Friday, July 29, 2011

Cured Garlic

All of our garlic harvest is either on the drying rack or is in the use it now box.  Over all we are pleased with the quality of the bulbs.  Nearly all are sound and it never gets any better than that.  The area where we cure the garlic is the same space that usually holds our plant starting table.  The arbutus cuttings were bumped from the table to under the window to make room for the garlic.  A dehumidifier has been running to dry the garlic so the plastic cover is back on the cuttings.  Daily water misting is intended to keep the remaining cuttings moist but many have died.  Our next attempt to root cuttings will feature a more granular soil mix.  This year's mix remained sodden rather than moist.  We got rot rather than roots.  Somehow we need to keep more moisture in the air and less in the soil.

Standard practice dries garlic with the bulbs down.  Drying foliage develops all kinds of mold and this rains down on the curing bulbs.  If the bulbs are still moist when the mold hits, it grows on the bulbs.  Our bulbs up drying rack is intended to avoid mold rain.  Brown dust between the roots and the bulb shows that we still get some deposits on the bulb.  This is soil that remained in the trimmed roots.  It fell as it dried.  I could brush it off but that seems extremely fussy.

When the garlic is harvested the only color seen in the bulbs is white.  Purple stripes appear as the garlic cures.  I have read that the coloration is a response to moisture stress.  Are these purple stripes a good thing or a bad thing?  No answer is known here.  We just like to see the color develop.

The bare L shaped planting bed is where the garlic grew.  After harvest, weeds were pulled, compost was added and buckwheat was planted.  If the rains come, the buckwheat will grow shading out weeds.  All that remains to prepare this ground for next year's crop is to cut down the buckwheat before it develops seed.  I find this difficult since the bees really work the buckwheat flowers.  Taking away this food source is delayed as long as possible.  We have time to decide what will be planted here next.  The immediate task is to open the ground to the right for next year's garlic.  In less than three months the garlic needs to be planted.  Better start working that new ground soon.

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