After being in the ground for over six months, it was finally time to harvest my garlic. I planted over 150 Italian White garlic cloves back around the end of March. It was a soggy start for them due to the unseasonable heavy rains we experienced through autumn. Besides the saturated soil causing some of the cloves to rot, there was the huge number of weeds which vied for supremacy. All the while I had to remind the weedy brethren who owned this particular patch.
Of course, towards the end of the growing period, our rain situation was quite the opposite. The soil around the garlic became like powder at times, so plenty of water was required to keep them going. While dry conditions are great as the garlic comes to the end of its season, it is not so good when the season has not quite completed yet.
Growing garlic in the sub-tropics is significantly different from what I had been used to in Canada. In the old country, I would plant out the cloves at the end of autumn, just before the ground would freeze over. The cloves would lie dormant until spring, when, as soon as the ground warmed, they would be up like a crocus, even when there was still snow on the ground.
In the sub-tropics you plant garlic around March to early April after the intense heat of summer has faded a bit. Then you wait until around September to October to harvest them while they are still very much green and alive; as opposed to dying back like in Canada. The conditions in the sub-tropics at this time of year are ideal for the harvesting of garlic, as they should be allowed to dry out before harvest.
So how did the harvest turn out? Very well I thought. Even the tiniest cloves were able to produce a garlic bulb, albeit on the small size. Even with the heavy rains, I only lost a handful of garlic. While not all of the garlic are large, many are quite sizable. It will be from these biggies that I consider for my breeding stock come next year. Improvements in my planting next year will be a higher garden bed, thus having better drainage. As well, I will provide a bit more space between each plant.
In the meantime the garlic is now drying inside as we have been getting rain again. In a couple more weeks there will be even more reasons to have garlic in the dish; because there is *nothing* like organic fungicide-free garlic!