Almost ready…I think….

I feel a bit like a mother hen clucking over her babies.  I don’t remember being this indecisive about pulling my garlic last year but then perhaps it wasn’t as wet.  Every day I make a decision to let it grow a bit longer – garlic puts on most of its bulb growth pretty late on so leaving it in the ground until the last moment does seem to make a difference.  But then it rains and I start to panic – will it rot, should I have pulled it yesterday when the weather was dryer?  Are the bulbs big enough?  Some are bending over – should I pull those and leave the rest…and on it goes…..

This is how some of my patch looked on Wednesday of this week:

 As you can see the stalks are starting to yellow and some are falling over, but by no means all of them.  To see if they were ready I pulled a couple that were falling over and that I’d accidentally planted much too close.  The heads were nestled together but the cloves were pretty nicely developed although I do think they had a bit of growing left in them.

This year I planted my garlic on a 12cm grid in mid April.  I planted a variety with the romantic name of: Italian (Common) (you’d think they could have done better than that with the name wouldn’t you?).  I bought in seed garlic rather than using my own supply.  I tend to do this every year as I have yet to grow enough to last a year.  I would prefer to buy seed garlic from a local supplier to sow, rather than buying more foreign grown garlic to eat than absolutely neccessary.  This year I ran out of garlic in July but I also sowed considerably more cloves.  Last year I harvested 75 heads, but this year I have planted 114 cloves with a germination rate of pretty much 100%.  I have used about 10 heads as green garlic so far so I should have about 100 heads to store.

3 weeks after sowing my garlic looked like this:

Garlic 3 weeks after sowing

Its interesting to see how much of the mulch has rotted away in the 6 months between that shot and the most recent.

Since Wednesday we have had about an inch (25mm) of rain and as I mentioned I am a bit concerned about the bed getting waterlogged.  As a result I rushed out in the rain in a panic and pulled a few more – the ones than were falling over the most.  They were varying sizes but generally look pretty good:

The bed didn’t seem too wet and the stems still look pretty healthy so I think I can afford to leave the rest a little longer (fingers crossed and all that….).

The weather forecast for this week is for showers rather than rain (this often means they bypass Melbourne’s Northern suburbs in favour of the wetter Eastern suburbs).  We are going on holidays for 2 weeks from next weekend so I think I will pull the rest next Friday before we leave and hang them to dry while we away and plait them upon our return.  Nothing too dreadful can happen to them between now and Friday can it??????

P.S: now 30mm of rain and counting…….and they’ve changed their forecast for next week to possible thunderstorms Monday & Tuesday before Rain at times on Wednesday….I’ve started worrying again…….Arrrghhh!

P.P.S: 50mm and its starting to get a bit silly.

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20 Responses to Almost ready…I think….

  1. It’s always a tricky time isn’t it but your garlic does look to be producing well. I hope ours does too this year. How cold does it get during your winter?

    • Liz says:

      The average temperature in July (the coldest month) is probably about 13 -14 degrees C. At night it can get down close to freezing but my garden is sheltered and I haven’t known it to frost.

  2. Robin says:

    Mother Nature has definitely been moody this year! I would be worrying too with all of that rain! It’s probably best to pull them before you go on holdiay. It would be horrible to loose them from all of the rain.

  3. Johanna GGG says:

    the rain today is amazing – it started to look like it would clear once and then started up again and I have been out to the shops three times in it!!! I looked out the back and my plants in their pots seemed very happy about the rain but sorry if your garlic isn’t quite as chuffed with it – hope you enjoy your time away!

    BTW – have you seen this post about garlic – some interesting discussion about preserving it – do you just let them dry out and keep them hanging?

    • Liz says:

      Just silly amounts of rain wasn’t it – I hang the garlic to dry and then plait it for storage – I hang the plaits in the laundry as I’ve yet to find anywhere better – garlic shoots when it gets cold so its best to store it somewhere warmish (but not too warm).

  4. Mark Willis says:

    I never trust the weather forecast – they always seem to get it wrong. I think that “hedging your bets” by harvesting some and leaving some to grow a bit more is the best plan. I wouldn’t think that the plants would rot that quickly even if you had lots of rain. Go on holiday and forget the things – plants thrive on neglect sometimes!

    • Liz says:

      Your probably right about it not rotting that quickly as the bed does have good drainage. Perhaps I will see today how wet it all looks and then decide….

  5. Your garlic looks awesome. I hope you get it harvested ok.


  6. Frogdancer says:

    I hope you raced out and brought it all in. The rain yesterday was insane.

  7. Louise says:

    Ah, yes, running out in the rain to check on your plants – I’ve done that multiple times this year! Your garlics are looking great so far – best of luck with the rest of your crop

  8. Wow, this is the fourth blog I’ve read in the last day or so about harvesting garlic, if only I had planted some I could be joining in. I must do that this year, I’ll be looking to your blog Liz for all things garlic sowing related, looks like a great crop. At least it’s not raining so far today – Miss Two is going bananas and Mr Good promised her a trip to the zoo today, there will be all sorts of dramas if they can’t go.

    • Liz says:

      I hope she enjoyed the zoo – we went to the museum today – jsut in case it got wet again but probably wasted some lovely weather in the process…..I think I value my garlic above all other crops (even tomatoes) and would highly recommend giving it a try next year!

  9. Diana says:

    Your garlic looks good. Ours are not due to getting rotten but many of our garlics were yellowing and dried due to hot weather. Had to harvest some, although they were not ready. Hope you have a nice and memorable holiday.

    • Liz says:

      I’m sorry your garlic didn’t turn out well. We are camping so it should be memorable whatever happens……I hope it will also be nice too.

  10. Andrea says:

    Always a hard decision to make, tempertures in our area are at least 5C warmer than Melbourne so we harvest a little earlier, although if it gets hot and humid(as today) rot can set in. Hanging the garlic in a dark well ventilated area is just as important as the right time to harvest i have found. Good Luck with your harvest and have a great break away!!

    • Liz says:

      Good advice! I have been thinking about where to hang it after harvest. last year I got away with just drying it on a table outside but as we will be away this time I’m thinking of bringing it inside as the elements are less variable.

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