Garlic is an easy addition to your edible garden.
When to harvest garlic
I don’t mean to be a blog-hog this week, but I’m planting my garlic today and this issue has come up all spring every year in the nearly five years I’ve worked at Peaceful Valley. We have so many customers that come in or call in and want to know when they’re allowed to pull up their garlic.
They’re in shock when I tell them that they can go get it any time they want. When my children were small and we didn’t have money for food, and only a little spot for a garden, and we moved constantly, I became quit adept at MOBILE GARDENING. That is digging up starts and transplanting them in my new yard.
I can also clean out my entire house and move it all in one fell swoop in less than a day but that’s a different story!
Anyway for several years I rarely lived anywhere long enough for garlic to mature so we acquired a taste for green garlic. I like it so much better than the cured stuff that I actually plan for it now and only cure that which I plan to plant for next year if I can stand to leave that much.
Where to plant garlic
I still move around a lot but mostly just between two houses these days. I also keep a potted herb garden (which includes potted garlic) for our motor-home.
Anyway all this to tell you that I plant the big cloves in a spot that I won’t need for spring starts so that they can get big and ripe and I don’t dig that up until its fully mature and ready to cure. But everyone around work here eats the small cloves and well quite frankly that just doesn’t make sense to me. I plant all the little ones around the edges of my raised beds, even sometimes where I still have things growing, and when I pull things up and plant my winter stuff I know where to stay away from.
These little sweeties (or should I say hot mamas) can emerge at any time because they are shallower than the big cloves. Sometimes they stay there for another year and spread which makes me very happy because whenever I need garlic I just go out and dig some up!
The Down To Earth Rose Flower and Bulb Food is great for root crops and can be added any time since I have no particular EHT (estimated harvest time) for this crop. If you do find yourself pulling up stakes and finding a new habitation, just dig the edges of the beds and toss the green cloves or sprouts in a brown bag or pack them all in a recyceled black pot. They will stay good for weeks in there in a cool place with a little compost or moist dirt until you can figure out where their new home will be and then whoosh, they’re off and running again.
Everyone marvels at the size of my elephant garlic. One year I had a 3+ lb bulb. I have a permanent spot for it now because at this point it would be difficult to find all the little side bulbs that shed from the large ones when they’re dug. So I have a constant harvest of both hot green regular garlic and the milder more oniony flavored elephant garlic. I find it easier to grow than shallots and it makes a good substitute for them in recipes. If you’ve never tried green garlic and especially if you’re not a garlicaholic go easy on it in your recipes. A little bit will go a very long way.
Aug 13th, 2011 at 10:00 am
Excellent suggestions I like your flexible perspective
Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Nov 1st, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Sue, I agree! Pam makes it clear that we should all be tossing garlic into our gardens and containers.