Soft Neck Garlic Harvest and Shallots
After listening to the Cultivate Simple Podcast #37 on my way home this evening and getting inspired for some fall/winter gardening/planting I figured it was time pull the soft-neck garlic test bed I planted last fall. This bed was planted to compare and confirm that the soft-neck garlic is just not productive for me in Zone 5b. As you can see this bed is looking pretty dead. Around the perimeter I stuck a few off the smaller shallots I planted last fall and they have since grown up and almost completely died back so I figured it was time to pull them and see what was buried beneath the dirt.
As you can see below I had the same problem I had this year that I did last year. The garlic scape never made it high enough out of the stalk and the garlic bulbils swell up and create a weak spot in the garlic stalk. This causes all of my plants to bend over where the bulbils have swelled. Since most of the plants where yellowing and bent over I decided to pull them. The bulbs were exactly the same size as last year, no bigger than a silver dollar. They smelled very strong of garlic, so I have bunched them up and set them aside to dry.
For comparison purposes below is a photo of the hard-neck garlic beds which has foliage that is much denser, larger stalks, and greener leaves. Each garlic plant produced a legit garlic scape just like I was doing something correct!
Bunches of small garlic ready to be set aside to dry. I will not be wasting time or space on the soft-neck garlic next season!
Now for the French Gray Shallots. The shallots I planted in this bed were the smaller of the seed shallots I got from The Maine Potato Lady, and the green tops were pretty much all but dead when I pulled them with the soft-neck garlic. I was surprised to see them bunched like this because I am accustomed to buying individual store bought shallots at my local supermarket. These are also smaller than I would have expected, but the soil they were planted in was pretty dense, so that may be a contributing factor to their small size. They smell great and will make a good addition to meals in the future. They are currently drying.
A close up of the the two clusters with the largest shallots.
With this bed now virtually empty I will try and make my first attempt at fall/winter gardening!