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Yesterday, I planted garlic for harvest next July. I planted garlic cloves in various spots in the garden. Two or three here. Three or four over there. Each autumn the temperature drops enough to remind me it’s time to get things around the yard ready for winter. That temperature nudge is the same one reminding me it is time to plant the garlic.

If you plant garlic too early, it will sprout, which should be avoided. If you wait too late, the ground will start to freeze. I’ve planted in October before, but I think most years I do it early in November. The garlic plants will show themselves early in spring. Later, scapes will appear. These should be cut off so the plant will put its energy into the bulb instead of into blooms. Last spring I made pesto from the scapes and it was delicious.

By the second or third week of July, our garlic is usually ready for harvest. I watch the leaves. When the bottom 2 or 3 leaves turn brown, the garlic is ready. After harvest, I hang the garlic in a dry place to cure. This year it was from an “easy-up” we had set up on the deck. After a couple weeks, the garlic is ready for the kitchen. We have this year’s crop braided, hanging above the sink where it is handy whenever we need it.

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