Garlic and Shallots

Today I harvested the garlic. The green tops were starting to look a little brown and toasty at the tips, and when I pulled up one plant, the bulb was well-formed and large.

This is a variety called Inchelium Red. It's an heirloom softneck that consistently wins awards for flavor. Upon cutting open the bulb, though rather soft because it was newly harvested, I found the cloves were simply gigantic.

I am very pleased with this harvest. I grew enough to fill the wheelbarrow and it should last nearly a year. I will let it dry between the chicken coop ceiling and roof, and will braid it when it is fully cured. When the garlic begins to show the strain of being hung in a house that is not nearly cool enough in the summer, I will separate the bulbs in to cloves and freeze them in a bit of oil. I did not particularly like pickled garlic and do not plan to preserve it that way again. However freezing worked well.

It's awfully nice to have our own garlic again. I hated buying it in the store, as you never know how long it's been sitting there, and half the time the cloves are mostly mush.

In order to make room for the garlic on top of the coop, I had to pull down the shallots that have been curing there since April 9th. They are not completely dry, but enough so that we could clean them and hang them in mesh bags on the canning shelf.

Pretty, aren't they? I'm also happy with the size of the shallots. It's a pain to peel them when they're tiny. We use shallots in place of onions in all our cooking so I am often peeling them. I believe this variety was French Grey, though they look anything but grey. Perhaps it's referring to the foliage which did have a silvery tint to it.

Today I got the winter squash planted, as well as the gourds and mini-pumpkins; I will save planting of the large pumpkins for a few weeks from now - I want to start them in the collard bed once the collards have a chance to grow tall.

We are all exhausted, it was an incredibly busy week and weekend, and I confess we were all a bit lazy today. I spent a good bit of time sitting in front of the bee hive, spacing out while watching their comings and goings. I witnessed what looked like a bee funeral. I know, I'm anthropomorphizing them, but it really did look like a group of bees paying their last respects to a dead bee before flying it over the side to land it gently in the graveyard below.

I know I'm always talking about the weather (I must be becoming a true farmer!), but we're supposed to get some days of 90 degree heat this week, and I'm hoping the six kinds of basil I planted will finally sprout. Hope you all have a lovely week!