One of our favorite things to grow in our garden is garlic. Last year was our first year and I don’t ever see us not planting it.
There are two basic types of garlic: softneck and hardneck. Softneck garlic is what you find in the grocery store because it stores a bit better and can also be braided by it’s greens. Hardneck garlic grows a flower stalk called a scape. It is the long scrolly yellow thing in my hand here.
Most people will cut them off to focus the plant’s energy on growing the bulb. We cut them off to eat them because they are delicious! If you see them at farm markets (I saw them last week), buy them then go to this recipe at A Garden for the House and make the Garlic Scape Pesto. It is so delicious that you won’t believe it. They are only available in June and early July so don’t miss them.
A few weeks after the scapes have been cut and once the leaves have died back a bit, it’s time to pull the garlic out. My garlic was starting to turn brown but I probably would have waited a bit to pull except for the storm that is on the way. There is supposed to be a big storm tonight and the idea is that you want the garlic to be dry when you pull it so it will cure better. I figured a little early was better than losing some to rot so out they came.
I was so excited not to have a belly after having Lincoln last fall that I may have planted a lot of garlic. May have. You plant one clove and it grows into one head. Even with a few that didn’t work out we still had a ton. 45 garlic heads in all. This is a very large basket.
I pulled one plant first and broke it open to make sure there were cloves formed inside. We used that in our dinner last night. Garlic needs to cure by drying for a couple weeks to enable you to store it for long periods of time. So the rest of the plants came inside to get their roots trimmed and the dirt brushed off.
I have read a million different articles on how to cure garlic. You know what they all say? “Hang in a cool dry place with good airflow.” Many suggest your shed. It is July. Our shed is about 187 degrees with no airflow. Our sunroom is breezy but hot. Our basement is cool and damp. Last year we ended up losing a lot of shallots to rot because I didn’t know where to put them. This year I just brought them in and hung them in the kitchen.
I tied them (and the shallots) in bunches of 10 with cotton string and hung them off the shelf thing where we keep Opie’s food and all of our towels. I took out the top basket so you can see the shallots.
It may look a little strange but then again I’m not sure my friends would expect anything less. I always seem to have some ridiculous project going on!