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515.979.6588

Kenneth, Deborah & Royce Blackledge

66435 270th Lane

Nevada, IA  50201

Fruits and Vegetables At Their Best!

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I liked a variety of garlic that had a red (or other color) tinge (or pattern) around its diameter. Can you tell me what variety of garlic that would be?
  2. What is the significance of smaller-diameter garlic as opposed to larger bulbs? Why do larger-diameter garlic bulbs cost more?
  3. How should I store my garlic (either seed garlic or food garlic)?
  4. I planted garlic this year; What should I do if the bulbs, upon havesting, are muddy? Should I wash them off?
  5. Is it important to harvest garlic on schedule? Can it be left in the ground longer?
  6. The honey I purchased has hardened in the container. What is going on?

Answers…

  1. I liked a variety of garlic that had a red (or other color) tinge (or pattern) around its diameter. Can you tell me what variety of garlic that would be?

    Unfortunately, it is very nearly impossible to tell different varieties of garlic apart, at least with certainty.  Hardneck types can of course be differentiated from softnecks, but color variation within varieties can be similar or different, depending on circumstances.  Your best bet is to keep your garlic varieties always separate and labeled, so there is never any question as to what variety a certain bulb is.
  2. What is the significance of smaller-diameter garlic as opposed to larger bulbs? Why do larger-diameter garlic bulbs cost more?

    First, if garlic is raised organically so that no pesticides or other chemicals are involved, there is no differentiation between whether a bulb is an "eating" bulb or a "seed" bulb; it can be used for either.  Larger diameter garlic bulbs are prized as seed bulbs because their cloves are larger and under favorable growing conditions, those cloves will likely also produce large bulbs.  But garlic bulbs of any size can be planted, and under favorable conditions, the resulting garlic bulbs will be larger, or, if planting conditions aren't so favorable, the bulbs will be smaller.  If the planting conditions continue to be favorable over a period of several years, each succeeding year's garlic will get larger until large bulbs are usually obtained.  Don't let size be your only criteria on growing garlic, however.  Large-size garlic bulbs can be achieved by over-fertilizing, but that isn't good for either the garlic or your soil, and besides, smaller garlic bulbs do have the benefit of longer storage life than larger bulbs.  From a culinary standpoint, a smaller garlic bulb may also be all that a chef or family needs at one time, in order to keep the garlic fresh.  Quality-grown garlic without chemicals should be the goal of both growers and consumers! 
  3. How should I store my garlic (either seed garlic or food garlic)?

    In the cases of either seed or culinary garlic, bulbs should always be stored under cool, dry, airy conditions.  Like their cousins the onions in the Allium family, garlic bulbs will get moldy if they are stored damp or become damp.  Like onions, garlic bulbs for culinary use are best kept on an airy shelf in a mesh bag.  Don't separate the cloves for either planting or eating until ready to use, and once the cloves have been separated, it's best to use the separated cloves as soon as possible.  Note that various varieties of garlic have different lengths of shelf life, so keep that in mind when ordering and using garlic for culinary purposes.  If you are planning on planting your own garlic for the first time, remember that garlic bulbs which have been freshly harvested must go through a "curing" (drying out) process to minimize the liquid in them and reduce the possibility of molding, which usually takes at least a month.
  4. I planted garlic this year; What should I do if the bulbs, upon havesting, are muddy? Should I wash them off?

    The answer to this question is "No"!  First, if possible, try to harvest after a spate of dry days, so that the soil isn't muddy.  It makes it easier on both you and the garlic bulbs!  Secondly, if you have had nothing but rain and time is running out to get the harvest completed, go ahead and harvest, but don't wash the bulbs; you don't want to introduce more water into the tissues.  Let the bulbs begin to dry with soil encrusted on them, and after a few days, check to see how the drying is progressing.  Wait until the dirt is completely dry, and you can pull it off, taking off a layer of dry tissue or two, but quickly making a nice, clean bulb.  Continue drying the garlic as needed.  Return your bucket of hardened soil chunks to your garlic beds!
  5. Is it important to harvest garlic on schedule? Can it be left in the ground longer?

    Yes, it is important to harvest garlic when it is ready, and not wait any later.  The garlic plants will continue to quickly move through their cycle of plant development, and if the bulbs are left in the ground too long, by even as much as a week or two, the tissue surrounding the cloves begins to thin and the cloves to expand, in preparation for splitting the cloves apart and beginning the next growing cycle.  Your garlic will no longer be cosmetically nice to look at or sell.

    Concurrently, if you harvest too early, your garlic won't reach its largest size possible.

    The conclusion is that you should be aware of the general harvest windows for the varieties of garlic you've planted, and start watching your plants closely as they near the end of their growth phase, ready for harvest.  Harvest them right when two or three leaves start to yellow!

  6. The honey I purchased has hardened in the container. What is going on?

    Under certain conditions, all types of honey may undergo a spontaneous but natural process known as crystallization (or granulation) in which the normally liquid honey all of a sudden thickens or solidifies into chunks that no longer seem usable. Although not well understood by the general public, crystallization is normal and completely harmless to the quality of honey. In fact, beekeepers have often referred to this as 'set honey', and despite its appearance the crystallized honey is just as good to use in this state as in its liquid form and is not in any way due to spoilage or evidence of some unnatural process or additive applied to the honey. If this effect is undesirable however, a simple way to undo this is to slowly reheat the honey at a modestly warm temperature until it returns to a liquid state (do not boil). There are plenty of methods available on the internet that explain how to do this - just be sure not to heat the honey too high for the sake of quality and never expose the container to an open flame.


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Black Cat Acres
66435 270 Ln
Nevada, IA 50201
515.979.6588

5blackcatacres@gmail.com

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