Garlic Braiding

by Daisy on 06/16/2009

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It’s been a while since I harvested the garlic and the bulbs have been curing spread out on a large table on the screened porch.

Today was braiding day.  Some directions say to braid right away while the leaves are still green and flexible. Some say to wait until the garlic is cured. I like the how-to instructions found here. You wait several days when the leaves are brown but not completely dessicated and soak the leaves between two wet towels to soften them back up ready for braiding. In my humid climate I wanted to let the garlic have a chance to dry out a little before I bundled them close together in a braid. Waiting also helped because they were easier to clean with the soil dried out and the outer layer of skin papery.

Before
Before
Roots trimmed

Roots trimmed

This reminded me of giving haircuts to my sister’s Barbie dolls.  Bwa ha ha . . .

Brushed clean
Brushed
All cleanAll clean
Having their spa treatmentSpa treatment

I followed the instructions from the link above and they were very clear. My only suggestion that helped me on my first braid was to take a pen and write the number of the bulb on the stalk several inches up before you begin. That way once I started braiding I could still see which stem went with which bulb.

Here’s the finished product:img_39511Hopefully next year I’ll have enough garlic to get more practice.

TL



{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary June 16, 2009 at 5:38 am

That’s it! This fall I am definately growing garlic …. gorgeous!

Mother Hen June 16, 2009 at 6:39 am

Hair cuts on the Barbies? Yer a hoot!

Rebecca June 16, 2009 at 8:14 am

Beautiful braiding!

Michelle June 16, 2009 at 8:45 am

That is so cool! I’ve yet to grow garlic…but now I’m inspired. Good job!

Teri June 16, 2009 at 8:55 am

Yeah, I used to cut all my barbies hair… and my sisters dolls too, and all my dolls come to think of it! Never did become a hair stylist though!
Is it too late to plant garlic? I would love to braid some! This looks like a fun project.

TeresaR June 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I had suggested to dh one yr that we braid our garlic, but I was too lazy to do it. When do you harvest your garlic because we plant ours in the fall, and harvest them late summer. Then we spread them (we usually have close to 100 heads) on the screened-in porch to dry out, but they don’t get the royal treat like yours do. 🙂

TL June 17, 2009 at 7:13 am

I just harvested about 2 weeks ago–it was getting hot and we have a pretty early harvest in the US south. I can see how 100 heads would be a trial to clean ready for braiding–it’s the cleaning that’s sort of tedious. Braiding goes pretty fast.

TL June 17, 2009 at 7:14 am

Thanks! After I braided my two braids and used up all my garlic I wanted to keep going.

TL June 17, 2009 at 7:15 am

Sister has never let me forget it.

TL June 17, 2009 at 7:16 am

Thanks, Mary!
You won’t regret it, it’s easy once you get going.

Brown Thumb Mama June 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Yum, I love garlic! My harvest doesn’t look as good as yours, but braiding sounds like fun.

Now, this may be the wrong question to ask seeing your latest compost flop post ;o) but what do you suggest for a cover crop in my garlic beds? Not sure what nutrients the garlic removes when growing that I’d need to replace.

Robin June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I can’t wait for late summer to come. I am going to give this a try. It looks beautiful! This is my first year growing garlic – I have 16 growing. I have already told my husband next year it is doubled.

Faith June 26, 2009 at 7:51 am

Thank you for the link, and your pictures about the braiding…doing this is the fall.
I planted 3 bulbs in the spring….on a whim…the other day 1 fell over….like you said…
it was done…I pulled it out and it had multiplied, but is small…but still we grew garlic
yeh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! marking my frost date here…..and more to be planted…..

Faith

TL June 27, 2009 at 12:18 am

It still counts, small or not, you grew your own garlic! Congrats! Next year it will be the year . . .

Tammie July 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm

This was my first year growing garlic, and I am thrilled with the results. Just took mine out of the ground today, and it is a thing of beauty. I can’t believe you get a huge beautiful buld from one little clove! I can’t wait to braid it. Mine’s the hardneck variety, but I read that you can braid it- just needs to be crimped near the bulb and it’s more of a pain to braid. I can’t wait to try. We planted our garlic on either side of our asparagus bed. It looks nice, since you let the asparagus ferns grow after harvesting the asparagus in the spring. Seemed to work fine. Some times you wonder if growing your own food is worth all the work (especially during canning season,) but looking at my fabulous garlic reminds me why I do it!

Tomato Lady July 15, 2009 at 8:28 am

Well said, Tammie! Garlic just seems like such a bonus, I love it!

Audree August 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm

I just finished bundleing my garlic & hanging it to cure (maybe 40#). I’ll wait a few days to braid the softneck. I haven’t had much luck braiding the hardneck, usually use jute twine & tie it to imitate braiding. I’ll try again this year to braid some. Growing your own is great & growing hardneck has the added treat of scapes in the spring to make pickles & pesto, yum.

Tomato Lady August 9, 2009 at 12:22 am

Audree–Forty pounds! I am so jealous. We are already about a third through our garlic from this year. At this rate it won’t last through Christmas. I’m sure your faux braided garlic looks equally as nice as the real braided. Scapes would be nice, I haven’t tried hardneck.

Faith April 23, 2010 at 6:51 am

The garlic we planted back in October is about 5-6″ tall now. It appears they all came up. Hoping the get some spring rain to further them along. When do the scapes? appear, does that mean it is time to pull the garlic. There is 4-5 leaves on each one now. I remember you said when it falls over. Have you ever cooked the scapes? If so
how or where do I begin?

thank you

Tomato Lady April 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Faith–The scapes appear around the middle of summer, provided you planted hardneck garlic. Cut them off low on the stem. If it was softneck (typical in supermarkets) they don’t do scapes at all.
For recipes, here’s a resource to try: http://weblog.clagettfarm.org/2005/06/garlic_scapes_r.html
Thanks for your comment! I hope you have a delicious harvest.

Mike July 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Do you let the garlic cure before you can braid it?

Tomato Lady July 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Mike–I let them cure for a week or two. Less moisture in the leaves means less chance of moldy stuff, and they’re easier to rub the dirt off after they’ve been drying for a while.

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