Saturday, July 09, 2005

Garlic Decisions

As the rain bore down on our embattled island yesterday morning I had to think quickly about how to deal with the garlic crop. The soft necks were very close to harvest. The ophios need another week. More rain will only further damage the crop making it susceptible to mold. In a soft mist I harvested about half of the soft necks. I then covered the “contenders” (these would be the ophios I think have the best chance of winning a ribbon at the fair) in plastic trash bags in the hope that they would stay dry during the rain fall.

The soft necks are now in the basement resting on an old screen door suspended between two saw horses. The dehumidifier is running non stop trying to bring a soggy basement into the 55% relative humidity range. The “contenders” are dry and cozy amid a heavy downpour. I’m hoping for the best.

The reason dryness is so critical at this stage is that moisture late in the season can create a moldy set of wrappers around the bulb. Each of the ten leaves of the garlic plant is a wrapper around the final bulb. As you can see from this Inchellium Red I harvested, the four outer leaf wrappers are wet. If I strip them off there are still 6 good wrappers going into the curing stage. The ideal would be to harvest a dry bulb and dust off the dirt and put it in for curing. Then fewer wrappers have to be removed after curing.

In other news, the rainy day made me want to make another sorrel soup (see May entry for recipe) and this one was PERFECTION. It went right to my bones.

1 comment:

Flimsy Sanity said...

I really enjoy your writing. I am a lazy gardener - trying the Ruth Stout method...had a very wet spring so it was disappointing but I hope things will shoot ahead now that it is hot and dry.