Tuesday, September 10, 2019

You're Never Too Old . . .

. . . or experienced to make gardening mistakes.


I had a beautiful crop of garlic this year, but waited too long to harvest it.

When I dug it I could see immediately that some of the garlic was not wrapped in a nice, tight bulb, but rather the cloves had started to separate.

This happens when you don't harvest your garlic soon enough after the leaves have started to turn brown.

For some reason, I've always felt a certain anxiety that I will harvest it too soon.  When you do that the cloves will be small, and they don't store as well as the fully matured, larger ones.

But leaving your garlic in the ground too long (which I definitely did this year -- blast and dang!) causes the cloves to separate and burst out of their layers of protective skin.  They then become vulnerable to disease and, yep, now after mine have cured for about three weeks, I can easily see mold forming on some of the cloves.  I'm thinking I'm going to have to dump those bulbs to avoid further contamination.

Fortunately, I've been blessed with a big crop so I'll now have to carefully sort through the bulbs, set aside the healthier, large-cloved ones to plant this fall for next year's crop, and try to use up the ones with the separated cloves first.  They probably won't remain usable for long without their protective skins intact as their keeping quality will be severely limited.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for the storage quality of the bulbs that do look okay.

Well, one thing is for sure.  Next year I won't worry about harvesting my garlic too soon, but instead that I'll wait too late as I did this year.  Arrrgh.

10 comments:

Susan said...

Oh, I hate it when that happens! And it happens fast! I used to leave the plants in until almost all the leaves were brown - thinking I was doing the right thing. It took years before I finally asked someone if this was the right process. I got a very pitying look...

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I have (somehow) always managed to harvest mine at the right time. So why the heck did I wait too long this year? (No remarks about the state of my brain cells, please.)

Michelle said...

Can you mince and freeze or can all those separating cloves so you have your year's supply stored in a different form?

wisps of words said...

You plant a lot of garlic, yes? So can't you dig up a couple, and see how they look? And maybe in a while, dig up a couple more, and see if they are then ready?

Knowing nothing about planting/harvesting garlic, maybe this isn't possible, of course. Just a possible idea.

🍁 😊 🍁

Leanna said...

I would take what is left of the good garlic and cut them up and can them in oil. They will last a few more months than if they are left out for mold.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Yes, I'm sure that can be done and I'm thinking about that. Also, I could dehydrate them and grind into garlic powder. Thanks for thinking of that and giving me a nudge!

wisps of words - Well, that would be the sensible way of doing it, now wouldn't it?! Geesh, sometimes I really worry about my thought process. You're absolutely right in that I grow enough that I certainly could test sample them before deciding to harvest. The only small glitch is that the bulbs do seem to grow/mature at a slightly different rate. That's why I have some that have "exploded" and have no protective covering and some that still look fine. (Just to confuse me a little more.)

Leanna - I know you can buy minced garlic in oil so although I've never done it, I'm sure I could find directions for doing so at on ye ol' Internet. (What did we do for information before we had computers??) Thanks for the idea.

Lynne said...

Hopefully there will be enough that survive, so you can store them. I'm not sure if you can freeze garlic ? I've never planted garlic, mainly onions. Don't beat yourself up to much about it. Life is to short as they say. xo

Mama Pea said...

Lynne - I'm fine with my goof on the garlic this year. (And a good lesson learned!) There are more "good" bulbs than I will need for the next year and still have plenty to plant this fall. It's all okay.

Faith said...

I've got some garlic I'm going to put in garden in October. I have a tendancy to plant to early. You have nice size bulbs there. At least you can salvadge some of it. I look forward to see what I'll have next summer, if Earl the Squirrel does dig it up, that little stinker.

Mama Pea said...

Faith - I plant my garlic in October, too. So far, haven't had any trouble with varmints digging it up. I don't know how long I'd tolerate Earl the Squirrel or one of his relatives around here!