Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage

Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage

Garlic Harvest

Tuesday was garlic harvest day and I was eager to see how well the German Extra Hardy Hardneck Garlic produced. It was supposed to rain so I was up and out early to pull the bulbs…under bright sunshine and without a cloud in the sky. Timing the garlic harvest is tricky. I pulled one head last week to give to my uncle and thought it looked just about ready, and another last night that was perfect.

Tips on Harvesting Garlic

These few tips will make 11 months of waiting for your garlic worth the wait.

  • Tops need to be dying and turning brown. Some of the tops, not all. If you wait until they’re all brown and dry it’s too late. The bulbs will be separating to prepare themselves for next year’s growth. If you pull too soon the immature garlic won’t store well.
  • Withhold water for ten days when the majority of plants’ tops are turning brown.
  • If the soil is too compact to pull the bulbs without breaking the greens, dig them out with a spade or garden fork. Shake the soil off but don’t wash the bulbs.
  • Immediately, and I can’t stress immediately too much, get the garlic out of the sun and into a shady, drafty, cool spot to dry. Spread it out so the bulbs aren’t piled on top of each other, or hang them in . It’s alright if the tops touch.
  • Garlic is cured when the paper covering is dry. You can remove the tops now.
  • Store your garlic in a dark, dry, cool space. Properly cured garlic bulbs don’t need refrigeration.

garlic harvest
harvested garlic, garlic harvest, how to harvest garlic, when to pick garlic

Curing garlic, storaging garlic, garlic harvest

split garlic, curing garlic, garlic harvestTwo heads split, not bad out of 60.

The garlic isn’t too strong in its garlicness. I used a clove of garlic and two shallots in sauteed green beans last night and was very pleased with the rich flavor. It carmelized and became almost sweet. I’m making more for lunch every day until I run out of fresh beans.

Best heads will be set aside as next year’s crop. I’ll amend the soil in a new spot in September and plant twice as many cloves as I did this year. This will give us more scapes to devour as garlic scape pesto, and heads to give away.

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3 thoughts on “Garlic Harvest, Curing and Storage

  1. I have been growing garlic for about 15 years. I got my original seed from a friend in Harborside. Last fall I had to change to a new plot due to my greenhouse going in. With fear and trepidation I dug my plot 2 weeks ago and much to my surprise and pleasure, almost all of the bulbs were the size of baseballs. I was so pleased.
    My friend in Harborside advised me to wash the garlic and then let it dry before hanging to cure. That surely makes the prep for gifts a much nicer project. I know washing has been discouraged but I’ve been doing it for 3 years with no negatives.

    1. Oh wow! Thanks, Jennifer. I hesitate to be too rough cleaning the garlic but I don’t like to let it dry dirty either. I’m glad to hear it can be washed. That will make it look a lot nicer. Thanks again!

      1. It really does make it look nicer and when trimming the roots it is a much cleaner job.

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