Last time we checked in on momma's little garlic patch, we saw this:
That was in mid-June. This is what the same patch looks like today:
However, this is my basement:
I harvested just over 100 bulbs of beautiful garlic last week; half-and-half Siberian and Fireball. I lost a few to sheer wetness; the stems rotted through in some plants; but I harvested well over 90% of what I planted. I think those are pretty good numbers.
Not that I wasn't worried. A strange pest killed off my chives last year, and I thought nothing of it until it returned again this year, and started abusing my garlic, too. I identified it as onion maggot, and mentally kissed my garlic patch goodbye- the maggots are unstoppable through any means of control and will overwinter in the soil for two years. I was just hoping to save some out of this harvest.
It turns out I was alarming myself more than necessary. I headed out to the Carp Garlic Festival last weekend to chat with the experts, and the very-helpful Dave from Ashton Station Garlic showed me that my problem was leek moths and not that serious in the grand scheme of things... yes, they'll come back next year, but they can be controlled through various means and rarely harm the bulb itself, just the leaves. Relieved and overjoyed that I could plant another crop next year, I bought some organic garlic from him in a variety of... varieties, so that I may plant my favourites in the fall. I will also probably use some of the crop I just harvested as seed.
For those who are wondering what on earth I'll do with that much garlic. Well, at last year's festival, I bought about 50 bulbs, and as of today, this is what I have left:
We plow through the stuff like there's no tomorrow... roasted, baked, fried, raw, minced, grated, sliced... if we're serving something savoury in the house, odds are pretty good it's got (loads of) garlic in it. However, I might still have lots left over, providing it all stores well... the damp harvest conditions had me worried and a few of the bulbs showed early mould. I think we'll be fine now, though.
If you've never been out to the Carp Garlic Festival, or tried garlic that isn't from the supermarket, I strongly urge you to roam out there. It's open for a final day this Saturday, and is a beautiful drive and a fun outing. You may never look at garlic the same again.