Just when everything was going so well in my perennial quest for Marie Antoinette -style self-sufficiency… I’m not exactly shampooing cattle, but there is something about the sight of a rustic wigwam draped with just-dug garlic that warms the soul. And yet, no sooner had I dug up my Solent Wight and hung it out to ‘cure’ when the English July did its usual thing and started raining. If garlic doesn’t dry properly, it won’t keep and what’s the point of buying the longest-lasting garlic variety if you’re chopping spongey, rotten bulbs come autumn?
This man seems to know what he’s talking about when it comes to harvesting garlic, though it does all sound a bit complicated. Usually I just hang it up on the pergola for a week or so and then move it into the kitchen where I hang it up in a loose bunch (never could plait) where everyone hits their head on it when they bend down for a bottle of wine.
Heading out of town for the weekend, with more rain forecast and no convenient barn with drying racks to immediate hand, I dump my precious bulbs in the shower where they look less like a charming Mediterranean scene and more like something you’d see crawling out of your plughole had you gone to bed after eating a large Stilton.
Much as I love garlic, the smell of 40 or so heads of the stuff mingling with Tresemme quickly loses its novelty value. They have now been stuffed into the few inches of greenhouse not currently colonised by the triffid Costuluto Fiorentina tomatoes where they will remain until these unpredictable showers stop. This is yet another reason why I should be living in Provence, or at the very least a show farm in Versailles.