Thursday, June 19, 2014

a time to dig

After a couple of seasons of trying to grow garlic from spring until summer with failed attempts I came across a message that I know was meant just for me.  After I read it it made total sense.  "Plant garlic bulbs on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest day of the year."  Shortest day being December 20th and the longest day being June 20th.  Maybe this isn't the case in all parts of the world.  Our local Wal-Mart sells garlic bulbs in the spring, which is why I thought they should be planted in the spring.  But fall planting or planting later in the year makes more sense.  Just like tulips, crocus or buttercups are planted in the fall to spend the winter sleeping underground only to emerge when the weather warms up in spring.  How lovely!  The first year that I tried flip-flopping my garlic planting schedule it turned out to be a great success!

This past year, we had horrible luck with our main garden all summer and decided to move it over for better drainage purposes.  This meant for me that the garlic couldn't be planted in it's normal spot.  So, I hem hawed around until it was almost too late to plant.  I had ordered and received my garlic a couple of months before December 20th and had hung on to it just wondering where to plant it.  I wound up planting the garlic bulbs in the garden spot at the day care.  It was a very rainy time, I planted them in the mud pretty much and expected them to all rot to pieces.  I frowned every time I glanced towards the small garden behind the fence and just sort of shrugged at my lack of our big garden to house them.  All that dread turned into glee when the foliage popped up this spring.  I had two neat little rows of garlic. . . thank goodness.

So today, being June 19th. . . the longest day of the year eve, I went ahead and dug my garlic out of the ground.  I was so proud that I didn't nick even one of the heads.  I am pretty sure I have decided to plant next year's crop in the garden at the day care.  If your garlic growing time is similar to mine then it's time to dig them up!  Knock a little of the dirt off the roots, let them rest in a shaded area (mine is under our front porch on the dirt) for a few days or until the leaves are browned and can be braided if that's the kind of garlic you have.  Hope you are as happy with your crop as I am with mine!

I will save a couple of the biggest head of garlic to take apart and replant in six months.  Other than that I take the easy road and order my garlic through  They always have a good selection IF you get to them quickly in the fall.  They tend to start running out of the good stuff pretty early.  We live in Tennessee and prefer the soft neck varieties because they supposedly do well in our zone.  Plus I like to braid them and hang them up in the pantry and you can't braid the hard neck kind.

Here's a good video on braiding garlic.

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