The patience of garlic
Laura and I have been anticipating this harvest for a long time. We planted our garlic just before Halloween last year at the first Full Well Farm work party and have been waiting over nine months to harvest the bulbs. This season's garlic harvest feels particularly joyous to me.
When we planted garlic in the fall, the farm was nothing more than a patch of dirt in a hayfield. We were lucky enough to have friends join us on that dreary fall day, but I can remember feeling so excited for the lushness of summer when I would have the opportunity to share food grown in that dirt with those people who were lovingly donating their time. Nine months later we finally harvested big beautiful bulbs of garlic at the same time as we are harvesting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The farm is more vibrant than my wildest winter dreams, which makes it all the more satisfying to look back at pictures from our work party and think, "Wow. Look how far we've come!"
Something about the seasonality of garlic resonates with me as I reflect on our first season so far. Like the garlic cloves, after the work party the farm sat dormant for the winter. While the garlic sat snuggly underground, Laura and I went to work dreaming about the season to come and prepping the hoophouse beds for our earliest spring vegetables and flowers. The greens and heat of summer seemed so far away during those cold months, especially because we had never grown anything in this particular patch of dirt. How did we know that anything was going to grow here at all?
Luckily, things did start to grow, and as the garlic shot up its first leaves we started to harvest our tulips and hoophouse greens this spring.
You can tell that garlic is ready to harvest when half of its leaves get brown, but by the fourth of July they seemed to be as green as ever. It wasn't until this week that we finally felt like most of the crop was ready, and we got to pulling the fully formed bulbs from their underground home to be hung up to dry in the hayloft of our barn. Even though I was anxious to harvest it weeks ago, it seems fitting that we harvested garlic the same day that Laura and I ate our first tomato on the farm.
Sometimes the seasonality of things tests my patience. But now, when I look at the farm that we have built out of a dirt patch in a hayfield, I can't help but feel joyful.