Garlic, Broccoli, and Blackberries

The gardening season is moving along so fast. It’s hard to believe it is time to start digging garlic. Actually, it was past time for a few of the earliest ones. I let one of the new varieties, Maiskij, go too long. The leaves and stems were completely brown and dried. The wrapper skins had deteriorated on many of them, which means they won’t keep well at all. I normally like to harvest garlic with three or four leaves still green, and the rest brown. That’s my signal to start digging, but I missed it.

Maiskij garlic splitting (click on any image to enlarge)

With a name like Maiskij, I should have known it would be early. From the catalog description: “the name refers to May, the month it is harvested…this will be your first garlic to emerge after fall planting and the first to harvest.” Oh well, I’ll know better next year! It should keep long enough to plant this fall. It sure made some nice big fat bulbs in its first year.

Chinese Pink is another early garlic, and it was just ready to harvest. As was Shilla, and both are nice sized this year. Most of these early garlics are Asiatic or Turban hardneck types that have great flavor, but don’t store very well. So we’ll use them first, and I have plans to dry a batch of them in the dehydrator. All the garlics will hang to dry in the basement for a couple of weeks, with a dehumidifier running. That’s the best place I have to dry garlic. It’s too humid anywhere outside. I won’t clean them up or weigh them until they have cured.

Chinese Pink (L) and Shilla (R) garlics hanging to dry

The most exciting news I have on the garlic front is about my lone Creole variety. I got Ajo Rojo from Christina in a garlic swap back in 2010. Last year, the sizes on the Ajo Rojo were all over the place. I selected the biggest cloves from the biggest bulbs for planting in 2011, and hoped for the best. This year, the bulbs are all quite big, so it means they are getting acclimated to our area.

Ajo Rojo garlic 2012 harvest

And that is wonderful, because Ajo Rojo is a great tasting garlic and a good keeper. The white wrappers hide the lovely red cloves inside. I will be planting more of this great garlic in 2012.

2011 Ajo Rojo is still usable 12 months after harvest

Speaking of alliums, we’re getting some nice early onions here too. It’s my first time growing the Italian beauty Red Torpedo Tropea, but it sure won’t be my last. The one in the below photo was nice sized and even nicer tasting. I’d like to try some of these on the grill. I’m sure ours aren’t quite as good as the famous ones from the Calabria region of Italy, but they sure are a lot closer to get! I grew these from plants I got from Seeds from Italy.

Red Torpedo Tropea onion

It wasn’t all garlic and onions here last week though. I cut quite a bit of the Apollo broccoli. This is the closest thing most home gardeners have to growing broccolini, which is a trademarked variety (and seed is not available). Apollo has long tender stems, a sweet taste, and the side shoots keep coming for a long time. It was great lightly steamed.

Apollo broccoli

I also got more kohlrabi, and lots of yellow squash and zucchini. The squashes have been sauteed for a side dish, and some wound up in a frittata.

Zucchini and purple Kohlrabi

I harvested quite a bit of the Purple Queen beans, enough to use in the kitchen as well as enough to start freezing for later use. I made a Walnut Green Bean salad for our picnic lunch on Thursday. My wife made her curried chicken salad, and we took some kohlrabi and dip. It made for a great lunch at Lincoln State Park.

picnic lunch

And last, but never least, the blackberries are starting to ripen. The first few didn’t even make it into the house, but got eaten out in the blackberry patch. The plants are loaded with berries, and 2012 looks to be another good year for one of our most prolific and easy to grow fruits. The total haul this year will be down a bit, since we ripped out about half of the plants to make room for some new varieties (Natchez, Ouachita and Loch Ness). But that still should leave us with plenty of berries. There was about 2 quarts in this first harvest – not bad at all so far!

We continue to get nice amount of blueberries too, which we are really enjoying while they are fresh. And the lettuce and carrots are giving us plenty to eat too. I even froze some carrots for making soup this winter, in a mix along with green beans, squash, and onions. I should have some celery to add to the soup mix before long.

That’s what we have been harvesting here in mid June. For more gardeners’ harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions.

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18 Responses to Garlic, Broccoli, and Blackberries

  1. Liz says:

    Great harvests, love the big fat garlic cloves. How do you store your garlic? I’ve never managed to get any through a year without sprouting.

  2. Norma Chang says:

    The Maiskij, such a pretty head of garlic. I am going to look for the Apollo broccoli. Great blackberry harvest. Should net mine before the birds get to them.

  3. Mark Willis says:

    I’m growing garlic for the first time this year. I missed the boat in the Autumn and went for some that was described simply as “Spring-planting Garlic” without any variety name. Is there such a thing, really, or is it just stuff the supplier had left over unsold from the Autumn do you think?

    • Dave says:

      I honestly don’t know about “spring planted” garlic. It just may not get as big when planted in spring. But then you can replant this fall!

  4. Bee Girl says:

    Your garlic is gorgeous! Not sure how our crop is doing (the stalks look piss poor, but the accidental harvest we had last week wasn’t too bad) and it’s my first try at a hard neck variety. Time will tell 🙂

  5. kitsapFG says:

    I noticed a few outer leaves turning on my garlic but it is not quite ready yet. However, your experience reminds me to be vigilant and keep paying attention to it. That is a gorgeous red onion! Beautifully grown. The broccoli, summer squash, kohlrabi, and berries were also a nice haul this week. Lunch sounds like it was tasty and fun!

  6. Barbie says:

    Beautiful garlics! Your garlic definately trumps mine. I never even got any good heads. I ended up having to run mine through the food processor and freeze it in order to have it for storage. Boooo… but at least it tastes good! LOL. Better than nothing!

  7. maryhysong says:

    Great Garlic harvest! I’m still working on my soil to have good garlic, maybe next year! Love those blackberries. You had a nice varied harvest this week!

  8. Looks like you hit pay dirt this week. That garlic looks awesome! Your broccoli is also very impressive.

  9. Jenny says:

    Beautiful garlic! Other veggies look pretty good too 🙂

  10. Rick says:

    Wow, garlic already! It looks great! We will be at least another month before ours is ready. We also have shallots that are getting close to being ready to dig!!

  11. Mike R says:

    That’s a lot of variety in the harvest, and blackberries already. This fall I will get some garlic planted.

  12. Dave's SFG says:

    Never planted garlic but you are inspiring me to try it. And I’m getting more and more interested in Italian varieties, so I’m going to add the Tropea to my planning list for next year.

  13. Barbara Good says:

    Wow, that’s just about the best, most varied harvest I’ve seen. The garlic looks fabulous, I hope mine does half as well. The broccoli sounds like the perfect variety too. My sister-in-law just bought broccolini seedlings which surprised me, I didn’t think you could get broccolini, I’ve certainly never seen seeds. I’m going to be interested to see what actually grows. I’m salivating over your berries too.

  14. Mary says:

    Great garlic harvest! I wish mine had done even half as well, but I think the drought kept it from producing fully maturing.

  15. Daphne says:

    Those blackberries look so good. I’m only growing one variety of garlic this year. Last year I grew two that I brought over from my last garden, but one variety didn’t like it here, so I didn’t replant. At least the one I have is a good keeper and makes huge cloves. The huge cloves are nice for cooking but when you plant it uses a lot of the garlic weight up. I tend to have to plant about a fifth of my crop for the next year.

  16. Michelle says:

    Oh, I’m envious of that beautiful garlic! I will have to rely on garlic from the farmer’s market this year which will be good but never as good as home grown. The rest of your harvests are to be envied as well.

  17. Oh, I’m jealous you still have Broccoli. I’m actually quite a fan of early garlic. In fact, that’s all we grew this year. It spends so long in the ground (we plant in October), that by May to early June, I’m itching to get it out of the garden so I can plant something else! There’s nothing like homegrown though, it always tastes sweeter to me than the heads you can buy in the markets. I love the color of the Maiskij cloves.

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