In 2003, my husband and I moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area and made a Santa Rosa hillside our home. Since then, both of us have become serious gardeners. How serious? We turned every square inch of our lot to planting trees, bushes, flowers, and vegetables. By trial and error, we learned not only how to grow things, but about irrigation and garden management.
Last week we harvested garlic. Usually we plant garlic cloves in the fall, but we were late last year and almost missed the planting season entirely. It was early December when we bought garlic from a local farm for planting. Garlic is one of the easiest vegetables to grow because they are practically care-free. There are no diseases to worry about and regular watering assures you a crop (even if you miss the normal planting time!).
Garlic belongs onion family, but unlike onions, garlic bulbs are buried underground so you can’t see them. When the leaves turn yellow, they are ready to be harvested, usually around Memorial Day in our area. The harvested garlic is spread out to dry outside for a couple of days. Then, the bulbs are cleaned of dirt, the roots are cut, and the stems are trimmed to 1 inch and can be stored in a net sack in a cool place. Some varieties have a soft stem, which can be braided. This single harvest provides us a year’s supply of garlic!