Well, we harvested garlic this last Wednesday at the Master Gardening Vegetable Demo Garden. We had planted 4 varieties last fall, I believe in October.
It is now ‘curing’ on my outside table in the shade of our portal where it is protected from the rain (what rain?) or should I say, potential rain.
Curing is the process of drying out the outer papery layers on the garlic bulb and takes around 3 weeks. If it rains (lol) I will cover it with a tarp so it doesn’t get wet as that would ruin the garlic. Never get garlic wet. It needs to be in a dry, airy, shady location while it is curing.
Curing and then storing garlic allows you to extend your summer harvest of garlic well into winter… and my favorite thing about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been cured. When you harvest, don’t clean the dirt off the heads. You can do that later but never with water-just brush the dirt off the heads.
Also soft- necked garlic can be braided while the leaves are still soft, (if you like) and the heads are drying out. Hard neck cannot be braided as the stem (think neck) is too stiff. When it is done curing, I will cut off the stems about an inch above the heads and store in a cool dark place in the pantry.
As to my own garlic, it isn’t quite ready to harvest yet. How do I know? It needs to have about half the leaves die back before digging it out to harvest and I’m about 2 weeks away. I love the smell of garlic and can hardly wait to harvest my own!
If you get much more, will that not be excessive? I could not use all that garlic in a year (although I don’t cook much either). Years ago, we got quite a bit, and pickles some (of a particular mild variety) in half pints. I thought it was weird, but some people really liked it. I can not remember what that garlic variety was.
So you have varieties you like best for growing in Santa Fe?
yes many varieties. What are you interested in?
Soft neck. “Normal size” bulbs to use in cooking. Obviously, something that does not need tons if water. Will get reasonable sun, more in afternoon. Will be in a mixed bed box with other veggies. Something with good size cloves as I hate dealing with the tiny inner cloves of some garlic. Always prefer heritage foods if reasonable.
Does that help for making a recommendation?
Oh sorry-I didn’t even look at what post you were talking about! I really like Music,a hardneck with big cloves and big heads. German White, Artichoke (softneck), and Turban all produced big heads this year for the MG veggie garden. Great flavor on all of these-good size cloves too. I plant mine in a designated bed in the fall (Oct) and harvested at end of June or beginning July. All depends on the weather, sun, water and year. All are heirlooms. I suppose you could plant them in the spring with other things but the heads are smaller if you wait to plant in spring. They all need some water (including in winter if dry) or the heads will be small. I don’t think of them as big water users. Plus you must keep an eye on them and harvest when about half their leaves dry up-cut the water about a week or two before you harvest. Don’t clean them-leave the dirt on them until they finish curing (about 2-3 weeks). After you let them cure, you can cut the stalk and brush off the dirt but don’t get them wet or they will rot. Store in dark cupboard. I prefer hardnecks for the flavor but they don’t last as long (maybe 2-3 months) as softnecks (maybe 4-6 months). Good Luck.
Do you have varieties you think grow well in Santa Fe?