This is my garlic harvest for this season. Here, garlic is planted around October and harvested the following May. During our recent move, I lost my heirloom garlic so I just planted garlic from the local grocery store. I don’t know whether this stuff is hard or soft neck, but suspect that it is soft neck. I bought several bulbs and planted the larger outer cloves. Although my heirloom garlic was gone, I still wanted to plant garlic. This stuff seems to have done OK.
I probably should have harvested it sooner, but since it is just store garlic I didn’t know how it would do so it wasn’t a priority. The bulb at the far left looks way over-mature because a clove has outgrown its paper wrapper. Also, the soft garlic I grew never had that bump in the stem a few inches above the bulb. I cut the tops off of these bulbs and will store them and use them as needed and see how well they keep.
This is the first winter that I have had a covered hoop garden. A few posts ago, you can see the garden beds with the hoops in place. The hoops are 10′ under ground gray conduit. About a dollar and a half each, not bad. They are secured into the ground with a 2′ section of 3/8″ rebar, cut to 2′ sections and pounded half way into the ground.
The tent is a 24′ section of thicker plastic from Lowes. It was a 100′ roll that cost $40 something. I cut it into 4 sections, allowing about 4′ to hang over the ends and be gathered and secured. I did not nail the plastic on – I simply weighed the long sides down with pieces of lumber. Seemed to work OK.
Since the plastic is only on the beds for half the year – about October thru March – and not the hard summer sun, I am hoping that the pieces will last several years.
I was surprised at the amount of heat under the plastic on a cool winter day. The greens seemed to like it.
You can see a few garlic scattered about. The greens in the front are luculus chard. The greens on the left side, mid way back are kohlrabi, which we are eating for the greens. On the front right side, out of view, is Parris Isle cos lettuce. (Some of it seemed to freeze to death – unusual because I have never had it freeze to death before). Scarlet nantes carrots are growing in the far back right side. They seem to be happy. They better fill out in the next month because by mid-March when I plan on pulling them to make room for some of my summer squash to get an early start. They prefer warm weather, but I am going to see if I can start them early under the hoops with the plastic sheeting protecting and warming them. The yellow flowers on the back left side are bok choy going to seed. It won’t be any good because no insects were in the tent to pollinate them. They took a beating when the outside temps reached down to the mid-teens – the white stems died but the green leaves seemed to survive just fine. Every thing else – except possibly some lettuce – survived the seriously freezing temps.
This was my first winter to experiment with plastic covered garden tents for winter hardening. Next winter I need to get some serious production since I now have an idea of what’s going on. I also found out that to protect my winter crops from the rabbits and deer, I need to grow everything except the turnips and curly kale under the hoops. All of my lettuce and spinach that I planted outside the tents was eaten.
I have prepared two of my raised beds for hoop gardens. I plan to do this for my 3rd bed that doesn’t have a raised cattle panel running down the middle of it.
The beds are made out of 16′ lengths of 1×6 treated lumber. The boxes are 5′ wide. I purchased four 20′ sections of 3/8″ rebar and had one of my sons cut them into 2′ sections. I decided to put 7 hoops on each 16′ bed. I pounded the 2′ sections of rebar 1′ into the ground, leaving 1′ above ground – the height of the bed side. I used 10′ sections of gray electrical conduit to bend over the bed for the arch. Each end of the conduit covers the raised 1′ section. Hopefully this will be satisfactory to anchor the pressured ends of the conduit. I plan to tie a piece of the gray conduit along the top of the arch to keep the pipes properly spaced. I will then cover the arches with clear plastic. I need to find a thick 50′ roll of plastic. Twenty-five feet will cover each bed with enough to gather at the ends. I need a roll that is at least 12′ wide so that it will cover the 10′ arch and leave at least a foot to lay on the ground and be weighed down by old garden timbers or lengths of wood.
I still need to work the ground around these beds – putting mulch around the beds.
The winters here have been getting colder each year for a while now, so I am hoping these covered hoop beds will allow me to grow winter crops better. On the list for my winter crops are: cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce – both leaf and cos, turnips, carrots, fava beans, peas and whatever else I can’t think of at the moment. Garlic doesn’t need to be protected from the freezes.
Since we have slowed way down in our garlic consumption, I grew much fewer garlic plants this past fall than usual.
Here in east Texas, garlic is planted in the fall and harvested in May, or early June at the latest. This is my harvest for this year, drying on a screen.
This past fall, I planted both my heirloom silverskin garlic and some plump cloves from the store. I am pleased with my harvest this year – more of the garlics were large. I can tell the store garlics because they have a purple color to them. My heirloom garlic did not have any purple coloring in them.
Next year I am going to plant more garlic. I don’t think I planted enough this season. Always plant your largest cloves because garlic has a tendency to grow downsized. I also am drying some of my onions. In the background soil, you can see my sweet potato slips in the greenhouse soil.
September is garlic planting time around here. A soft neck silver skin is the type to plant here. This bed is mostly the largest cloves from last year’s heirloom harvest, with some large silver skin grocery store bought cloves mixed in.
Although it is hard to see, this bed is slightly raised and planted inside of a steel-edged bed. Garlic and onions are very interesting plants. They are hard to kill and easy to sprout. Just take some large cloves (garlic down sizes – meaning that it tends to grow smaller than the cloves planted – so only plant your largest cloves each year), and stick them in the ground during the proper planting time in your area, and they will sprout and grow. Similar to the red spider lillies that have sprouted up around the yard. They are also part of the garlic/onion family and you can did up and divide their garlic like roots. Just when you think that you killed the spider lillies, they will sprout up in the fall, even if they don’t have enough food left in the bulb to flower – they will put out green leaves.
These garlic should be ready to harvest in May or early June.
I bought heirloom garlic to plant this past fall. Here in East Texas, garlic planting time is in the fall and the type of garlic to plant is silverskin.
These plants are almost ready to harvest:
This is the same patch with the garlic ready for harvest – the plants are bending over and more leaves are drying up:
I pulled some of the garlic. I am very disappointed with the size of the bulb. I am going to leave most of the garlic for a while longer, although the tops are just about dried up.
I am disappointed with the size of these bulbs. They aren’t much bigger than the bulbs I got last year from planting regular store bought silverskin garlic. Need to do more research on growing garlic here in east Texas.