Monday, June 27, 2011

Growing Your Own Garlic

Hello. I wanted to give you a quick update on the garlic season here. Last year, I offered some encouragement to anyone interested in planting their own garlic. I have been meaning to give you an update on ours-here it is. I will of course show you our harvest at the end of this year's garlic season (probably late July-ish).

Here is our garlic patch right now. Fairly weedy, which isn't a great thing. It would have been a good call to add some more mulch early season, or at least do some more weeding. We do have a couple of nice sunflowers coming up through, so good thing we didn't do too much weeding!

These super cute curlicues (Yeah, that is how you spell it-I looked it up.) are called garlic scapes. You can find them at some farmer's markets and farm stands.

At this point in the season (and up until bulb harvest) you should harvest these scapes from growing garlic plants. Just cut the scape off, or bend it and snap if off. If you leave them on the plant, they take energy from your totally awesome garlic bulb that is growing underground.

So, harvest them, and wait for it... Eat them! You can use them any way you would use garlic. They smell & taste great! Kids seem to love them. They are fun to harvest, and if you see them at a farm market, they are generally inexpensive and fun for kids to pick a few, and possibly sample whatever dish you use them in. (One can hope, anyway.)

Here is a shot of our first kale harvest of the season. I swear, I have a really awesome garden harvesting basket (rescued by my mom from a potential life in the trash) but I am going with the nice looking plastic grocery bag for harvest tonight-makes for nice blog pictures. I am going to try this recipe tomorrow (if the children's vomiting stops, that is.)

And one last quickie. Here is some basil. When growing basil, pinch leaves and stems from the plant regularly to encourage bushy growth (and lots of leaves). When it starts to flower on the top, pinch it off. This keeps your basil growing and tasting delicious.  Also, many recipes state to use just leaves, but consider using stems too-they have lots of good taste in there!

Happy harvesting (hopefully)!

Oh, I linked to Amy's Bloggers' Garden Tour too. Good gardens there to scope out!


  1. Have you made pesto with garlic scapes? We got them from the CSA last year and I googled recipes and came up with that one. It is pretty powerful but I liked it!
    I hope the kiddos are better soon...

  2. Thanks for all this great info Vanessa, we just moved our garlic patch a few weeks ago because it was NOT growing where it was (for a couple of years). I think it was too shady or something. So we moved it to a full sun location. But I seriously know nothing about growing garlic. I need to do some big-time reading... Why am I so lazy?...

  3. @Amy - I've heard of doing pesto with the scapes, but we never got enough from our CSA last year to make it worthwhile. We used them like scallions in pasta and potato dishes and they were quite wonderful. Would love to try the pesto one day. Maybe part basil/part scapes would be a bit less pungent?

    @V- Thanks so much for the basil growing tips. Mine are so little right now that it seems wrong to pick off leaves, but I bit the bullet and did it today in the hope it will make them grow bushier. And the leaves we pulled were delightful on pizza margherita tonight. Yum!

  4. Oh, and I finally made kale chips last week. Oh.My.Heavens! We have never eaten an entire bunch of kale so fast... ever! In case you don't have a recipe:

    Wash kale and tear in to pieces. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Spread out on parchment lined baking sheets (give them some room-err on the side of an extra baking sheet) and bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes, watching pretty carefully after 15 minutes so that they're brown but not burnt to a crisp. Remove from oven and promptly burn your mouth trying to gobble them all down before they're cool.

    TOTALLY blown away that they're really like potato chips. Going to the farmer market tomorrow and my son said, "Mommy, can we please get two bunches of kale this time?" Holy crap, I never thought I'd hear that!


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