The Great Garlic Harvest
This year we went big with our garlic crop. We planted 4 acres of garlic last fall for this year. This is about 10 times more than what we had last year, because last year we sold out of garlic early and had none left for seed.
The garlic did fabulous this year. It sized up nicely and we have a lot of beautiful bulbs and many are jumbo sized. As many of you know we have been digging up fresh garlic to sell at the markets since the spring. Well the time has come to start harvesting the garlic for drying. All this hot dry weather has helped the garlic mature and start to dry, which means the great garlic harvest has started. Since Wednesday the boys have been digging, pulling and clipping the garlic in the field. 4 acres is a lot of garlic to pull especially in the heat. But these hot days are perfect for drying the garlic.
Since we have so much garlic this year we had to come up with a new technique for drying it, because we would not be able to hang it all in the barn. We came up with an idea of putting it in crates with a lot of slits in the side and putting it on the fan for the hay mow. This is a powerful fan that is typically used to force air through the hay to dry it. Instead we are using the fan to blow air through the crates to dry our garlic. The barn now has a garlic cloud around it; you can smell it before you get to the barn. There won’t be any vampires around here for a long time.
Once the garlic is dried we will then clip the roots off and remove the outer sheath to clean it. Then presto magic we will be selling dried garlic at all of our markets for everyone to enjoy. Enjoying this garlic is the easy part because it has a sweet and pungent flavour, great size bulb, which are easy to peel and its home grown Utica goodness!!
Later this fall we will begin to crack our bulbs for seed for next year’s crop. Part of the reason we grew so much is because we wanted to grow enough to create our own seed stock. Right now in Ontario there is a major problem with nematodes in garlic. We don’t want to risk getting this disease on our farm so we are going to continue to grow our own seed rather than buying seed, which could be infected.