Garlic Blog: Vanderpool Gourmet Gardens

  (China Spring, Texas)
Garlic in all its wonder, growing, tasting, recipes, and more
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Garlic Intro part 1

Garlic the most amazing plant. It is April now in Central Texas and we are preparing for the Garlic Harvest.  We are growing over 50 varieties of garlic.  Garlic has been grown for millenia and it is one of the oldest living plants.  Why is that you say, because the garlic plant does not die.  the cloves that we plant in the fall for growing garlic are not seeds, and they are not dead, but still alive.  They are a dormant part of the leaf of the garlic of the previous season.  And since garlic is planted from clove to clove, season to season, the cloves that are planted today are part of a plant potentially thousands of years old. 

Garlic does not grow in the usual season of plants.  Garlic is planted in the fall and harvested in the spring in Texas. Too survive the winters in central texas (and all the way up into Canada for that matter), garlic has to be tough.  One day it will be 8 degrees F here and the next week it will be 80 degrees.  The wind blows often at 40-50 mph.  We'll get snow and ice, even hail, and the garlic seems to hunker down and shuck it all off as normal.  I'm always suprised when, after a furious winter storm, I walk out and the garlic looks a little beat up, but by the next week it looks great.

 We plant late september throught October and begin harvest in late april to early may.  Harvest ends in July, and could possibly extend into august.  It all depends on the  weather and the variety of the garlic, some are early, some are late, and there are those in all stages in between.  The hotter and dryer the spring, the earlier harvesting the garlic will be.  On the other hand, if it is wet and cool, the garlic will harvest later.  Its always a suprise on how the garlic is going to harvest and a very exciting time of the year.  I check on the garlic daily to determine if it is time to harvest.  If we harvest too soon, we lose character and weight in the
bulb. If we harvest too late, the bulb wrappers deteriorate and the garlic bulb opens up.  This does not destroy the garlic, but it does shorten the storage life of the bulb and make the garlic not look so great. 

Well, I better go get some work done.  The garlic is growing whether I'm ready or not.


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