Are the bottom five leaves on your garlic brown, with a few green leaves toward the top? Then it is time to harvest! Here are some tips on working with your own garlic.
Harvesting Pick a day when the soil is dry. Carefully loosen the soil and pull out the bulbs with the stalk attached. I gently knock most of the dirt off but I do not clean the bulbs until they have cured. Be careful not to bruise the bulbs.
Curing Tie the top of the stalks with string in bundles of five to ten and hang them bulb down in a dark, dry and well-ventilated place for about three weeks. You can hang bundles from a sapling as shown in the pictures! Alternatively, lay them on a screen or an aerated shelf. When the whole stalk is brown and the bulb has formed several layers of papery skin, they are ready to clean up and store.
Cleaning Snip off the stalk about an inch above the bulb, snip the roots off, then wipe off the dirt with your fingers or a soft brush, being careful not to remove too many layers of skin. Select out any bulbs that are quite small or have nicks in them to eat first!
Storing Garlic stores best in a cold (33-38 degrees) and very dry place.
Always thinking ahead Replant your largest bulbs for next year’s garlic, or buy some garlic seed from us!
—Cat Buxton, Education Program Coordinator
photos: CCF staff