Once mid-July passes, we scan the weather reports for a run of warm, dry days to harvest garlic in. We pulled samples from each of the three varieties we planted last fall — Phillips (above), and Music and Rossa di Sulmona (below) — to check on how they’re progressing. At the same time, this gives us some juicy, fresh garlic to cook with, one of the true delights of the season.
Our first planting of garlic was in 2008, and originally started with seven varieties. We’ve since winnowed it down to Music and Phillips, and only recently added the Rossa di Sulmona, an impulse purchase.
Along with favorable weather conditions, we look for the bottom two or three leaves to die off as a sign that the garlic is ready to harvest. Of equal importance are the remaining leaves, each representing a layer of protective papery skin surrounding the bulb. We look for five to seven left to ensure long storage.
This is the second year of planting the Rossa di Sulmona (above), which is still adapting to our soil and climate. This year’s harvest is promising, with enough seed for planting come fall. It’s said that red garlic is sweeter, and this particular variety is especially prized in Italy for its mild flavor.
At first glance, Music (above) is often mistaken for German Extra Hardy. The large bulbs characteristically contain only four to five cloves, making it a less economical choice for planting. However, its rich, nutty flavor — a clear favorite in a tasting against other garlics — makes it worth the space necessary for propagation.
Another red-skinned variety, Phillips (above), is named for the place in Maine it originates from. It comes up later in spring than the Music, though catches up and is harvestable at the same time as the others. Once the bulbs are pulled, they’re left in the sun briefly to dry the clinging dirt.
Through trial and error, we’ve learned to strip an outer layer off each bulb to rid them of any soil-borne pathogens that might affect their storage. After being cleaned, bulbs of Phillips (above) are ready for curing.
The bulbs are laid out on screens in a dry, warm room, and a fan to keep the air circulating. After only a day of curing, the Phillips (above) along with the rest of of the bulbs are already pinking back up.
Coming full circle, leftover garlic (above and below) from last season’s harvest, a year later and still viable.
Harvesting this week:
Garlic, favas, peas, kale, chard, radishes, and salad greens; planted onions and leeks.
Putting-up: Frozen Romano green beans.
I had no idea there were different types of garlic and I’m allegedly a garlic lover. I love this harvest and the upcoming one sounds very promising as well. Good luck! (& good eating!)
A great looking garlic harvest. We are without garlic this year since we moved last fall and didn’t have a garden to plant in until April of this year.
Music has become a favorite for us and is largely all I planted this year. It has excellent flavor and is a great grower. We harvested our garlic two weeks ago and it has been hanging in the shop drying down. I can trim and store it pretty much anytime now, but plan to wait one more week to be sure it is as dry as possible going into storage.
I love homegrown garlic – there truly is nothing better (compared to the tasteless supermarket rubbish!) Looking forward to November to harvest mine in Australia – although I still have quite alot left from last year’s harvest!
Your garlic harvest is beautiful. My first year with garlic, grew German Extra Hardy and Red Chesnok. That’s an interesting tip about stripping off an outer layer before curing. Will have to experiment with that.
I too had no idea there were so many types of garlic. I’d like to plant some in the fall myself.
Oh, my do I have garlic envy! Just beautiful.
“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” – Alice May Brock
Everything you grow is just beautiful! I like that you have different varieties.
I harvested my garlic earlier this month and I hope I did a better job than last year in getting it ready to last several months.
Such gorgeous photographs! And great information about garlic. They certainly don’t tell you what type of garlic they’re selling in the stores.
It looks fantastically healthy ! My attempts were so pathetic that I gave up in disgust but seeing yours, I might just try again!
Your garlic and your photos are wonderful. There really is nothing like really fresh garlic. The only time I ever roast whole heads of garlic is when I harvest it. It’s such a treat.
There are many different kinds of garlic! The hard part is picking just one, lol
I am growing Pink Music, Martin’s Heirloom, Ail Rose De Latric,Ail Rose De Violet, and Rossa di Sulmona. Beautiful and Tasty.
What an interesting post and your photos are terrific. One of them framed would be nice in a kitchen. :)
Beautiful photographs. Not grown in our gardens but we always come home with great quantities from local farmers’ markets. Delicious and nutritious!
My garlic got mixed up during harvesting, need to return to the garlic festival and start over again with correct labeling.