Posts tagged garlic

Harvesting Garlic 101

When to Dig and Harvest Your Garlic Bulbs

Once the tops of your garlic plants start to die back and turn a bit golden, it might just be time to  harvest.

When you see the leaves starting to decline (droop a bit), stop watering. I know this is impossible if it rains, but do the best you can. This dry  spell will help to cure the garlic.

When to harvest garlic is a judgment call, but basically it’s ready to go when the lower leaves start to brown. I check by digging a few bulbs and if it looks the right size on 2 or 3 I start digging them all out; or at least the ones I plant at the same time. I plant garlic from October to January. The taste of yummy garlic seems to have me planting more garlic later in the season. Really can you plant too much garlic?

Harvesting too soon will give you smaller cloves that don’t store well. Leave the bulbs in the ground too long and the cloves may be bursting out of their skins, making them unstorable and open to disease.

How to Harvest Garlic

Always dig your garlic, never try and pull it. You may have planted a small clove, but the bulb is now several inches deep with a strong root system.

I either use a fork to a small trowel. The fork helps me loosen the soil and shake free the bulbs. A sliced bulb can still be used, but it can’t be stored.

Prepping your garlic for storage:

  • Brush off any soil clinging to the bulbs. Leave the stalks and roots on the bulbs, while they dry. I just them lay on my patio table… check the weather report for no rain.
  • Allow the bulbs to cure, or dry, for three to four weeks in either a well-ventilated room or a dry, shady spot outside. Sunlight can change the flavour of fresh garlic.
  • Once the tops and roots have dried they can be cut off.
  • You can also further clean the bulbs by removing the outer skins. Just be careful not to expose any of the cloves.

How to Store Garlic

Keep your garlic is a cool (32 degrees F – 40 degrees F) dark place where it will still get some air circulation. Braiding and hanging garlic is a good way to keep it, but don’t hang it in the kitchen, where it will be in bright light. You could also store your garlic in a mesh bag or dish.

Softneck varieties of garlic can be stored for 6 – 8 months. Check periodically to make sure it is not going soft or sprouting.

Hardneck varieties may dry out, sprouting or go soft within 2-4 months. Keeping hardnecks at 32oF sometimes helps them survive for up to 7 months without deteriorating.

Enjoy your Garlic!

Thank you to all the sources that have such great info are garlic harvesting.






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