Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's garlic planting time! It is so easy, everyone should do it!!

This years harvest. We love garlic so this is always a welcome sight. 
The seed for next year is separate from this. 

It is that time. I feel a real sense of satisfaction at garlic planting time. In my garden, garlic planting happens September 15. I tend to plant on the earlier side. I clean this years harvest. I choose the best heads of garlic for planting. I figure out how many I would like for next year, and I just count out the number of cloves per head.

I compost and do any amending to the bed I plan to plant. I use my dibber and punch holes about three inches deep and 6-8" apart. Place a clove in each hole. They go in the hole point up. You can sort of see where there roots will grow on the bottom of the clove. Fill the holes with dirt, water and ignore. 

Some gardeners recommend mulching. I have mulched and I have not mulched. I didn't notice any real difference. 

In the early spring you will see the garlic starting to grow. Let them grow. Treat them like any vegetable in the garden. Food...water. In June you will start to see the curly garlic scrapes forming on the tops of hard-neck garlic. Cut them off and use them for garlic scape pesto. {recipe below} Truly one of the most delicious things ever. Shortly you will start to see some brown leaf tips. Slow down the watering and stop entirely when it starts getting very brown.  I wait until just over half of the leaves on the garlic are completely dead. Time to dig up your precious garlic. Dig up one or two and see if they look well formed, and if they look good, dig them up.

Hang the garlic in a cool darkish place for a month....or more. Not an exact science really. When cured take them down, cut the hard stalk about an inch or two long. Peel of the outer layer of skin that comes away easily and brush the dirt off the roots and trim them. This is where you keep the best for planting in fall and.........then start the whole process again!!!

Garlic Scape Pesto (Delicious)

1 cup of garlic scapes, top flowery part removed, cut into  1/4 inch slices
1/3 cup of walnuts or pinenuts.
3/4 cup of olive oil 
1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
black pepper to taste 

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. For 1/2 pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

I freeze my pesto in an ice-cube tray to keep for winter. 

1 comment:

Mark Willis said...

I have tried growing garlic a couple of times, but the yeild has been disappointing. Maybe my soil doesn't suit it, or maybe our sun is not strong enough?