|Garlic (Allium sativum) growing in between oregano and chives, outside of the fenced-in vegetable garden. Note the pink bulbils on one of the garlic plants.|
|Garlic umbel with bulbils and flowers.|
The bulbils formed are clones of the parent plant, produced asexually. They are not seeds. I generally let the bulbils fall to the ground to start new plants wherever they land, but the bulbils can also be collected and planted wherever you would like new garlic plants.
Usually the flowers on the umbel die before pollination and seed production can occur. For those interested in growing true garlic seed, see this detailed article, which describes how the bulbils and flowers on a garlic umbel compete for resources. Removing the bulbils from the umbel with tweezers allows the tiny flowers to develop without withering, so that seed production becomes possible.
Garlic is ready to harvest when a few of the bottom leaves have turned brown, but the top leaves are still green.
|Garlic that is ready to be harvested.|
|Garlic ready for harvest|
This weekend I harvested about half of our garlic. Since it had not rained in a while, the soil was dry and loose. I simply grabbed hold of the plants and pulled them out. It is best to wait for a dry day to harvest garlic. Depending on your soil type, you may need to loosen the soil before harvesting your garlic plants.
After harvesting, I placed the garlic on a slatted wooden bench on a covered porch. It's important for the garlic to cure in an area with good ventilation that is out of the sun. Some folks like to make garlic braids. I find the slatted bench method works just fine and is a lot quicker.
|Garlic curing on a slatted bench.|
The harvested garlic bulbs are different sizes. I suspect the smaller ones have grown from bulbils.
We still are enjoying garlic from last year's harvest, which means we made it the whole year without running out of garlic! After I cured the garlic last year, I cut off the stems and stored the bulbs in paper bags in an unheated basement. The basement stays cool all year - not quite a root cellar, but good enough for storing garlic.
Elsewhere in the garden:
We've been harvesting the last of the Cascadian snap peas, the first of the green beans, a few early cherry tomatoes, Red Russian kale, and the ever-constant chives. The green beans are from the black beans I planted in June that I had saved from last year's harvest (see this post). We harvest many as green beans, but we will also let some mature into black beans.
|Green beans, peas and chives|
|Red Russian kale, Gardener's delight heirloom tomatoes, chives, green beans, strawberries|
This has been one of our best years for strawberries. We've had a steady stream all season.
This is what our asparagus patch looks like now that we've stopped harvesting it. (See here for what this patch looked like in the spring.) Photosynthesis in the fronds takes place all summer and nourishes the roots, allowing the plants to send out new asparagus spears next spring. The fronds are over four feet tall and beautiful. Don't make the mistake I made of planting asparagus along the south side of a garden where it shades the garden.
(This post was shared on Harvest Mondays, Green Thumb Thursdays and Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop.)