I am so overdue with giving a front garden update and these days it is a very different area from what you see over at the Front Garden page. It is still a long way from 'done' though and actually, given our plans for a food forest, I don't think it ever will be 'done' but I am still yet to progress with the drip watering system and we are still building up the beds and there's this here and that there and... oh, I think I just better get on to that update soon. Right now however, it's all about Garlic!
When we returned from our camping trip I noticed our garlic plants seemed to be faring a little poorly. I am a complete newbie to this business of homegrown garlic and I wasn't expecting them to be ready until well into our summer months, so I got a bit confused. With my fingers, I brushed back the soil a little ways and discovered some pretty healthy looking bulbs. I've been told that garlic is ready for harvest once their tops die off so I figured I must have got my time frames wrong and decided to pull them up. I did a quick check on my Southern Hemisphere moon planting guide which told me the ideal time to harvest any grain, fruit or root was during a waning moon, in a 'dry' astrological sign. Apparently, harvesting at this time is favourable for better storage qualities. Although technically a bulb, garlic still falls into the 'root' category with edibles and when I discovered that the alignment of the moon and stars was bang on the date of that day last week, away I went with my trowel in hand.
Like I mentioned, I have never tried growing garlic before and this time only came about because back in May I had to make a choice between tossing a bag of spent bulbs into the compost or poking the cloves (which already had a few green shoots) into a spare half wine barrel. I chose the latter just so I could experiment and have a bit of fun. I did no reading or research - which is very unlike me - and all I had in my memory bank was a vague recollection of a playground conversation I'd had with another keen vegie grower. The harvesting bit caught me rather by surprise and to be honest I just didn't have the head space late last week to do any 'looking up' on the process so I just went with my instinct. I remember seeing a few photos on other people's blogs where they hung the garlic and we had, had a little rain the night before so I thought it best for them to spend a couple of days air drying before preparing them any further.
I then snipped the roots and tops off, gave them a brush (with a soft brush from the kids toy basket - I had to improvise) and now they are in a paper bag in the cupboard awaiting some sort of culinary experience.
I'm still not sure if I followed the 'correct protocol' and we are still finishing off the last of the bought garlic so I haven't even cracked into a bulb yet. What do you think? Does all of that process sound like the right way to have gone about it? The whole thing was pretty easy really. I'll definitely be adding homegrown garlic to the list of regular plantings. I suppose I should do a taste test and maybe even split a couple of those bulbs up and plant the cloves out somewhere new. Maybe another crop in six months...?