protect your garlic starts to rot. You want to leave enough wrappers to keep the mildew from getting into the cloves. But if you are going to eat them fresh you can just leave them in the garden. The clove will eventually split apart and then in the fall start to grow.

My garlic is just starting to have the first leaf die back. It will be a while before I pick it. I need to to keep all year. I'm still eating some saved from last year. I have two heads left.

Prairie Cat said...

I am so jealous of that garlic! I cannot wait for fall to come around so that I can get some in the ground. You will have to update us on the taste.

Linda said...

Wow... the garlic looks great!

Graziana said...

Congratulations, I never managed to have a proper garlic harvest!

thyme2garden said...

Granny - are you harvesting all your spring planted garlic as green garlic then?

Daphne - thank you for the tips!

Prairie Cat - Yes, definitely plant some, it's been one of the easiest veggies to grow in the garden.

Linda - thanks!

Graziana - thank you!

Annie's Granny said...

I am pulling a few as I need them, but what's left should be fully mature by fall. I pulled two this week, and they are beginning to form cloves now, but they are still quite small.

Michele said...

Beautiful! Thanks for posting, I am planning on planting some in the Fall-my first attempt at it.

thyme2garden said...

Granny - I guess you'll be harvesting beautiful fully mature garlic in the fall when none of us will have any left in the garden. It would be interesting to see if there's any difference between spring planted and fall planted garlic in terms of productivity, flavor, etc. Maybe next year I'll do both.

Michele - thank you! Last fall was my first attempt and I'm very encouraged by our results so far. I hope yours grow well!

foodgardenkitchen said...

Wow, now I'm a bit stunned after scrolling down in the posts and learning that a grocery store softneck was the seed garlic. I don't think out garlic has ever grown such a large bulb...

Beeks by the Lake said...

Now I am wishing I had kept better track of my grocery store garlic and my hard neck garlic from the bulk seed store. I definitely like to dry my garlic for 2 weeks - it gives a stronger flavor. Last fall I harvested my first crop of garlic and it was wonderful. I still have a little left but the small inner cloves are kind of a pain so I am looking forward to this year's harvest. Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot from your post and the comments other left.

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