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Growing Great Garlic

Last October we planted about half an acre of hard necked garlic. Hard necked garlic is different from what you typically find in the grocery stores, which is grown for its ability to withstand shipping and long term storage. Hard necked garlic is known for its richer flavor and large cloves and the stiff neck in the center of the clove. From hard necked garlic you also get a scape in the spring, which is  delicious in pesto or with new potatoes or eggs.

Load of Fresh Garlic

            We grow the Music variety which is a Canadian variety developed by Al Music.Music has a good sweet pungent flavor, with large, easily peeled cloves. Music garlic also stores for about 6 months.

            In June we started to harvest the garlic scapes (the center of the plant where the flower would develop). We need to harvest the scapes from the plants to maintain the bulb size, other than that all the plants energy goes into the flower.

Harvesting Garlic

Soon after pulling the scapes we started harvesting garlic to sell it fresh at market. As so many of our customers had been asking for our garlic, because they were sick of the stuff available in store, we sold the fresh garlic with the green tops. The fresh garlic has all the flavor of the dried garlic, you just don’t have to fight to get the dried skin off the cloves.

Garlic hanging to dry in the barn

            Last Monday we dug the rest of our garlic field, filling a wagon with all the garlic. This is not an easy job, as garlic forms large strong roots.  After pulling all the garlic, we bunched it and hung it in the barn to dry. There will be no visits from vampires in the next few weeks at Willowtree as the wind blows through the barn. Once the garlic is dried we will cut off the tops and roots and clean the garlic. This is a very stinky job and so if you smell garlic on us you will know why.

            But garlic is a great flavor in many dishes and is also known to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. And Music garlic is also high in allicin which helps to boost immune systems and circulations. So the good out weighs the smell.