The Garlic Harvest

I don’t know whether to feel relived or miserable. My garlic crop is in and part of it has been hit by White Rot – but only part, so some room for positivity. Garlic is one of my biggest crops. Nothing beats homegrown garlic; the small dried up old bulbs that are sold in the shops have no real flavour in comparison.

Garlic Harvest 2011

I plant my garlic in autumn, and use a combination of self saved cloves and specialist provider – Provence, Early Purple, Albigensian, Picardy, and  Iberian. Previous years have been good to me and my garlic, with lovely fat juicy flavoursome bulbs, which have stored well into early Spring.

With the cold winter, followed by a very warm and dry spring the garlic is nearly a month early. and yesterday when on the plot I noticed a few were either bent over, or were “rotting away”.  I pulled a few up, and misery or miseries, white rot has found it’s way onto my plot. The worst affected are the Provence and so today I’ve dug/pulled the rest of the crop and will spend the next few days sorting out what can be stored, what needs to be used now and what is to be thrown away. I won’t compost the affected garlic, as I don’t want it to spread any more of the disease around the plot.

The varieties that have fared the best are the Iberian and the Early Purple, and the Picardy, which is a new one for me this year, it has stunningly bright white skin and cloves, I’ve yet to see what it tastes like. I’ll dry these outside for a while and then plait and hang them up in our shed. The pungent smell when you open the door is truly a scent  to behold!

The plan is to chop some of the garlic up and freeze it in ice-cube trays and some I will pickle. The bulbs that are ok and can be stored are tiny in comparison to previous years. So I’m disappointed, but at the same time have to acknowledge the fact that at least I got some to save.

So now I have some thinking and reading to do, i.e. how to deal with the dreaded white rot.

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