Thursday, August 1, 2013

Growing Garlic and My Great Find To Help Dry It

Last Saturday,Rick and I went to an auction with our friends,CJ and Kathy. I have been to an auction once,when I was very young.Rick had never been to one.

There is a period of time before the auction where you can look over what they are auctioning off that may catch your eye. I saw few things,but one thing I found I knew I had to have:a drying rack.

Technically,it's not a drying rack,it's an old shoe rack from a shoe shop. The narrow boards running across the length of the shelves were just the right width apart to cure my soap,and if I didn't have soap to cure,to dry out herbs and the like. Some nice baskets could store things...there is so much I could do with it. It was exactly like a I pictured in my mind. It also was on wheels.

I did get into a bit of a bidding war with someone over it,but I prevailed!!!!!

I am woefully behind on making soap-but I never really had a lot of space to make good size batches-I would have to clear off a shelf in the bedroom closet and use my kitchen wire cooling racks to cure it. Not very convenient.
I don't have soap right now,but I do have freshly picked garlic to dry out!!

Don't ask me what kind of garlic it is,because to be honest,I have no clue. I got some cloves from my neighbor last year and grew it. It's hard neck (meaning,it has a stiff stem in the center),that's all I know. That and it's delicious!! Soft necks have their green foliage dry up and can be braided.

Growing garlic is very easy.We plant our bulbs in the Fall ( early Oct).Put the cloves in the ground pointed (root) side down,about 8" apart and bury them 2" down into the soil. Put mulch over the bed-you can use leaves,straw,etc.We use straw. Hay has seeds,so you might want to avoid that.

You will get a few green shoots in the Fall,just make sure you cover them up with mulch.

That's it until Spring...they rest through the winter.

When you see green shoots coming up through the mulch in the Spring,it's time to pull back the mulch. I put mine in our compost pile. Give it some fertilizer (fish emulsion or whatever you like to use),some water,and some love!

As the garlic gets bigger,you will notice what is called a garlic scape-it's curved with a pointed white bulb at the end.Snip these off-it gives more growing power to the garlic bulb. (Soft neck garlic does not grow scapes). Some folks use their scapes-in pesto,as a vegetable,or in a flower arrangement. I never knew you could do things with scapes,so I have never tried it...perhaps next year.

The garlic is ready to harvest when the lower leaves turn brown. They should be dried in a single row in a warm,but not hot area.

As you can see, my rack works great!

MMMM...can't you just smell that marvelous garlic? 

The garlic is done drying when the outer skin of the bulb is like paper. It's then time to brush off the dirt( as much as possible) and cut off the roots.

Your garlic won't be as clean as the store bought,but you don't want that anyway! Garlic should be stored in temps around 55-70 degrees.Don't store in a bags,or containers.

Does anyone have any growing or storing tips for garlic? Please share!


  1. Hi Donna - I look forward to following you on your new site. You continue to inspire me to try to be more self-sufficient. Although I live in a small apt. in the city (Grand Rapids, MI), and like city living, there is still so much more I could be doing. Your practical, can-do spirit and love in taking care of your family are what keeps me wanting to check up on happenings in your little corner of the world. Thanks, Donna!

  2. Thank you for your kind words,Julie :) I am so glad you have followed me here!