...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


harvesting + curing garlic

Time to harvest garlic!

We love garlic.  And we use lots of it in cooking. 
One of my favorite things is to roast it
until it's caramelized and soft as butter
and smear it all over crostini with olive oil and salt.  (and sometimes cheese!)
When we roast it like that we tend to roast 5-6 bulbs at a time... 
So the bottom line is we go through a whole lot of garlic in a year!

This season we might have actually grown enough to get us through the year.

In the fall we planted cloves from our friend Wendy's prolific gardens.
Her varieties are spectacular producers, very robust, and delicious!

mid March. 
They were all coming up like champs in this bed.
Wendy taught us we could plant them closer together and get a better yield,
so we really crammed them in there!

mid May

mid July

We started the harvest last week...

Those few scapes that we left on for fun have split open now,
showing their treasure troves of seed.

We've never grown garlic from seed,
but I'm tempted to give it a try sometime...

so beautiful...

The bulbs always remind me of garden gnomes
with scruffy beards!!!

The dogs like to help with the harvest by keeping us company. 

The first bed of little aromatic beauties have been drying in our wood shed for 4-5 days.
It's not ideal, but it stays relatively dark yet has good air circulation...

The purpose for this stage of drying is to pull the moisture down from the greens -
the bulb will continue to be nourished for a few days until they dry up.

Now it's time to cut off the dried greenery. 
A small kitchen knife or scissors will do just fine.
We use an old tree stump as a cutting block.

Wendy taught us to leave 6-8" of the stalk on for the next phase of the drying process...

It'll pull out the rest of the moisture and further strengthen the bulb's storage capacity.

After we've trimmed them all down,
we lay them out to dry on old window screens propped up in our garden shed.
Highly improvisational, as are most things we do. 
Wendy has a whole gorgeous system with racks she's made just for this purpose...
Then again, she's a real farmer, and we just pretend!

Our homemade chick brooder has a screen on top so the bulbs have a place there for now. 
The rest are just more old window screens propped up wherever we can fit them!

Beautiful rows.
I'm not sure why, but I do love to stare at rows of food.
It does something to my psyche.
Maybe I suffered famine in a past life.
Maybe it reminds me that I'll be well fed!

So that's it for now...
We'll leave the garlic to dry / cure in the shed
on our drying racks
for at least 2 weeks. 

Then the final fun begins...!

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