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Posts Tagged ‘Garlic’

So far it looks like a great crop this year! Yes, Jimbo.. time to harvest 🙂

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Garlic

Finally something green!! 😊 The first of the garlic planted last October. Hooray!

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Old gardening wisdom says that you should plant garlic on the shortest day and harvest it on the longest. It’s not a bad way of remembering the rough pattern of growth – but, in fact, planting garlic a little earlier will give it a head start before the really cold weather arrives. So yesterday, I set next seasons garlic crop. Yes, Jimbo.. it’s that time to get planting. 

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In theory, garlic can also be planted in spring, but the yields will be about half that of autumn-sown garlic. October may feel like an odd time to start a crop so associated with heat and the Mediterranean, but planting now allows it to put down roots and send up its sturdy, winter-defying shoots early, ready to make the most of next year’s toasty warm season… something I’m already looking forward to 🙂 

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Just break the bulbs apart just before planting and push cloves into the ground pointy end up, about 4 inches deep.  Add a bit of composted manure, set your markers of the variety you’ve planted, cover and you’re good to go! These will be up about six inches before our snow flies. And mulching with straw and good compost can really help to buffer the plants against winter weather, and improve yields when next summer harvest time comes around.

 

 

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With our growing season a little later here this year, we’re just now have bundles and bundles of garlic scapes for the picking in the gardens for the next week or two. Yummy, Jimbo!

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For those not familiar with scapes…. the garlic scape is the flower shoot that has shot up from the stem of a hardneck garlic bulb when growing. The scapes are slender, bright green, and often twisting and turning in elegant swan-like shapes. Shortly after they appear, which seems to happen almost overnight, it is important to snap them off of the rest of the stem to allow the garlic plant to instead put its energy into growing the garlic bulb, which will be harvested a couple of weeks later.

A favorite of mine, the  scapes have a flavor that is definitely garlic, but much mellower, with hints of herbal summerness. They make a stunning pesto, turning into an outrageously bright green paste that keeps its color when cooked or frozen. I will often just puree garlic scapes with olive oil and freeze in about one cup portions that will keep for several months.

Always on the lookout for new oils and vinegars for homemade salad dressings, this year I made garlic scape infused vinegar. It will still be a week or so before it hits its full potency, but so far so good, and the snaking scapes in the bottles are stunning if nothing else. The vinegar will be beautiful in simple vinaigrettes to dress greens and cucumbers from the garden, and also added to a marinade for grilling meat and seafood, splashed on sauteed chard, collards or kale, or for dunking crusty grilled bread. If your herb garden is overflowing, you can experiment a bit, and try adding a few sprigs of basil, thyme, dill or even a dried chili pepper to the bottle. Or, chop the scapes and add to potato or macaroni salad…  like to grill? Roll those beauties in olive oil and toss them on the grill.. once charred, sprinkle with fresh grated Romano cheese.

And because I have so many of these scapes right now… I decided to make a new jam for farmers market as well.  Simply scrumptious!

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Don’t let scape season escape you! You’ll be sorry if you do… don’t grow garlic? No excuse! Get to your nearest farmers market and pick up a handful! 🙂

 

 

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