Thursday, June 12, 2014

Time to Dig Garlic

In Oklahoma, we find it best to plant our garlic in the fall, mulch it heavily and let it overwinter in the ground.  Tom is usually the one who plants the garlic, but being that I was newly retired at the time, guess who was elected for the chore.  I wrote an entry about it.  

Here's what the bed in that entry looks like now.

You know the garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves start turning brown and dying, like  you see above.  And, because I was the one to plant it, guess who gets to harvest it this year!

It has rained quite a bit lately, so I found that harvesting it was easy.  I just pulled it up.  No shovel or digging was required.  I harvested only the garlic in the far end of this bed and here is how much I got.

It was pretty muddy and dirty, so I took the hose and cleaned it up.

I really like the sprayer nozzle that you see in this picture.  The red thing can be pushed forward to shut the water off and the end of the nozzle turns to create a variety of spray patterns, such as shower, soaker, jet, stream, etc.

Some of the garlic had seed heads, like this.

If left alone, the "ball" on the end would break open and create a flower from which seed would form.  These are called "scapes" and we cut them off so that the plant will concentrate its energy into forming the root portion and not on making seed.  

Garlic scapes have a mild garlic taste and are considered a delicacy in some areas.  Only the 3 or 4 inches below the flower bud are eaten.  This part of the stalk is fairly tender and can be chopped to be used in stir-fries and other recipes calling for garlic.  One person that I know makes a sort of garlic "pesto" out of these.

Here's a closer look at one of the flower buds.

I cut the scapes off and put them in a jar of water on the kitchen counter.  They made a rather attractive arrangement.

Now, I just need to get energetic and cook something using them.  Oh, yes, and I still have to harvest the rest of that bed.  Sigh.


  1. I planted garlic for the first time last year and it was so much fun to harvest it and get to eat garlic all year long! I did softneck so I could braid it up and store it on the wall. I can't wait to harvest this year, but I was reading that you have to wait until some of the leaves turn completely brown. In the picture, yours looks like the tips are brown. Mine looks like that as well. Is it ready? I live in Oklahoma too, on the east side.

  2. Hi, Christina.
    Great to know you are growing your own garlic too! You are correct that you really need to wait until all but a couple of the leaves are brown. The garlic I dug was on the opposite end of this bed and was a different variety that what you see in the foreground. More of the leaves were dead on it and I decided to go ahead and harvest it. Plus, I was so eager to dig it!