Country Living Series

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Garlic update

Remember the garlic I planted in the snow last winter? While not every clove grew, I'm pleased to report that those which did grow are doing beautifully.


This is the comical stage where the flower heads tie themselves up in knots -- literally. (Sorry these photos are blurry, but at least you can see the knots.)


Within about a couple of weeks or so, the heads will unknot and straighten up, then bloom into garlic flowers, then those flowers will form a round head of seeds. The seeds are very intense in flavor and we've chewed on them but not used them as a spice (though I don't see why we couldn't). And to answer the obvious question -- I don't know if we could plant garlic seeds (as opposed to garlic cloves) or not. I suppose it's worth experimenting with.

14 comments:

  1. Beautiful garlic, Patrice! Yours fared better than mine this season.

    I plant a hard necked porcelain.

    I planted the seeds once, and in one season they grew into a roundish "clove" which if the mice hadn't gotten, I think I could have planted the following year to grow into a plant from which I could harvest a regular bulb.

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  2. All of my material on garlic says that you should snip these 'snake heads' off before they get too big and flower since it takes nutrients away from the garlic bulb itself. I snip them off every year before they get that big and then see a great improvement in bulb size after that. Just an FYI...your mileage may vary. 8-)

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  3. Beth at Red Barn FarmAugust 7, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    The "snake heads" are called Scapes. They are excellent sauted in butter! Janet is right about the bulb being bigger if you remove the scape it forces the growth of the plant to focus on the bulb not the flower which is the seed part of the plant. I generally leave about 5 or so of mine to flower til dry. Those I save for seed for the next season's crop.

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  4. Do you plant your garlic away from the rest of your garden? I have heard that garlic doesn't grow well with other plants, such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I'd love to grow my own garlic; I'm just trying to see how I should go about it. Thanks. Katy

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  5. Katy I plant my garlic here and there throughout my garden to try and deter pests on the other plants. But I'm not the worlds greatest gardener :)
    Amanda

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  6. Yes, there is 'companion planting' for garlic but you should just dive right in a stick some in the ground! It couldn't be simpler. Start off with a just a few cloves for kicks, just to see how easy it is. Here in MA I plant my garlic in early November and then put an inch or two of straw over it. Sometimes we have a warm spell and the garlic will sprout a good 2-3 inches above ground but they winter over just fine with snow on them. The same with sahllots. I pick mine when they are ready, usually in July. You have to watch them carefully towards picking time - you want to give them enough time in the ground to get a big bulb but not too long because you will loose all of the cover (the papery film that covers and protects them when they are cured/dried). These are just a few hints. Look for some good detailed info on the internet.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  7. Oh yes, please snip off the flowering stalk. We've always called them garlic whistles. Cook them as you would asparagus. I look forward to them every year. Such a treat. Congratulations on your garlic success!

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  8. What size would you cut them? When they look like the ones in Patrice's pictures, when they are just starting to shoot up, or sometime in between?

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  9. I cut mine sometime BEFORE the majority of them reach this stage only because I thought you had to. I never heard about sauteing them in butter!!! I simply MUST try that next year when I clip them. I imagine one or two would go nice on the grill brushed with olive oil while I am grilling the first few zucchini. Oooooh, yummy!

    For the record, this year's garlic crop is the worst I have ever had. I didn't bother to cover them with straw this fall and there was very little fertilizer/manure in my garden. Bad health luck - Lyme Disease attack in Apr/May/Jun and I didn't get any new fertilizer on the garden like I intended this spring. In fact, I am lucky to have a garden at all. Nor did I weed at all since I was rationing my strength for the 'serious' food crops. My heritage stiff-neck garlic suffered for it, but I hope to redeem a few of the nicest bulbs this fall when I plant them again, this time with tender loving care. My entire crop (I usually plant 144, some for me, many for gifts) that I have had for years came from one lonely tiny stiff-neck garlic that someone gave me ages ago. They multiply magnificently so that you can bless others with your crop.

    Patrice, sorry for the garlic sidebar here but it is such a great plant for anyone to try that I felt the need to chime in! 8-)

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  10. I've grown stiff neck garlic for years here in Wyoming zone 4a. I plant some of my larger cloves about the end of Aug. or first of Sept. Some of them do come up but I don't have irrigation water after the middle of Sept. and I want to get the plants started while I can water them in. I often plant my garlic among the asparagus since that bed doesn't get tilled up in the spring. I dig my garlic in late July of the following year when I see the lower leaves on the stalk beginning to turn tan or brown. I put the whole plants in cardboard boxes under our deck and let them dry for a week or so. Then I use clippers to cut off the stalks an inch or so above the bulb and brush off any extra dirt. I store my garlic in my basement at about 50 degrees for almost the whole winter. Hope that this helps.

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  11. Loved your garlic pictures. Reminds me the field my grandfather and uncle grew. It was a family tradition for the boys to pull the garlic, the little kids to "trim" their "hair" and we big girls braided them to sell at the roadside. That is how I learned to french-braid. My grandfather kept the dried seeds in a little mint tin in his pocket and snacked on them to keep the "dollies" away:-) Wish I could grow them down here in VA...to hot and humid I think?

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  12. If you want the bulbs, snip the scapes off. It puts more energy into the bulb growing. You can chop and use the scapes like green garlic. You can also process them into garlic scape pesto (delicious!) or pickle and freeze them (we've done all 3 this year with our hard neck German Music variety).

    We had a pretty good harvest here in Northern VA and we're going to try some dehydrating (making our own garlic powder) as well!

    Great patch!

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  13. Once again, as others have stated, cut off the scapes. Your garlic will be so much better without them .... they are definitely a welcome addition in our home as well. I cut them into 1" pieces and freeze them. Great to add to soups and stews in the colder months. They are wonderful to add to stir fry as well.

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    Replies
    1. Try blending some green tops and bulbs with melted butter and use on garlic toast toast when having spaghetti. been doing it for years and family loves it.

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