So I had my first major harvest yesterday. I have harvested some herbs up to this point, but yesterday I pulled my garlic. I wanted to harvest last week, and I had pulled off the drip line a couple of weeks ago in preparation.

But on the day last week that I was going to pull them, it rained. And it rained on and off for the rest of the week.Now I am by no means an expert at gardening anything, but I know that you want your garlic to be pretty dry when you pull it. And I try not to complain about any moisture we receive, especially when we are in a drought, so I was only hoping for a couple of dry days in a row, so the ground wouldn’t be soggy when I pulled the garlic. So when Sunday was dry and Monday was dry, I thought that I would be able to pull it Monday night. And Monday night at dinner, when I saw storm clouds moving in, I ran out to the garden with a basket and my kids, and we pulled the garlic.

Now before I tell you how much garlic we harvested, I have to tell you about last year’s harvest. Last year was my first real year having a garden (the garden that I dug into the backyard of the rental home we had 6 years ago was done so badly that I can’t really count it as anything but a learning experience). I wanted to plant garlic. But my mother had never planted garlic in her gardens when I was living at home, so I had no experience at all with this plant. I only knew vegetables that you plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. So I didn’t learn that garlic needed to be planted in late fall until January of 2012.

I was advised at that time that since it was a mild winter I might be able to get a crop if I planted the garlic immediately. So I bought some seed garlic in January. Then I didn’t plant it . . . until March! We didn’t have our garden beds ready until then, so the garlic didn’t get planted until then.

Even then I might have had a few small heads to harvest. The garlic shot up through my mulch with beautiful green leaves. But, again, I was operating under the paradigm of plant in the spring, harvest in the fall. So I didn’t harvest until September, well after all the foliage had died completely back. I was only able to find one, small, rotting head of garlic.

This year, I harvested forty heads.


Some were small, most were average, and about a half dozen were nice, large heads, which are the ones that I will be saving for seed.  The variety that did the best is, I think, Broadleaf Czech. I bought it from Seed Savers International. If you want to buy from them this year, I would place your orders early, as they have limited supplies this year.

You might be wondering about how I have the garlic set up for curing. You are supposed to cure garlic in a dark, well ventilated room for a couple of weeks. My house is quite light and airy, and the basement is unfinished, so there is actually quite a bit of light down there as well. So I took an old ripped sheet and spread it on a table downstairs, laid the garlic bulbs on it, and then pulled the other half of the sheet over the top. It is still well ventilated, but now it is out of the light. In a couple of weeks I will brush off the remainder of the dirt,  and experiment with braiding it. I will separate out my seed garlic bulbs, of course, and store them separately (I will probably buy a few more seed garlic too.) This fall I am planning on planting around 75 garlic, maybe more, as only about 2/3rds of my planting came up this year.