Harvesting Garlic

The garlic harvest just in...

One of the things I find odd about garden writing is that while there is generally more than ample advice about sowing and planting food crops, there is comparatively little information about harvesting, which, after all, is the entire point of the exercise. And often times, proper technique is critical. Take garlic for instance. Garlic is harvested in a very short window, just as the spring growth has yellowed and begins to wither, but before it completely dries. (While the stems retain some resiliency, you can easily pull the bulb out of the ground by the leaves. Wait too long, and you’ll have to dig each bulb by hand.) Once harvested, place the bulbs, unwashed (washing encourages rot) with stems attached, in a warm, dry place for two to three weeks, or until the stems are completely dessicated. Do NOT however, leave them in direct sunlight; the bulbs will then begin to green, greatly shortening their storage life. When you can easily snap the stems from the bulbs, do so, dust off any remaining soil, and transfer the harvest to a (cool 40-60º) dark dry location. Garlic bulbs can be stored this way for up to eight months. Just don’t forget to set aside a portion of your harvest for replanting this fall – the time to do that is October/November after the first frost.


Harvesting Garlic — 1 Comment

  1. Good to know. And I found TONS of info missing when I started gardening. Yields for instance – yes, I know they vary, but you would think someone, somewhere would tell you whether you should plant two cucumber plants or eight? Harvesting info is always sparce, and nowhere does it tell you how to properly harvest basil to stop it from bolting. Anyway, good info – I’ll be doing some garlic in the fall.

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