Harvesting garlic

by Pippa Greenwood

This must be the first year that I've harvested a crop of garlic with no traces of rust: not a pustule in sight.

Pippa Greenwood holding freshly harvested garlic bulbs by their 'necks'Every year I grow masses of garlic. It's one of the easiest and most satisfying crops to grow, and my entire family adores it. My son has just lifted the autumn-planted crop. This is mostly my favourite variety, 'Albigensian', with four or five others thrown in for good measure. I'm thrilled with the results. The bulbs are massive, swollen during the early hot weather we had this year.

This must be the first year that I've harvested a crop of garlic with no traces of rust: not a pustule in sight. Rust fungus thrives on moist foliage, so the absence of rust this year can be put down to the dry weather we've been having.

The bulbs are bigger and better than ever, and they cropped so early that we didn't have to buy any to keep us going. Last year's crop saw us right through until we were able to harvest the first of this year's bulbs.

At present the crop is suspended through the slats of a very decrepit pub-style table in the garden, drying off nicely. The longest lasting bulbs from last year seemed to be those which I plaited, so I'll be spending a while plaiting some more garlic ropes.

Soon it'll be time to harvest the spring-planted variety 'Solent Wight', but with its leaves still green (and rust free), I'll wait until the last possible moment for that. In the meantime I look forward to some seriously tasty meals!

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Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2010 at 09:30

Doesn't the smell just make you want to get cooking when you harvest garlic, Pippa? Same with onions and shallots. I have a slatted table so will do the same with mine. Thanks for the tip - I hadn't thought of that. No sign of rust here either and I believe it can be a scourge in some Bristol allotments.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2010 at 12:35

I've already harvested my Solent Wight garlic because unfortunately they didn't escape rust. However, despite being harvested early(I planted mine in modules in a coldframe in January) the bulbs are huge, much bigger than previous years and are now hanging from the roof of my shed to dry. I usually transplant my winter leeks into the bed vacated by the garlic, but are they likely to get rust too? If so, is there anything organic I can do to prevent this?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2010 at 16:33

For the past two years I have had super garlic. this year - hopeless. Tiny bulbs that don't look much bigger than the cloves I originally planted. Any ideas anyone?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2010 at 17:04

Similar problem to tinytuba tiny bulbs reddish look like very very very small onions

Gardeners' World Web User 29/07/2010 at 18:59

Some of my garlics have produced extra little bulbs on the stems. I'm going to plant them to see what happens. Any suggestions? I harvested my soft necks a month ago and they're huge. My hardnecks came up last week, not so big but very respectable. I'm impressed with how well they came through the winter. Despite snow and frozen ground, I didn't lose one and not a sign of rust. And they taste wonderful!

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