Garlic harvest time
Updated: May 14
Today was the day to harvest garlic. I love growing garlic. It is one of the least demanding crops in my garden. I plant it in November in a well amended bed. After that I only water it if needed, weed as needed (hardly any weeds grow in the winter!), and fertilize couple of times and wait for harvest time. I grow mostly hard neck varieties because they do very well in my zone and they store longer. And yes you can braid hard neck garlic!
How do you know when to harvest? I look for the lower leaves to turn brown and dry up completely. Each leaf represents the paper covering that will be on the bulb so you don't want all the leaves to turn brown before you harvest.
To harvest, loosen the soil with a garden fork before you start pulling the garlic. You don't want to break the stem off. Loosen the soil and gently tug the garlic out. Gently rub or shake off any access dirt.
As I harvest the garlic I lay it down on the same bed. I let it dry in the garden for a few hours before I move it to a location where it will cure for several weeks.
What is curing? Curing is basically allowing the garlic to thoroughly dry before you store it. It increases the storage life of garlic. Curing is very simple, all you need is a well ventilated location that is out of direct sunlight and will stay dry. I cure my garlic on my covered porch. This year I used pallets with a chicken wire on top as my curing rack. Last year I placed an old screen door on top of some chairs and cured the garlic.
Next, lay your garlic down in a single layer facing the bulbs towards the outside edges.
I do turn my garlic about once a week so it dries completely. The leaves will start to brown and when they are completely dry you can braid the garlic or you can cut the bulbs off leaving a 1 inch long stem. Store the cured garlic in a breathable container in a cool dark place. I braid mine and hang the braids on hooks throughout the house. Its a great conversation starter with guests!