Sunday, July 19, 2009

Garlic, Potatoes & Dinner!

I decided it was time to harvest the garlic this weekend. When I have tried to grow garlic in the past, I've waited until the tops were brown, as in all of the tops. After some reading on the GardenWeb forums, I learned I should pull it while some of the tops were still green (5 green leaves seemed to be the conclusion). Pulling while some are green means fewer heads break off and need to be searched for. I pulled 28 plants with an untrimmed weight of 2.75#.

(do you like my modern scale? It's pretty accurate actually. I believe this scale sat on the porch at my great-aunt's house. I think she used it to weigh her garden veggies).

The largest heads seemed to be the plants that did not form a scape. The ones I removed the scapes from appear to be slightly larger than those I left intact. I also had a handful that were very small heads or just bulbs. Of course, I don't have enough plants to actually draw hard & fast conclusions about scapes & bulb sizes, but it would appear that they do reduce the head size somewhat. I don't think it's a major reduction in the bulbs I left intact, but if you're going for big, it might matter.

As I was sorting my little batch of garlic on the back deck, I was well supervised. She's trying to look innocent, but don't think she wouldn't have snatched some if I left her alone with it. I watched her carefully since I think garlic really isn't good for dogs. I don't worry about a little garlic in foods or some garlic powder in their treats but I'm guessing a head or three might have unpleasant consequences.

I'm quite sure though that she was hoping I'd walk away, just for a few minutes...

I poked around in some of the potatoes today. When I removed the straw from the sad looking patch in my previous post, I did find a couple of potatoes. They were way down at ground level, but at least there was something there. I put the straw back and I hope they'll continue to grow a bit more. I also had one of the smaller pots that had died back last week. I had planted two red potatoes that sprouted in my pantry into a nursery pot about 14" diameter (I'm guessing). I had run out of larger pots, so I plunked them in there & hoped something would grow.

Something grew...
It's not much at all (a whole 4 oz), but better than a rotten mass of goo!

I was having one of those days today where it was seeming nearly impossible to get motivated, or when I did, somebody would call me, I'd chat for a bit, and all motivation was gone again. I took a late afternoon trip to the garden and returned with my little potatoes and one of the zucchini I mentioned the other day. This little zuch looked like it was growing but it must not have actually been pollinated. The end was starting to yellow, so I decided to eat it. So, I have my potatoes & zucchini and suddenly I realized, I too, could have a garden dinner! (Well, make that a garden dinner that isn't just a salad). I was actually quite inspired by everyone's garden dinners, so I'd like to thank you for motivating me to eat a decent meal tonight. Chances are good I would have just gone for something quick that fit my lazy mood for the day. This was much better.

I don't know if I mentioned it before or not, but my DH is usually the one who cooks. My cook is in Korea. I'm doing well when I eat something other than spaghetti and Parmesan cheese when left to my own devices. I am generally doing better with it this time (though I did have spaghetti for lunch...) and I do think the garden has had a lot to do with my eating better.

I did have a salad with my dinner rather than for my dinner. Tonight's salad had from the garden:
Lettuce: Black Seeded Simpson, Baby Romaine & something red from the Mesclun mix
Borage leaves (first time I've eaten these. They seemed pretty fuzzy but I cut them into thin slices and they were a nice flavor addition)
Sugar Snap Peas and a
(the carrot was from the store)

I just realized I forgot to add a little broccoli. Oops.

My garden dinner was a sauteed mix of (from the garden):
Red potatoes
unpollinated Zucchini
Sugar Snap Peas
English Thyme

I also added (not from the garden)
Olive oil, salt & pepper & some leftover grilled chicken.

(yep, I grew up in a dairy state, I drink my milk with dinner)

I had enough dough in the fridge for one last loaf of bread (it's an Artisan Bread in 5 min a day recipe) so when I decided to make a real dinner, I pulled it out and let it rest for about 40 minutes. While it was baking (I don't really cook but I do bake) I put a head of garlic in to roast. I have never had (or made) roasted garlic before. I think I should have cut the top a little lower, but is there some neat trick to get the garlic OUT that I missed somewhere? It was a pretty messy process. The garlic had a surprisingly mild flavor. I'm assuming that's due to the roasting (and why so many people like it).

I followed up with a bit of vanilla frozen yogurt with strawberry sauce (not from the garden this year, maybe next?).

Yes, it's a little heavy on the strawberries, but I didn't have enough for 2 servings (it was leftover from last week), so what choice did I have?

So there it is, my first official garden dinner. It was pretty tasty and really helped me get motivated today not to mention much healthier than what I might have eaten otherwise!

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Annie's Granny said...

That was a lovely garden dinner!

Just squeeze the roasted garlic out with your fingers. It's a bit messy on the small heads, but it sure is good.

Amy said...

Thanks Granny! Next time I'll roast a bigger head. Hmmm, I wonder if roasting the ones that just stayed bulbs is a good idea? I ate the rest of the roasted garlic spread on the bread at lunch today. I'll be eating that again!!

tammysf said...

looks delish...if you cut the top off the garlic so that each clove is exposed, after it is roasted you can just squeeze the head of garlic and they should all squeeze out easily.

Amy said...

Thanks Tammy - glad you stopped by! Next time, I will be sure to do a better job cutting off the top.

Toni said...

What a great garden meal!!! Pretty presentation for your photo.

Love those old scales!

Congratulations on your garden meal! We'll still harvesting leaf & head lettuce here. I'm so enjoying it... but anxiously awaiting other stuff!

Amy said...

Thanks Toni. I've been happy to have lettuce but it was nice to get something else to add to it! I think I'm in a lull for a few days - I only have a little lettuce left and my peas are petering out but the other stuff isn't quite ready yet.

Kris said...

Your food photos look so yummy! It's hard to imagine that some folks don't like to eat their veggies when they are as delicious as they are pretty.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic looking garlic! The only time I tried to grow garlic, we waited too long to harvest it and the cloves were separating off from the head. Very sad.

Amy said...

If I hadn't read about pulling when it has 5 green leaves left, I likely would have done the same thing. This is the best I've ever done with the garlic!