Zone 6 - it's almost garlic time !

raisemybeds(SouthernCT)July 14, 2007

I know I am not the only one in this zone thinking about digging up the garlic patch. I want to let my hardnecks get just a little browner before I do. I have officially stopped watering them now. I might leave them in the ground until I return from a trip next weekend, but I have my eye on that fabulous exciting garlic, one of my favorite crops all year.

How about you - how's that garlic looking ?

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In my zone 5 the tips have browned, but it isn't completely done yet. I love garlic. I don't grow enough of it and really how can one grow enough?

It is superbly healthy to eat, adds yummy flavor to recipes, stores pretty well once cured, I mean it's just perfect!

I use it for pickles, dilly beans, the worlds best garlic bread, seasoning on various things and much to the dismay of my coworkers sometimes I just plain eat it and have the body odor the next day to prove it ;-)

The best part is it is so easy to grow. Rarely bothered by pests, doesn't really need fertilizer just moderately fertile soil. Doesn't really care about water either. Sure, it needs some, but it doesn't wilt when dry and generally doesn't rot when wet (as long as it's warm). It's easy and yummy.

I can't wait for it to be done.

Now, if I may indulge myself a bit I would like to share my recipe for the world's best garlic bread. It's super easy and tastes so good it will become the only way anyone reading this will want to make garlic bread (I really am full of myself, aren't I? ;-)

Here it is in all it's simplicity.

Take some bread (french, italian, whatever) and cut it in half lengthwise.

Spread some cooking oil on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350 and bake the bread until it just gets crisp.

At the same time peel a whole head of garlic and toss it into a pot of boiling water. Boil it until it mashes easily (about 10 minutes).

Remove bread from oven and drain water from the boiled garlic.

Add 1 stick of butter to the pan and simply allow it to melt with the mashed garlic. Take the garlic butter mixture and drizzle it over the bread and put it back into the oven for 5 minutes.

For a bit more pizazz and color sprinkle Italian seasoning on the bread (thyme and oregano).

Yummy! Waaaay better than store bought garlic bread and ignoring how full of myself I am, it is better than any restaurant garlic bread too. It's easy and it rocks.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 11:50PM
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I harvested all of my fall-planted garlic a couple weeks ago. I left the spring-planted garlic in. It's still green, so I'm leaving it to do a little more growing.

It should pretty much be cured by now, shouldn't it? I got my spice jars in the mail, so I'll be thinking about pickling some soon.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 1:47AM
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granite(z6 NC)

I pulled most of mine earlier in the week, I'll probably get the rest of the onions and garlic tomorrow. They're calling for rain on Monday.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 1:58AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

This and Teri's onion thread got me motivated so I pulled much of my garlic, (106 heads of 10 varieties), still left another 24 in the ground to see if the drip irrigation will keep them sizing up. Upon further inspection, I actually found some with nearly withered stalks--almost nothing left--like onion stalks dried up! Yet the heads were still intact and not separating.

I have to get more motivation and will look for my digicamera battery & charger, may take a little time but will try to post some pics...


    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Mark - way to go. Do you have hardneck varieties? Granite - I would think if rain is in the forecast it is fine to just wait another week. There should be no problem leaving garlic to dry in the ground for a while longer than expected. Nothing will happen to it, right, garlic growers? This brings up the question of whether it's possible to leave garlic in the soil to long, and how long would be too long? Comments?

Most of us garlic hogs want ours as soon as we can get our hands on it, so I assume this is not TOO much of a matter ....

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 8:40PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

OMG, this thread is making my mouth water. Here in zone 5-6 harvest is still a few weeks away. To answer raisemybeds's question, a week or two doesn't seem to matter. More than that and the cloves may start to soften or sprout.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 9:32PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

Most are hardnecks... I bought one of the "postage" CARE packages from Martin late last year, some were the "runts of the litter" but still headed up well here, plus traded some tomato seeds for a few vaireties on ebay.

Inchelium Red (ebay)
Spanish Roja (ebay)
Italian Purple (ebay)
Georgia Crystal (ebay)
German Extra Hardy (ebay)
Elephant Garlic (already had)

I didn't realize til it was almost too late that I ate all my garlic & didn't save any to plant! (except Elephant)


    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 10:18PM
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I generally try to get all my garlic, yellow potato onions, and catawissa onions out of the ground in the 2nd week of July. I fall plant all the above. I also take a lot of my onions out if they are large enough to avoid rot around the neck. I don't think I lose much in size by harvesting early-not much growth occurs after July 15 in this area. But, rot can set in and take a real toll.

Had the nicest crop of elephant garlic this year I've ever had. Some heads as big as a soft ball. Wish I could figure out how to get a reliable sprout from the corns on the bottom of the bulbs. I don't think I've ever had more than 1 or 2 sprout.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 9:11AM
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myclementine(NW Idaho)

I have never planted garlic but I want to.
Can you guys tell me the basics for planting garlic? I am in zone 6.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:21AM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

myclementine, the really basics are:

good soil, though they'll take just about anything
plant in the Fall, a couple inches deep
separate cloves from head, plant each clove with root end down
plant the biggest cloves to get the biggest heads
wait til spring, if you see green, there's a good chance it was successful
harvest when stems start getting brown

That's the "in a nutshell" version! Many more little details with varieties, fertilizing, scapes, hardneck vs softneck, etc.

Here's a few pics I promised, this is just partial harvest. I converted a 3ft x 7ft raised bed from tomatoes to garlic. I took a flat piece of CRW (concrete reinforcing wire, used to make tall tomato cages) and laid it over the bed and planted a clove in each opening... so 6 inch spacing in each direction.

Also, out back in the heavily composted "pumpkin patch", I have drip irrigation snaking thru the bed, makng 180 degree turns each 2ft of distance, kinda like zigzagging but hairpin turns. The line starts heading west, then does a 180 east, then a 180 west, etc, like an "S" covering about 100 sq ft. I planted cloves on each side of 2 curves--maybe 8-10 cloves.

I harvested most in the raised bed except about a half dozen, and I harvested about half in the pumpkin patch area. Pictured are only about a half dozen varieties, I didn't want to pile them all up and maybe get something mixed up. Most I marked the stalk with a Sharpie marker for now, then will keep them separated until dry. I didn't clean them off yet, just pulled them recently. I had to really compress the pics to get them to 60KB each.

The last pic, I put a few Elephant Garlics in the pic--the two on the left and the "round" with no stalk next to them. A "round" is what happens when the cloves are small--they form a big round ball that doesn't divide into cloves; these are actually much bigger than a clove and will give you big heads if planted in the Fall.

Also, Elephant often puts out little "cormes" that are hard and yellow, attached to the heads, see pic. These are hard to get to grow but they can be planted. Maybe if you score them with a knife they'd sprout better?

There's a U.S. Quarter in the pics for size scale/comparison purposes. Some I probably could have left in a few more days but don't know how much bigger they would grow. But I did leave some in to find out...

My biggest (besides Elephant) were Siberian--3 are pictured just to the right of the Elephant garlic in the bottom pic, or the first 3 heads on the left in the first 2 pics.

Now, to think of ways to use them!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 12:01AM
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Korney, those are BEAUTIFUL garlics! I take it you grow them in very compost rich soil? Mine are sitting in my dining room drying. Next weekend I will braid them, pickle them, dry them, whatever else I'm going to do with them.

Oh, yeah. EAT them!

I got a good harvest of firm, healthy garlic, but the bulbs were small. I blame that on my "moondust" soil. I've been amending, but it's still mainly moondust. I guess it's proof, though, that garlic can grow just about anywhere.

I've ordered a ton of garlic for planting this fall. I'm thinking of trying a very small crop of shallots, too. Onions don't agree with me unless they're very well cooked down, so I probably won't try those.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 1:33AM
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One of the biggest conundrums with garlic-growing, I find, is being able to put aside enough large cloves for October planting. I have been trying to increase my yield each season by about 20 percent as I do not yet produce enough heads to quite get my family through the year to the next harvest. I am still going on my original order of 1/2 lb. assorted hardnecks from 3 years ago. This time I should harvest about 120 heads, out of which I need to set aside about 140 large cloves for re-planting. THAT will kill me. I may have to just bite the bullet and order more. How do the rest of you manage with the clove-saving issue?

Oh, and, that's some beautiful garlic there, Mark. I'll be right over with a nice loaf of Italian.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 10:27AM
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