Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Spring!

Dear Folks,

I harvested my garlic yesterday (May 23, 2011).

The typical planting season for growing head garlic is October 1 - October 31.  This past planting season, I was so far behind and did not get a new order of fresh garlic to plant, I used my last season garlic - stored as I typically do in the crisper of the refrigerator.  Because I really did not think I would have enough for a full crop (the prior year I harvested over 90 heads, but sold or used most of them) I planted 12 cloves near the end of the planting time, and reserved the rest of what I had left, still storing in the crisper, for successive planting of 'green garlic'.  (The green garlic is harvested when the cloves swell slightly and are more like a scallion and do not form a head.)

To grow head garlic you need the full winter cool cycle - about 6 months.

So to grow my green garlic I planted successive sets about every 2-4 weeks apart beginning in early December.

Theoretically all the ones planted for green garlic should not produce flowers or go to 'head' stage because they are not in the ground long enough, or get cold enough.

Well..... remember our freezes this year?

We got cold enough over a long enough period of time (Deep freezing in early February and near freezing temperatures off and on through early April) that all the unharvested green garlic began to show flower buds (called scapes) the beginning of May!  When growing the head garlic you cut the scape off then pull the plants several weeks later.  I cut the intended head crop scapes on schedule and looked back down the green garlic plants and low and behold - scapes!

So I harvested everything yesterday, I have a whole bunch more head garlic to hang and dry then I originally planned. Not a problem certainly but one of Mother Nature's whimsical jokes.

When you look at the picture here of what I harvested yesterday, you will see a great size difference in the heads.  The ones on the right are the intended 'head' crop.  The ones on the left are the intended "green garlic" crop and the one in the middle was a hold over from last year and set connected, good sized heads in one clump.  Sometimes I will miss a plant when harvesting and it will stay un-noticed until the next spring because the top growth dies back completely in the heat of the summer.

I love to garden, don't you!

Don't let anyone tell you what you can not grow here in the desert.

Have a great day in the garden.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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