The garlic harvest begins and it is a wonderful time in the garden.
Nothing compares to the power, flavor and smell of the fresh stuff.
The newly pulled heads release their oil as they are split apart to be used in the kitchen.
I've pulled a quarter of my crop, probably 75 heads and they are hanging in my tool shed to cure for three weeks. Walking by the shed is a treat as the fragrance is intoxicating.
It always brings me back to my first visit to Bobba-Mike's Garlic Farm in Ohio. They had just harvested and a huge barn was filled with thousands of heads of garlic. I guess most people might be repelled by the aroma, but I was in heaven. I also met kindred spirits Bob and Wendy Zimmerman who started out planting an acre and have turned their passion into a full time job. It's where I still get my seed garlic today.
Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow and this is the perfect time to find the right type to plant. Don't try to grow grocery store garlic unless it's from a local source. It might not be hardy and could be treated with something which retards sprouting.
Farmer's markets, local farms, garden centers and garlic farms will get you the right bulbs to plant.
The second week of October is the best time to plant, but ordering or finding garlic is done now.
The heads are separated into cloves and the biggest are planted three inches deep and six inches apart in soil amended with plenty of compost.
Then the beds should be mulched thickly with straw.
Next July the garlic is harvested when more than 50 percent of the foliage turns brown.
When you hang it in an open tool shed all the neighbors will know about it. Make sure to give them a few bulbs, they'll never want store bought again.