Nine months ago I was planting Autumn garlic cloves in the back garden. Garlic takes a long time to grow and I find myself getting increasingly impatient as the months tick by. The shoots creep up little by little over the Winter months. During Spring they have a big growth spurt. At which point I prematurely declare it nearly garlic o’clock – every time I forget how long it takes for all that energy to be drawn back down into the bulb.
Yes, I harvested this garlic in my pyjamas. I actually went outside to give the garden a quick water and when I saw it was ready I wasted no time in digging it up. I pushed a trowel into the ground and gently loosened the soil around each plant. And as I eased it out of the ground a big whoosh of garlic hit the air. I am a total garlic fiend so I consider that first ‘hit’ my reward for waiting so long. The elephant garlic on the right is pretty much as tall as me. I’m 5’5″.
We have 27 bulbs of different varieties: Lautrec White, Early Purple Wight and Elephant Garlic.
These bulbs will be cured for 3-4 weeks and then they’ll be ready for long-term storage. I say that but last year we had 12 bulbs and we polished them off in just under two months.
This bad boy is our elephant garlic. As you can see it’s the size of my hand! These cloves are not as strong in flavour as the smaller cloves but tasty nonetheless.
I laid all the bulbs out in a box for drying. The greenery sits inside the box and the bulbs dangle over the edge for good airflow. We don’t have anywhere to hang this up indoors but this method worked well last year. Bring on the day we have a utility room for things like this! When I was a teenager, if you’d have told me I’d be looking forward to the prospect of a utility room one day I’d have laughed at you!
When the leaves have fully dried I’m going to try and plait all the bulbs together. Looks amazing in my mind but could end up looking like a tumbleweed. Let’s see what happens…
Scott and I are going to celebrate this harvest by making 40 garlic roast chicken. It’s basically a whole chicken stuffed with 40 cloves (scattered around the chicken if they don’t all it inside), half a lemon and fresh herbs. Covered and cooked in the oven slowly for 3 hours. Garlic breath here we come!