NOW IS THE TIME TO PLANT GARLIC– at least here in the Pacific Northwest, for mid-summer harvesting. For the last four years or so I have been planting five varieties: Inchelium Red, Chesnok and three unknown varieties; one softneck and two hardneck types started from one head each, originally grown by friends. I plant 25 cloves of each variety. It typically takes 2-3 heads to provide the largest cloves.
After planting the largest cloves I am left with a lot of medium and small sized cloves to use up.
My solution for using all those orphaned cloves is to poach all them very slowly in olive oil until they are meltingly soft (place all the skin-on cloves in a heavy pan or metal bowl; cover with a lid and shake like mad. The skins pop off!). Use bay leaves as I did or any other herb of choice for a little extra flavor if it suits you. I end up with two wonderful products: garlic flavored oil (refrigerate) and soft, sweet cloves to mash into just about anything you would use roasted garlic for.
GARLIC HARVEST was later than normal but there were still plenty of green leaves left on most of the stalks to insure good wrappers when dry and only one variety had started to fall over. I harvested Inchelium (26), two types of hardneck (50), an unknown softneck variety from friends (28), and a dozen Itlaian White, which after three generations are finally to golf ball size. Still left to harvest is Chesnok, (another hardneck type) that looks like it needs another week or so. I lay the garlic on the potting bench for about two weeks to cure before completing the cleaning and trimming for storage. The potting bench is on the north side of the house and protected from rain by wide eaves.
Here’s a look at the vegetable garden; the lettuces and zucchini plants seem to be most vigorous, but everything is doing pretty well in spite of the mixed-up weather.
This is where the zucchini pickles begin. Yesterday I picked enough zucchini from three plants to make the first batch of Bread & Butter style pickles. The variety is Costata, a firm fleshed, ribbed type that held up well for pickles last year.
Step one is the sliced zucchini and onions, salted and covered with cold water and ice cubes for two hours.
I found a use for the garlic scapes: I peeled them and placed one ‘head’ into each jar of pickles.
Musings from the back roads
Celebrating the Harvest
All things botanical in photos and words—in my West Seattle garden and elsewhere; seeing and creating art and assorted musings.
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