We harvested our garlic yesterday.
Today we built drying racks, and hung the harvested garlic heads to dry, which will take a few weeks. Then they'll be available for us to use, sell, and store. We got the idea for the racks from the UNH Extension website page on garlic. We used 1" mesh plastic garden fence for the grid, though, instead of wire mesh. We think they'll save us a lot of time. Normally, several harvested heads of garlic are tied together with string and hung up to dry.
Last October we planted a little over 1100 cloves of garlic, and yesterday we dug up about 1050 heads of garlic. We feel pretty good about that return. Especially since we'd never grown garlic before. We were also amazed at how easy the process was. After preparing the raised beds, we planted the cloves and then mulched it all with straw for the winter. The garlic starts growing underground in the fall, but it doesn't emerge until spring. It's not as early as crocus, but it was the first thing growing in the garden in the spring. We left the mulch on all growing season, for the usual reasons, weed control and soil moisture retention. Because of all the rain we had, we never had to water it once. We weeded it just a little bit a couple times, fertilized it a couple times, and that was it. Then we dug it up, hung it in the rack, and when it's dry, we'll cut the tops and roots off. Then it'll be ready for us to enjoy it. Another little bonus was harvesting the scapes a few weeks ago. They taste just like the bulbs, but milder.
We love garlic and use it in almost everything we cook. We also use it in the garlic dill pickles that we make, and in the world's best pesto that we make. We are excited to finally have our own to use and share with our customers.
By the way, if any of you garlic lovers are ever in Los Angeles (or San Francisco), visit The Stinking Rose restaurant. They specialize in garlic recipes, and it is featured in everything on the menu. Steve