Garlic Harvest: A National Holiday…or Just Mine…

| July 26, 2015 | 4 Comments

garlic1I have often been pegged as a geeky gardener type.  Although I HAVE been seen pulling weeds in the moonlight in my pajamas, and my fingernails never quite come clean from April to November, I have to confess that I am really too lazy to be one of those über-gardeners who never set foot in the produce section.

But laziness is what draws me to my favorite thing to grow: Garlic.   I teach a workshop each fall on growing garlic, and it’s a short one:

  1. In September, make a patch of soil nice and loose.
  2. Plant a clove of garlic pointy side up, about 4 inches deep. Repeat at 8″ intervals.
  3. Water well and cover with 6″ of straw.
  4. Forget about it.

Come April, you start to notice long, slender green spears emerging through the straw, and you say, “Oh, shit, that’s right, I planted something there.”   And you move the straw off.   Water now and then.

And, um, that’s it.  Until right about now. When I woke, things looked like the photo above. Mostly green, but starting to brown a little.

Every fall, I put in 52 cloves of garlic, so I’ll have 52 heads of garlic the next summer.  We go through roughly a head a week in vinaigrette, stir-fry, pesto, roasted garlic schmeared on fresh baguette…and…and…what was I saying?   Oh yeah.  Today, I tugged on one of the browning plants and it came up easily, looking nice and fat and beginning to dry out.  So it turned out to be harvest day. Hallelujah!!

The little patch of garlic next to my front porch. The neighbors think they're irises that never bloom.

The little 6′ x 8′  patch of garlic next to my front porch. The neighbors think they’re irises that never bloom. That’s okay.

The first volunteer. My shoe size is 7.  These guys are hefty!  Whoo-hooo!

The first volunteer. My shoe size is 7. These guys are hefty! Whoo-hooo!

A beautiful head of Montana Zemo.

A beautiful head of Montana Zemo. White outside, when dried and broken open the individual garlic cloves are red-skinned. Lovely stuff.

The whole gang.  To celebrate, I will have a glass of wine and put in an order for next year's planting garlic. Amen!

The whole gang. To celebrate, I will have a glass of wine, say thank you, and put in an order for next year’s planting garlic.

If you have a small patch of dirt like this (even something two or three feet square) you can grow gourmet organic garlic — even if you have a black thumb. It’s the easiest thing in the world, and the flavor is out of this world.

Give it a shot. Here are my favorite resources:

Bon appetit.


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Category: Cooking, Food, Garden, Money Saving

Comments (4)

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  1. Stacy McDonald says:

    I hope to be the recipient of some of the results of that bounty!

  2. Anne Peek says:

    Several years ago I got to help harvest garlic at a friend’s organic farm–well, actually one time we harvested and one time we planted–and it was easy, fun and yes, so tasty! Thank you for reminding me!

  3. Marilyn Rhodes says:

    What varieties do you recommend besides Montana Zemo? Or is that the only variety you grow? I’ve got these in my carts online. Any I should avoid? Any I should order more of?

    Montana Zemo
    Romanian Red
    Russian Red
    Montana Giant
    German White
    Georgia Crystal

    • greenhedonist says:

      Marilyn, I’m so sorry I didn’t receive notification of your comment. I hope you were able to buy the garlic you need — all of the ones you list are excellent choices. I have grown all of them. This year I will grow Montana Zemo, Spanish Roja, and Music. I’ve just harvested last year’s Music and Zemo and it’s curing… Let me know how you get on!

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