We have our very first harvest of garlic! Over the last few weeks I’ve pulled a couple test bulbs to see if they were ready, but today everything was ready!! You can tell that is ready for harvest when the bottom two leaves are dried up and the third is partially dried up. If you wait too long, the bulb will split apart and but preserve as well.
I took the big garden fork (the one I gave to Josh for Christmas last year) and started loosening up the soil around the garlic while trying not to dislodge the corn, salad greens or peas.
Our garden holds water really well, so every clump of garlic I pulled up had about 4 pounds of wet dirt attached to it. No amount of shaking would dislodge it, so I resorted to picking off the clods so that the garlic would dry out faster. I went against all the rules and dipped about half of the bulbs in a bucket of muddy water to get the huge chunks of dirt off. Next year this won’t be an issue because the garlic will be in an area of our property where we don’t water–under the grape vines. I plan to double the garlic next year so that I can give some to friends and family as gifts. Also, I think we can eat lots of garlic in the year 2022. I can guarantee that.
We have a beautiful harvest of 100 bulbs. They’ll be drying in the carport for the next 2-4 weeks. It’s going to be 103-113 over the next few days, so we might end up with roasted garlic. No worries though, they’re shaded and there’s a slight breeze.
My next garden task, after the weather stops having a tantrum, is to aggressively prepare the grape area for growing garlic. We have the chickens out there amending the soil, but we also need to aerate with the garden fork, kill some grass with cardboard and wood chips, then add some fresh rabbit manure. I want next year’s harvest to be phenomenal and massive.
We have a massive heat wave hitting us this weekend. Highs will be in the hundred-and-teens. We’re doing everything we can to prepare. We’ve frozen blocks of ice for our rabbits, checked the water levels in the garden (those soakers hoses water deeply!) and have added extra water and shade for our chickens and rabbits.
While we may experience some non-preventable losses this weekend, we have done everything we can to be prepared.
The two animals that don’t seem to be bothered by any of this heat are the Indian Runner ducks and Karen (our St Croix–a heat tolerant sheep). The ducks + ducklings spend the day splashing and lounging. And Karen seems to not mind the heat.
Josh and I did a garden walkthrough last night as part of date night (but it’s also becoming a fun 2x daily tradition). He collected soil samples from four parts of our garden and I planted bush beans where the struggling peas are. We came inside the house, dripping with sweat. This heat coupled with high humidity reminds me of the very small, teeny tiny country of El Salvador. When we check the weather for El Salvador, we can’t complain about our little heat wave. They have high heat and high humidity 6 months out of the year–plus lightning, volcanoes, and organized crime. We just have two out of the three in Portland.
Our garlic is looking so, so good. I’m looking forward to a generous harvest in early July. I want to save a good amount to use as seed for this September when we plant garlic under the grape vines. Can you imagine what life would be like with unlimited free garlic??