The garlic harvest has been interesting this year. (The photo shows a very small portion of the garlic harvest, plus some “Red Torpedo” onions curing on the Lady Cottage floor.) After a very long, extremely wet winter with periods of frigid cold without snow cover, I feared the worst as spring began. However, the garlic tips pushed through the soil about on schedule, and grew well despite our very, very wet spring. I grow lots more garlic than we can eat, because I love its vertical form in the potager. I did notice over the very wet growing period that the plants were taller than usual, but with fewer leaves. There were so very many sunless days, really up until July, that must have impacted growth. Stems on most plants were not as thick as usual. Possibly the fertilizer was just washed away, even though I applied side dressings twice. The scapes were harvested as usual, but before many of the leaves had turned brown, problems were apparent. With the continuing rains, the garlic was beginning to rot. There could be no waiting until the majority of the leaves turned brown. It had to be dug now! The first bed harvested was “Rosewood,” normally a large, productive variety. But the harvest was about 1/3 of the plants, and those were very small. This is the entire “Rosewood” harvest for this year! Normally, there would be three large braids of 20 bulbs each. However, in terms of outer wrap layers, it turned out to be about the best! The next bed dug was “Romanian Red.” It’s the braid on the right. You can see that there’s a lot of mud still on the bulbs. There was no choice but to dig even when it was too muddy for digging. As much mud as possible was rubbed off the outside and squeezed out of the roots. Once dry, normally the outer layer would be peeled off so the bulbs are clean and white. However, this year, if the outer layer is peeled off, there is no protective wrap on the cloves at all! The braid on the left is “Khobor” which has more layers of wrap, possibly because it was grown in the far north bed, where there was never any standing water around the raised beds. At least these bulbs are decent sized, not the fist-sized ones of past years, but certainly more than acceptable. The largest bulbs are “Killarney Red,” which was also the most productive again this year. Unfortunately, they grew in the south beds, which often were surrounded by water, and some have no outer wrap left. I put those in a basket to use first, and didn’t go to the effort of braiding them. Some were too rotted and went directly to compost. “Mary Jane” and “Deerfield Purple” are curently curing in the shade in the greenhouse. Again, the numbers are down and the size a bit smaller than usual. Once all the garlic is cleaned and processed into braids or baskets, I’ll weigh the crop. Right now, I’m just hoping the garlic stays in good shape until planting time in September. I have no illusions that much of it will store over the entire winter, so there will probably be garlic jelly and 40-garlic chicken in our near future!