Glorious Garlic

Last September, we planted garlic in good old Plot 26.  We used two varieties, a German Hard Neck and a French Soft Neck (hah). I bought the garlic from a mail order catalog, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.   When they shipped the garlic, they included a how-to booklet on cultivating garlic. That worried me and made me think that this would be difficult.   I followed the instructions and planted the garlic in loose soil to which I had added plenty of compost. I fertilized at planting with a fish-emulsion type of fertilizer (high in nitrogen).   I kept the soil watered but not too wet.  And that was all it took for the plants to take off and produce a wonderful couple dozen heads of garlic.

Eight months after planting, we were able to harvest the scapes off of the hard neck variety.  Another month later and we harvested the heads. Hard neck garlic produces small heads with few cloves.  The flowering stalk (the scape) that it sprouts in the spring can be harvested and eaten.  I made a garlic scape pesto with it that was terrific.

The soft neck varieties do not  produce scapes but they do produce heads that are much larger and full of fat cloves of garlic.   We harvested these at 9 months and some of the heads were a good 3 inches across.

We have spread the harvested garlic out on our patio at home where I keep the ceiling fans blowing on them at all times to help dry them out.  My patio reeks of garlic!



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