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When to Harvest Garlic—and the Finest Technique to Do It

Whether or not you’re flavoring mashed potatoes or flavoring your favourite tomato sauce, garlic is the vegetable of selection. It is available in two varieties, hardneck and softneck, which might be planted within the fall or spring—indoors or open air. No matter what number of garlic you are rising, we have requested specialists to share their greatest suggestions and tips for harvesting garlic so you may have lots out there to make use of within the kitchen. 

When to Harvest Garlic

Garlic is mostly prepared to reap round late June by way of mid-July. Relying on the kind you’ve planted, there are a number of indicators to search for when figuring out whether or not your bulbs are prepared to depart the bottom.

Softneck Garlic

In line with Sarah Warner, greenhouse supervisor on the Case Western Reserve College Farm, the inexperienced stalks of the softneck selection will fall over when garlic bulbs are prepared to reap. 

Hardneck Garlic

The hardneck selection, however, has a number of tells. Charmaine Peters, farm director at Arden, says it’s best to discover the leaves turning yellow when the plant is near maturity. After a couple of weeks, the decrease leaves will flip brown and dry, whereas the higher leaves keep inexperienced. “It is a clear signal that the garlic bulb is absolutely grown and prepared for harvest,” she says.

It is vital to not take away the browning leaves in your garlic crops as they’re rising. “It appears a bit messy, however these leaves are sending power again down into the bulb,” says Matthew Geldin, head farmer for Farmscape.

One other signal that your hardneck selection is prepared for harvest is by taking note of the garlic scapes, that are the lengthy, curly shoots. When these scapes begin to straighten, it is a signal that the plant is maturing. Geldin recommends eradicating the flower bud earlier than it opens. “This additionally retains the plant’s power directed in direction of forming an even bigger garlic bulb,” he says. 

In the event you’re nonetheless uncertain whether or not a bulb is able to come up, gently transfer the soil across the bulb and verify to see whether it is absolutely fashioned.

You do not have to attend six months for a mature crop to get pleasure from garlic. “Garlic might be harvested early whereas nonetheless inexperienced—that is known as inexperienced garlic and is a spring delicacy,” says Geldin. “Inexperienced garlic must be refrigerated and might be saved like inexperienced onions, both wrapped in plastic or in a cup of shallow water.”

Easy methods to Harvest Garlic

As soon as you have seen the same old indicators that your garlic is prepared for harvest, Peters says to cease watering not less than one week earlier than harvest day. “It makes harvesting simpler when the soil is dry and unfastened,” she says. “Plus, storing the garlic bulbs is less complicated once they’re dry. Bear in mind to not harvest on a wet or moist day.” Observe these steps to reap your garlic when it’s time. 

Instruments Wanted 

  • Trowel, spade, or backyard fork
  • A container to carry your harvested garlic


  • Clear your harvesting instrument with cleaning soap and water. 
  • Utilizing your instrument, gently loosen the soil across the bulb. Don’t pull it immediately, as this might harm the bulb and separate it from the stalk. 
  • Warner suggests concurrently utilizing one hand lifting the bulb from the underside whereas the opposite gently pulls the garlic out by the bottom of the stalk. This methodology prevents the stalk from snapping off and gives assist each above and beneath the soil.

Easy methods to Remedy and Retailer Your Harvested Garlic

When correctly saved, garlic can final 5 to 6 months. The secret is to correctly dry the garlic, so keep away from washing it after its harvest. “The curing course of is essential as this maximizes the shelf lifetime of your garlic,” says Warner. 

  • Tie the stalks into bundles of 5 to 10, then grasp them in a coated, dry place for 2 to 4 weeks. “This curing or drying course of is vital as a result of it helps the garlic bulbs develop a protecting papery protecting wanted for long-term storage,” Peters says.
  • After the roots and bulbs have dried utterly, use scissors to trim the stems to 2 to three inches, and minimize the roots, says Peters. 
  • Clear off any dust, then retailer your garlic in a cool, dry, darkish place. “It is best to maintain bulbs away from mild to stop sprouting,” Peters says. “If it will get too heat, the garlic might shrivel and dry out.”
  • In the event you favor to retailer ready-to-use garlic, Peters recommends peeling the cloves and freezing them. “Simply be certain that to retailer them in an hermetic container or sealed bag to stop freezer burn and preserve freshness.”
  • Warner prefers to dehydrate her garlic by slicing them into skinny items and baking them at a low temperature till the entire moisture is gone. “Then I grind the dried items of garlic and retailer in an hermetic container,” she says. “This helps to protect my garlic for as much as a 12 months.” 

Rising Suggestions for Subsequent Season

  • For much less digging, Peters recommends protecting your garlic with a few toes of straw as an alternative of soil. “The straw will shield the cloves from the winter chilly, and make it simple to drag the garlic up at harvest with out damaging it,” she says.

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