I have the best intentions, really I do. I took the May writing challenge at 750 Words and was cruising right along until Saturday when the thought of writing never crossed my mind once. Not once. Then a few minutes after midnight I remembered but, too late, I was already on The Wall of Shame. Yikes! As a follow up to my somber disappointment I did not bother to visit 750Words on Sunday or Monday, either.
I really like the website. The writing platform is clean and straightforward and for someone like me, who likes to quantify everything, it's nice to have a word count, the time it took to peck out those words and see some other data as well. It is based on Julia Cameron's advice that writers can benefit from morning pages, writing 3 pages of whatever is bouncing around in the ol' echo chamber first thing in the morning.
I found that it gave me a space to write about work and to purge bothersome little annoyances that aren't worth expressing out loud without coming across as petty and hateful. It was also a good place for me to write about dreams and goals without coming across as unrealistic. I'll go back to it eventually, probably as soon as tomorrow. I couldn't do it today because I wanted to share the garden news with you!
Last summer, in late September, possibly even very early October, we planted our first garlic. We chose a variety called Inchelium Red. It is a softneck variety and stores for 6 to 9 months. Michael planted the individual cloves 6" apart along the length of the large bed. That must be about 10'. They sprouted right away and have looked healthy and hearty for months now. I pulled one up just to see how far along the bulbs were back in January, then again less than a month ago. There was no bulb development and I was starting to think that I'd never see a garlic head. I looked at You Tube videos, read blogs and books to try to determine when I should harvest.
All the information said that the garlic is ready to harvest when the green leaves start to turn brown. Our garlic leaves seemed to look healthy still. There was some drying brown husks at the bottom but overall they looked pretty good. Or so I thought.
Yesterday I pulled the most withered garlic stalk that I could find and BEHOLD! There was a big, fat bulb at the other end. I thought it might be a fluke so I pulled its neighbor out and again, a swollen, albeit a very dirty white bulb came up and out of the soil. I raced back into the house to show Michael, trying to hide the garlic stalks behind me until it was time for the big reveal but when I saw him I immediately thrust them out, "LOOK!"
I had him take a picture of me on the front porch beaming like a dope with my newly dug garlic. Afterward, I tried to rein in my excitement and help Michael with the dead tree removal (he cut down the dead hackberry on Saturday) but I was far too distracted by all of the garlic. I pulled the row up, one after the other a bulb dangled at the end. I can hardly express the satisfaction. I laid them out on the picnic table and eventually found a good place for them to cure.
The first stage of garlic curing is to set them out for a week or so intact. The second step is trimming the roots and the long stalks unless you intend to braid them. I'll try a few braids but probably not the entire bunch. They are pretty much perfect except for one that was left in too long and grew through the papery wrapper and one that wasn't developed all the way.
I already cleaned and used one clove from one head for eggs this morning. It was peppery hot and looked like a pearl on the cutting board. We are definitely planting garlic again in September. Probably twice as much unless I come to my senses before then.