Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Harvest overwintering onions and Garlic now

Hard at work harvesting in the VEC garden
Time to do a litle bit of digging. I have been reading that over-wintering garlic will not grow past midsummer(June 21st) so harvest it now, give it time to dry off and start using it right away. Apparently main crop (spring sown) Garlic should be harvested before the end of July too. Not sure if I have ever harvested them that early but I'm giving it a go this year and we will see how it works out. Overwintering onions are ready now too, their round bodies should be sitting up on the soil, leaves and stalks bent over, as if to say-pick me! I'm ready.

Last week the lads harvested both from the VEC garden amid messing and laughing-it's hard to keep them focused on the task at hand for very long. They did manage to hold it together for long enough to measure the yields in quantity and weight and we had a good discussion about the drying off part which is really the most important.
onions and garlic laid out on the bed
When you are drying maincrop onions and garlic you must treat it as a long term job. First you pull up the crop, if the weather is fine you can leave them lying on the top of the bed for about two weeks to do the initial drying. In bad weather you will have to take them into a tunnel, a cold frame, or at the very least onto dry ground where they wont get rain for a few weeks. After that first drying take them to the north side of your house, on a sheltered dry spot, dry them out for several more weeks until the skins turn papery and the neck of the onions in particular are very thin and dried out. They must get to this extremely dried out atage to store well for the winter.

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