This year I decided to pull my garlic earlier than later. I usually try for the biggest bulbs, but that comes at the cost of many over-ripe ones. So, fewer over-ripe but not as many huge was the decision. Not sure it made much difference over-all. Got a LOT of garlic.
Here's what the crop looks like just after I forked it out of the bed. I should probably have taken a pic of the bed with the garlic in it, but it wasn't pretty. The chamomile that had grown with it (which we harvested a month or so ago) had been a support as well, and the garlic ended up getting a bit floppy. Didn't hurt the crop none, tho, as you can see (this is out of about 7' of a 10'x3' bed):
I save some garlic to plant again in October. Garlic is literally free year-over-year. Anyhow, below is the 'anti-vampire bouquet' that will stay in the shed for the next 3-4 months waiting for me to take the heads apart and poke cloves into the ground. Seems to work: there are NEVER vampires in our shed in late summer.
The picture above shows the heads trimmed back with pruning shears and washed. If we were storing long-term we wouldn't do this, of course: the bouquet above is the way to go for storing heads. But we're processing right away.
Below is the heads taken apart and soaking. I'd read online that this is supposed to make peeling easier. Maybe I didn't soak long enough... it wasn't any easier. Took us hours last eve.
After the cloves were peeled, I mixed in abotu 1 1/2 cups of olive oil, and put the whole shebang in the fridge overnight. The bottom bowl in the pic above shows what they looked like this morning... and the top of that pic shows what they look like after going through the Kitchenaid grinder (medium).
Then, at the end of the process: 4 pints of eye-wateringly strong and hot garlic. This ain't the stuff they sell at Costco, kids. It'll hurt ya! We've got a good 8-10 months worth here... almost enough. This fall I will plant a full 3x10 bed to garlic.
And that's how it's done at our homestead ;)