garlic?

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Hi All,
I planted three cloves of garlic last fall. After all the ice and snow I was surprised to see the three of them re-sprout. It is below freezing at night still too.
Just out of curiosity, when do I get to pick them?
Many thanks, -T
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On 3/17/2014 10:51 PM, Todd wrote:

Let the plants grow through the spring and summer. If they send up flower shoots, cut off the cluster of buds at the top. When the foliage turns yellow and dies, then dig up the bulbs.
Use plain water to rinse the dirt off the bulbs. Separate them carefully into cloves. If you keep part of the base on some of them, those are the ones to replant.
Dry the rest of the cloves in the sun. Rinse the dried cloves with vinegar to prevent botulism and salmonella. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Store them in a jar filled with olive oil.
When you finish using all the preserved cloves, use the remaining olive oil. It is great in salad dressings, on pasta, or for making a very interesting mayonnaise.
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David E. Ross

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David E. Ross wrote:

Or after harvesting brush off any soil and hang the bulbs in a dry place where the air circulates for a few weeks. Then pull the dried leaves off the bulbs and then use the bulbs as you wish. The traditional method is to plait the leaves together so as hang a bunch of about a dozen bulbs together. They will keep well for a least six months, at least until your next planting time, in a cool dry place after initial drying. I don't know why you would go to all the trouble listed by DER.
I am also suspicious of the advice that washing in vinegar will remove the risk of botulism. Botulism will not grow in low pH conditions but that doesn't mean quick exposure to a weak acid will kill the spores. Spores are much more robust than the growing bacterium. The reason why you would want to be careful is that botulism spores are common in the garden. Normally this is not a problem as the organism is an anaerobe but if placed away from air (ie under oil) and kept warm the spores may grow.
Not also that the timing given may suit your climate but it is by no means universal. Here (~ zone 9b) we plant in autumn and harvest in late spring. Readers ought to always be careful about generalising seasonal advice which is why there are so many requests from DER, myself and others, to name your location and climate when asking questions.
David HS
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

i would not store anything in oil without it being pressure canned first.
the only free pass you get with botulism toxin is that it is destroyed by heat, so if you are cooking with the garlic and eating the results fairly quickly it is very likely you won't even notice. the old time books recommend cooking something you suspect being iffy for 15 minutes at a boil.
[ do not read my comment that i recommend intentionally ingesting anything tainted with botulism toxins -- i would throw it out if i were worried ]

yep, i just dig them up, knock the dirt off 'em and eventually trim the roots off and they store dry in the dark and cold as possible the best. once they get warm and light in the late winter then they'll start pushing out roots and sprouting.
they are still good eating, i will take whatever garlic i have left, peel all of it that is big enough, cut off the bottom where the roots are coming out and then put it through the grinder, mix it with plenty of lemon juice and then freeze that packed in jars. it is good for quite some time stored that ways. we've been using it for several years like this. works well for most dishes. you could probably use lime or other acidic things, but lemon works for us well enough.
as for harvest time, it varies by variety. the most common type i grow is usually ready by mid- summer. i also grow green garlic for early eating, i bury it deeper and pull it when i want to use it as a green onion. the kind i grow most of is fine this way up until right after the tops begin to form (then it become too tough/chewy).
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Pickles etc that are made with vinegar are Ok without heat processing as long as the pH is below hmmm I forget the exact figure but about 4, which is quick achievable in a tasty pickle.
D
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On 03/18/2014 05:43 PM, songbird wrote:

Hi Songbird,
Thank you,
It gets pretty hot around here in the summer. Could I just wash them off, dry them out, and store them in a glass container with a metal lid in the refrigerator?
Does the hanging do something to them?
-T
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On 03/18/2014 03:12 PM, David E. Ross wrote:

Hi David,
Thank you!
Rats, got to wait till fall.
Just out of curiosity, could I eat/cook them right after I dug them up?
-T
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On Monday, March 17, 2014 10:51:23 PM UTC-7, Todd wrote:

HB

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On 03/18/2014 05:02 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Hi Higgs,
Thank you!
How do you think garlic would do with squash bugs and aphids?
-T
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On Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:57:00 PM UTC-7, Todd wrote:

I was curious myself, so I went on-line with "garlic protects plants from squash bugs and aphids" and got a lot of hits,some more or less relevant, but worth taking a look.
Are you into "companion planting"? Very useful - helps gardeners keep together plants that are mutually beneficial and avoid proximity of "enemy" plants. There's a whole chemistry science about this, which is too arcane for moi.
But I do check out sites like:
http://www.unclelukes.com/companion-planting/companion-planting-chart
There are many other "companion planting" sites.
Maybe some of our members can recommend their favorites.
HB
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On 03/20/2014 02:07 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Thank you!
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Todd wrote:

Yes! It dries them and reduces the chance of fungus. And you don't need to store them in the fridge.
D
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On 03/20/2014 02:55 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

Thank you!
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Todd wrote:

Of course, the hanging and drying is to make them store better but is not required for taste. Really fresh agrlic is not the same as supermarket garlic.
D
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On 03/20/2014 02:56 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

Thank you!
I am looking forward to this!
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

yes, if you are going to store it, make sure it's dry.

this may vary by type of garlic... and...
it depends upon how long you need to keep them. if you have two heads and a few dozen cloves then you won't need to worry about getting through six months or more of storage.
my own experience, with many lbs of garlic is that which was dug up, and then left alone after it was dried out in the cold garage survived much better than the garlic i brought inside. the garlic that was left outside had not even sprouted or started putting on roots until i brought it inside where it was warmer.
everything i brought inside before the garage got cold enough to freeze was pretty much useless to me a few months later.
putting garlic inside a glass container in the fridge will get condensation and eventual spoiling. you want it in a cool dark place with some air circulation. i stacked mine in flats (box tops), one layer deep, cross hatched so they could get some air, and left them in the garage where they repeatedly froze and thawed. once brought in the house they were best used within a few weeks. after that they'd sprout and grow just like the rest.
this type of garlic is what i've grown here for years, a hard necked garlic that doesn't mind our sub-zero weather and frost down deep enough to freeze the ground solid around it.
what you've grown may be an entirely different type of garlic with less hardyness for cold. dunno. :)
and yes, you can eat it immediately upon harvesting. you may notice it gets stronger the longer it is in storage and gets even stronger when it starts sprouting again.
for maximal health effects, i've seen it recommended that you chop, crush, or whatever several minutes before actually using as the beneficial compounds are formed as a result of injury to the cloves.
songbird
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On 03/20/2014 06:44 PM, songbird wrote:

Thank you.
So I should wait to harvest after the first freeze maybe? Wait until the garage is below 95 degrees F? In the winter it sits between 35 and 45 degrees F. In the fall it sits between 45 and 65 degrees F.
I like that stronger part. The stuff I buy from the store (organic from Trader Joe's or Raley's) seems to get weaker and weaker as it starts to sprout.
Spouts a yummy though!
Question: do you buy planting bulbs? Or just replant some after you harvest?
I was thinking of buying some eating garlic from the store and planting them, but I can't find any of those blue ones that are so strong and buttery that I so love. Make your eyebrows curl!
-T
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Todd wrote:

for curing and storage:
the garlic you've planted will tell you when it is done. when the bottom few leaves start to turn yellow and die back it is getting close to harvest. you can pull some of the dirt back from the top of the bulb to check it. you want the outer tunics to be papery and ready to cure. the size of the garlic will not get bigger once the top of the plant is done (so what you get is what you get -- if it is small that means either it wasn't planted at the right time or the other conditions weren't right for it).
leaving it in the ground longer only risks damage from animals, fungi or rains. left in quite some time later and it might start growing again. if it is a locally adapted garlic this is ok, but you won't get as large bulbs/cloves if the bulbs aren't lifted, divided and replanted.
otherwise:
you can harvest garlic any time you want to as the leaves, tops and bulbs are edible even if they aren't fully formed. the younger tops are tender and good, the stalks in the ground are also fine, i treat them like a green onion. they're stronger, but that is good by us.

varieties carried by most stores are not usually very strong. the hard neck type i've grown here gets hot enough that it will numb your tongue in a few seconds.

yep, we eat garlic about any time we can get to it if we need some.

the hard neck garlic i have grown for many years was a gift from a friend in town. it gets bulbs on top of the stalks along with the bulbs below the ground dividing into cloves. there is never a shortage of starts to work with. more often than not i'm giving away starts to anyone who wants them and i bury the rest deeply enough that they won't grow. at the moment i have a five gallon bucket full to the rim of garlic starts and spoiled garlic to bury.
i made the mistake years ago of taking handfuls of the small garlic bulbs from the tops and scattering them around the gardens. ever since then i've been digging it out of all of those places to remove it. i think i'll be done this year or the next in getting it back to more reasonable amounts.
i plant the largest cloves from the divided bulbs that i dig up. for me i can plant anywhere from mid-August into November depending upon when a garden is available. but i've also planted in December the day before the ground froze and it has grown.
i'm also trialing a southern softneck garlic that someone was nice enough to send me. no idea if it even survived the winter (still snow over it), but it was growing well by the time winter showed up. we'll see...

try the farmer markets, co-ops, CSAs, organic farms, etc. as they will likely have a better idea of where to find alternatives. the bigger stores seem to all carry the same type of garlic (softneck and rather mild).
as for when to plant it for your conditions, i can't say for sure, but if you find a local grower they should be able to help you out. my guess is that you're not going to get enough cold for many of the northern garlics, but you may find others that do just fine (but whether they should be planted in the fall or the spring for best results i dunno :) ).
songbird
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On 03/21/2014 07:06 AM, songbird wrote:

Hi Songbird,
You are a wonderful writer and a wealth of information. I have only previewed your letter and am leaving it for when I have a change to read it over really slowly and take notes. But, I wanted you to know I had received it and sincerely appreciate all the work you put into it. Thank you!
Question: the three plants that made it over the winter are the blue garlic I love so much. Any change I could dig all three up, separate the cloves from the bulbs and replant them for a big crop come this fall?
-T
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On 03/21/2014 07:06 AM, songbird wrote:

Hi Songbird,
This sounds like it:
http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/garlic/garlic-purple-glazer-prod002399.html?omn2pd=sh&catId=#null
What do you think?
-T
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