The Garlic Is Harvested

WHOO HOO!!! I am so happy to have the garlic out of the ground and hanging in the barn. Especially since we got it done last week before the extreme heat arrived. This year’s harvest was much easier than the past several years because we planted significantly less garlic last fall. It was a big chore none the less.

Since my husband is working a landscaping job right now my plan was to work on harvesting the garlic in the cooler morning hours then work on bundling and hanging it later in the day because I wouldn’t have to be in the hot sun to do that part. I knew he would help as time allowed.

The harvest went even smoother than I planned. I started digging the garlic Tuesday morning and had the first 1 1/2 rows dug by about 11:00 a.m. I had planned on working until noon but it started to rain. Since I didn’t know how long the rain would last I decided to get the garlic that was out of the ground to a dry spot and then take a break. I put the garlic on a tarp under the barn overhang, where it would stay dry until I came back to put it in bundles. That evening my husband moved it inside the barn.

That early rain shower didn’t last long or amount to much, but that evening and over night we had some significant rain fall, enough rain that my husband was not needed at his job on Wednesday. By Wednesday morning all that rain had moved out of the area so we were able to get back into the field and finish the harvest.

We took the Scout and Trooper and a cooler full of cold water and drove to the garlic field. As my husband got out of the van he said something that got my attention. When I asked what he had said he replied, “It’s the biggest bull frog I’ve ever seen.”  I went to take a look and had to agree.


Thankfully this guy did not get run over as we drove into the field. It appeared as if this was not his first close call. He had abrasions on both sides of his body that looked as if something had tried to make a meal out of him – a large fish perhaps. To keep him safe (or at least from getting run over) my husband carried him to the pond where he quickly swam away.

My husband and I worked together digging garlic and found that the rain that fell the night before had worked in our favor as many of the bulbs could just be pulled out of the ground. “The less I have to put my foot on a shovel, the better,” my husband said.

When my husband took a wagon load of garlic to the barn he returned telling me that a neighbor had come to visit. This particular neighbor loves company and has really taken to my husband. His name is Peanut.


A while later when I went to the barn I was greeted by Peanut, and as I was returning to the garlic field he decided to follow me. This was a concern because Scout and Trooper, who were hanging out in the van, are not cat lovers. Nowadays Scout is not much of a threat because his vision is gone, his hearing is poor and his body is weak. His nose still works perfectly though. Trooper on the other hand is still a very keen watch dog who will chase off anyone or anything he doesn’t think belongs on our farm. Normally when Trooper gives chase the invaders run off and Trooper is satisfied that he has done his job. Peanut was not going to run off.

My husband attempted to introduce Trooper to Peanut and Trooper was very curious about this intruder. As he attempted sniffing Peanut from head to tail Peanut got offended. He hissed and scratched Trooper on the nose. My husband picked up Peanut and took him back to the barn area while I got Trooper in the van then headed back to the garlic field. This only lasted a few minutes before Peanut was back by the van. Scout who couldn’t see the cat got a good whiff of him then became anxious and wanted to go looking for him. Trooper got out of the van so my husband grabbed Peanut, jumped in the van and took him home. He also went by our house and got a wet soapy wash cloth and some ointment for Trooper’s scratch. While he was gone Trooper went around sniffing all of the areas that the cat had been. Looking but not finding him. He then went for a swim in the pond and settled down a bit. Just before my husband returned I walked into the barn only to see Peanut laying in front of the tractor. When my husband returned I suggested he take Scout and Trooper back to our house so we could get our work done. He agreed.


Within an hour of having that mess settled we had the rest of the garlic harvested and by the end of the day they were all hanging in the barn. The above photo shows the approximately 1000 bulbs we harvested on Wednesday with the tools we used.

I have to admit this year’s crop is disappointing. Between bitter cold temperatures over the winter and an extremely wet spring we lost approximately 25% of what was planted. Of the bulbs we did harvest the majority of them are small. We have very few bulbs that will be large enough to use for seed garlic for next years crop.

What does this means for our future in growing garlic – I am not sure. We will just keep moving forward the best we can. Perhaps garlic farming is not in our future.

Thanks for reading?







40 thoughts on “The Garlic Is Harvested

  1. What a wonderful harvest! I love garlic, especially when I roast a head of it in a buttery sauce. Wonder if that’s why I have very few friends willing to come in when they smell it? I have grown garlic in pots in my window in the past but the heads are never very large. The small ones are so much better though, at least in my opinion.

    Has your husband fed Peanut? That’s a sure way to keep him coming back. Good luck with next years crop, Don’t let this one make you give it up. Take it from an old farm wife, some years are fat and others are lean, but just don’t give up and it will all work out in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have never made roasted garlic in butter sauce. I do make garlic butter by adding minced garlic to butter then using it on toast, potatoes, green beans or other veggies.
      Friends and family who have visited our barn when the garlic is drying usually comment about how good it smells.
      No, we haven’t fed peanut. He is just a very friendly cat and I suspect he doesn’t get a lot of attention at home so seeks it where he can find it.
      Thank you for the encouragement. We do plan on planting garlic this fall although I am sure it will be a much smaller crop.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On our farm things constantly surprised us., Plant a large crop and only a portion came up, but plant a smaller one and it came up in so many ways from dropping seed that grew on the side to each seed producing triple the amount you expected. I think that’s why I loved living out there. I wish I could see your barn. It must be amazing!

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  2. A great post Ruth, pity about losing quite a bit of your garlic crop, l think around the world gardeners domestic and commercial are finding losses due to the climate changes. 2019 plantings for this season has/have made Suze and l seriously restrategise next year’s planting. We had skip crops – or crops that were young one week approaching harvest and then they skipped a beat or something and by the next week they were damaged or rotting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best answer we have is just growing a variety of things. Hopefully if some things do not do well others will. I guess the only certain thing about gardening/farming is that it is uncertain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Ruth, very, very true. Suze and l grew a variety of crops this year, had a decent success with strawberries, but everything else was a little uncertain 🙂


      2. We have had really good berry crops this year – strawberries, blueberries, currants, and cherries even our wild raspberries that never produce much had lots of berries this year. Our garden crops, though planted late, seem to be doing well, but as you mention that can turn around quickly.

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      3. We planted later than perhaps we should have, but we had some very distorted seasons. Winter was too mild and we were waiting for the cold that never came, the grounds never got the spring rains as is a usual either, we got the rains at the wrong, wrong time that did more damage than good, and the heat arrived. But everything just had this missing heartbeat present which just aged things really quickly, kind of spooky.

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      4. Our seasons were off as well. In winter we had some extreme cold which I am certain is responsible for much of our garlic loss. Then the spring rains just kept coming. It was too wet to even get into the fields to plant. Now we are in a dry spell which isn’t uncommon for this time of year but we are having to water every few day to keep things growing.

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  3. That’s a big bullfrog and those were big scrapes he had on him … the weather sure wreaked havoc with your garlic and I guess it is surprising you had that much garlic, given the bouts of chilly temps, torrential rain, and then extreme heat. That means your barn is a year old because didn’t you just get it finished in time to put the harvested garlic in it Ruth?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, the smell from last year’s garlic was long gone, but the garlic smell returned this year as we hung the garlic. The smell is not overpowering though. Last year many visitors commented about how good it smelled. When garlic is first dug it does have the garlic smell but as it cures or dries the smell fades. When you peel it and cut into it you get the strongest garlic smell and flavor. Cooking the garlic will reduce both the smell and flavor.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve never cooked with garlic so I didn’t know if it always smelled or not. I know my mom used garlic salt or garlic powder most of the time, though occasionally she’d put a garlic “toe” or two into a pot roast.

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  4. Poor Trooper! But your garlic looks amazing, even though it might be smaller. I wanted to try planting some this year but we got sidetracked. I DID have the first of the green beans with dinner the other night and they were delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, Trooper really is a nice dog. His breed is referred to as a “gentle giant” and he is true to his breed.
      If you are going to plant garlic plan on planting in the fall. If you will be buying seed garlic now is the time to order them. Hard neck varieties do best in colder climates.
      Garden fresh green beans are the best! I love to top them with garlic butter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sad your garlic harvest was not as bountiful as you would have liked. I did, however, love reading about Peanut and your two dogs. For some reason cats kind of do what they want and go where they want…maybe that is why I am partial to them?
    I have never tried growing garlic. It sounds fun to try but my husband doesn’t care for it so I don’t try growing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Faye. Cats do tend to do their own thing. This is a very nice cat and it has befriended my husband. I suspect he and Trooper will eventually come to an understanding. LOL.


  6. I’m sorry it hasn’t been better but it’s something at least & it still sounds like a successful adventure in harvesting it! Peanut is very sweet. Wonder what he’s think of the bullfrog? I’m terrified of my cat finding a frog in the garden – he saw one once and I quickly snatched him up so he wouldn’t hurt the little thing. But that frog you discovered is quite the monster size! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. The harvest went well and though the crop was disappointing it wasn’t devastating.
      Scout and Trooper use to love to chase the frogs in the pond. They didn’t catch them but they would try to step on them but the frogs were to quick. It was pretty funny to watch. Scout can’t see anymore but now and then Trooper will spot one and chase it into the water.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Why did you plant less this time around? Was last year’s harvest too much?
    I’m sorry you lost 1/4 of your garlic. That’s quite a bit of a punch.

    Cats… they just think they are kings of the world.


    1. The last two years we found that we were kind of at a middle ground having more garlic than was needed by our small markets but could not supply enough for the big markets. It was a choice between going bigger or smaller. Considering them amount of time and work involved we decided to scale back and just supply the smaller established markets.
      I think the trade off for having a poor garlic crop this year was having great berry crops.
      LOL. Trooper thinks this one should be dethroned.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Never a dull moment, sounds like you might have yourself a barn cat. Don’t be to discouraged with your garlic. They way it was raining this spring I was thinking you might not have any at all this year. Even though they are small I bet the flavor is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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