There is nothing better than a successful harvest. After months of work and effort when something in the garden succeeds without too many problems I consider it a good day. This was my second year to grow garlic and because of the changes I made this year I should have enough for a replant in the fall plus enough to eat until then. Next year, I intend to build a new bed and grow enough garlic for the year plus the replant, much like I do with my hot peppers now. That is enough back patting for the day since I know the season has barely begun and there are so many other things that will go wrong.
On to the garlic. I pull the garlic when there are two to three green leaves left on the plant. If the soil is loosened with a small shovel each bulb should pull free by hand. Do not pull too hard because you do not want to break the stalk from the bulb. Next shake off the excess dirt. When all the bulbs are pulled they need to be dried out. I like to set up a piece of plywood over a couple 2×4’s to make a simple drying table in the garage, but any space out of direct sunlight and somewhat cool will work. Next drape the bulbs over the edge of the wood so they don’t touch the ground and spread them out so they are not piled on top of each other. After about a month the garlic will be ready to braid and hang up which I will talk about in a later post. If you cannot wait, the garlic can be eaten fresh out of ground but if they are dried out they will last at least a year in the right conditions. I usually cut a few bulbs while digging them out and those make for some excellent meals (or eating raw when no one wants to be kissed.)