Fall is the time to plant your garlic. We just ran to the local organic store and purchased hardneck Rocambole and Purple Striped garlic grown upstate NY for $11.99 lb. Living in New York with fairly harsh winters, the hardneck is the easiest and hardiest to grow. However, keep in mind that the hardnecks have a stiff stem that cannot be braided. Yes, it is expensive garlic, but it is worth it because each single clove will yield a full bulb!
Here's how my daughter and I planted our garlic:
Be sure to keep the area weeded. In the spring you should see shoots coming up. There is controversy over whether or not to cut off the flowers and curly greens (called scapes), however I like to keep it simple and leave them alone the way nature intended. You can however cut them off if you plan on using them for cooking or eating.
Harvest the garlic in the late spring or early summer (time frame can vary depending upon the climate) when the lower leaves have all turned brown. The top leaves should still be a little yellow-green. Be very careful when removing the bulbs so as not to bruise them in any way. Dry loose soil is best for removal. Just dig around them a little bit and scoop them out from underneath.
After harvesting do not wash them. Just gently brush off the big chunks of dirt and put in a dry warm location until the outer skin becomes papery. When they are done drying out, which takes about two weeks, cut off the tops and store them anywhere that is dry and at a comfortable temperature (between 55°F and 65°F).
Since this garlic cannot be braided, it is usually stored in a basket or paper bag. However, I actually read a very interesting post about storing onions using old pantyhose (with a knot in between each one). I think it may work for garlic as well so I want to try that this year. I plan to just hang it in my cellar!
Check out how to store onions in pantyhose from "Mavis Butterfield at 100 Dollars a Month."
For more information on growing and harvesting garlic check out Cornell Gardening at http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene568b.html
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Stay tuned in the spring for Harvesting and Storing Garlic!
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Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!
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