7.27.2014 Putting up the Garlic

About a month ago, I pulled all the garlic out of the garden and hung it to dry in the barn.softneck garlic hanging in the barn It’s been hot and dry in the barn for the last month, just like it’s been outside. However, the weather has finally turned and fall seems to be making an early entrance. Cool fronts are coming in, each one stronger than the last. Our highs have dropped into the 80’s and lows in the 60’s. And rain. Finally. Rain. An inch and a half in the last three days.

It’s time to bring the garlic into the house. I spent today cleaning up the bulbs and it pretty much took all day. I’ve never had this much garlic before. Nearly 300 heads of softneck, and about 100 hardneck.

The hardneck, I hung on the drying rack and the softneck got tied in bunches of ten and slung over a board laid across the top of a stall in the barn. Getting garlic ready for storage or sale is a simple task, requiring only a pair of scissors, a toothbrush and some twine.

On the left, the garlic as it came down from drying.  On the right, roots removed, polished clean and reading for braiding.

On the left, the garlic as it came down from drying. On the right, roots removed, polished clean and reading for braiding.  Makes me wonder how the big growers do this, though I think they actually wash the garlic when it comes in from the field and then cure it in strict environmentally controlled conditions.  Still, someone has to cut off the leaves and roots before it looks like it does in the grocery store.

The scissors are for trimming off the roots and the leaves of the hardneck. A lightly closed fist run down the length of the dried leaves on the softneck, removes all the loose bits and gets it ready for braiding. The toothbrush whisks away any remaining dirt and flicks off any loose wrappers.

garlic braids in basketI found I could clean and braid about 60 heads of softneck in an hour. Not all 60 got braided though. Some were just too small or deformed. Some had not cured properly. Some lost their leaves making them unbraidable. The hardneck went considerably faster.

In the end, it all ended up in the house. Anything not for immediate sale we hung (in braids or in bags) from a beam in the living room. This area is out of direct sunlight, has great air circulation and last year’s softneck is still hanging there, still very usable. It seems to be a happy place for garlic. Vampires – not so much.


I shared this post at The Backyard Farming Connection.

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