The garlic is in! Thanks to a couple of long days of hard work from farmer Kevin, the garlic is hanging up to cure in the barn.
We're now in the home stretch of the long process of growing garlic. This garlic was planted last fall, from individual cloves saved from the previous year's harvest. Under a heavy straw mulch, they have a couple of weeks of establishment in the rapidly cooling soil before winter arrives and the plants go dormant, waiting for the spring. When the snow finally melts, the new sprouts are some of the first green in the garden. We might pick some plants for green garlic, to carry us through until the scapes are ready. Once the scapes are all harvested, it's just a few more weeks (ideally very dry weeks, not really the case this year) until the leaves start to turn yellow and die back. When a few leaves have yellowed and a few green ones remain, it's time to pull the bulbs and hang them somewhere dark and airy to cure. Curing helps the bulbs store better and also matures the flavour, which is mild and sweet but with no rich spiciness when first pulled out.
Harvest is always hard work - if all has gone well, it comes at the tail end of a heat wave (to dry out the tops and prevent the wrappers from rotting underground), and you need to work fast because once out of the soil, the bulbs can be damaged by the sun.
Now, just a week or two of curing before we can start eating. Thanks for all your help, Kevin!