Garlic comes originally from Central Asia, where it was domesticated very early in human history, spreading through Europe and Asia where it was used for food, medicine and even as an aphrodisiac. It was brought to the US by European settlers, but was used mainly in ethnic cooking until it gained mainstream popularity much more recently.
Growing Our Garlic
Garlic is grown straight from cloves, not seeds, the shape and quality of bulb you get depends on the clove you plant. We save out the biggest and best looking cloves to plant for the following year, which means that we can continuously improve our garlic crop from year to year.
We plant our garlic in mid-October, letting it root before the ground freezes, and then cover it with layer of compost and hay. The compost provides lots of needed nutrients for the coming growing season, and the hay insulates it against the cold weather and polar vortexes that seem so popular these days. In the spring, the garlic shoots are strong enough to come up right through the layer of hay. This is a wonderful double bonus because the hay will keep weeds down all through the growing season, and then it breaks down to add even more nutrients and organic matter to our soil!
Scapes will appear on the hard-neck varieties in June, and will be available for sale immediately after harvest. Scapes are the immature flower stalk of the garlic plant and are removed to stimulate bulb growth. On top of that, they taste absolutely fabulous! They have the freshness of green onions with the zesty flavor of garlic and a satisfying crunch when you bite into them. They are great chopped and mixed into sauteed vegetables, pasta dishes, salad dressings, and stir fry. However, my personal favorite use of scapes is in pickling. You can use them to flavor pickled cucumbers, green beans, carrots, or even just by themselves. I will get a recipe up here as soon as I can.
Our main garlic harvest will be in July. We pull all the bulbs and lay them out to cure for about a month to prepare for long term storage. These cured bulbs will last through the winter, so you can expect to have locally grown, great tasting gourmet garlic from July until we sell it all.
Garlic shoots first begin to appear
Scapes will appear and be harvested
Our main garlic harvest
Curing the bulbs for storage
Sorting the garlic for seed