Friday, June 29, 2012


This is healthy garlic, harvested on May 29th at the beach farm. The wrappers, those layers of paper-like sheaths, are actually the dried leaves of the garlic plant. The more leaves, the more papery layers. Wrappers are important because they protect the garlic in the ground and later in storage. Well-wrapped garlic will store longer.

Turbans harvest early, and this year, especially so. May was an exceptionally wet month and despite well-draining sandy loam at the beach farm, the soil was wet when this variety was ready for harvest. Except, we want to avoid water in the last week or two before garlic harvest. As the leaves dry above ground, they are also doing so below ground. Wet soil leads those dying leaves to split and maybe rot. When the wrappers rot, the garlic inside has less protection.

Have you ever wet paper and then left it to dry? If so, you know what happens -it wrinkles. That's what you see in the above Turban. The wrappers were wet and when dried in the curing process, they wrinkled. It's perfectly good garlic, just less attractive. I remove the outermost wrapper, losing most of the attractive purple mottle, in order to present a healthier looking bulb. We've been having drier weather now, so I don't expect any more wrinkles.

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