...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DIgging for Buried Treasure

As treasures go in the gardening world, that is. It's time to harvest garlic and onions in my garden. If you were reading along then, I blogged about the planting of the garlic back in October. http://suburbansettler.blogspot.com/2010/10/last-round-of-planting-for-season.html

Now, that garlic is ready to harvest; but first I harvested the Vidalia onions planted early this spring. I could have left them in the ground longer--in fact I did leave one row, but this sweet tender crop is already pulled, hosed down and drying on the back mat in the sun. When the tips of the onion leaves turn yellow, they are ready for harvesting. At that point, gently push the leaves over, down near the head of the onion, to make them die off quickly. A day or two later, lift them out of the ground and let them dry naturally. (Mine are in the sun, but will come inside at the first sign of rain.)

Like the onions, the garlic patch has yellowing, leaves, signalling they, too, are ready for harvest. Garlic is best harvested without delay as the bulbs will shrivel if left in the ground after the leaves begin to die away.

It is good to harvest soon enough after a rain that the ground is still soft, but not soggy. You'll have to lift the bulbs gently to avoid bruising them.

One bulb of elephant garlic last year produced all these bulbsfor harvest! What a bounty! I'll save one of the bulbs--the biggest one--to plant again this October, but the rest are dedicated to human consumption.

Because we would like to keep the garlic and onions into the winter, I used this stringing technique to keep them dry and and "tidy" as the gardening book says. (This article, by the way, is found in Country Living Gardener's Gardening Basics.)

I tried that technique and found it preferable to the simple braiding I've done in the past. The garlic is now hanging in my kitchen window that it might continue drying in the breeze. Later, I'll move it to a cool, dry storage place--if I can find one. I don't exactly have a barn.

And for supper tonight, a tasty mix of fresh-picked snow peas and sweet, chopped onion--a great side for almost any entree!

Happy digging!


  1. Hi Miss Settler
    Just got here through Bee Lady...I am interested in this garlic crop ya got....Did you just plant a regular ole garlic from the grocery....Please do tell...I am going to plant some in October

  2. Hi, Reality Jane! Good to meet you! Actually, the garlic was a gift from a friend. It is called elephant garlic (hence my getting 10-12 cloves to plant from the one bulb.) I believe she ordered it from a seed company, but I know places like Walmart and Home Depot sell sets for planting in their garden depts, but they sell in early sping. I don't know if they offer them again in the fall or not.