Week of June 10, 2021
After your garlic has produced scapes (hardneck varieties) your bulbs are really starting to size up. You can start cutting back on the amount of water they are getting, but you don’t want your garlic to dry out. Once your garlic has a couple of dead bottom leaves you will want to stop watering. You can dig your garlic in a couple of weeks. If you are unsure if your hardneck garlic is ready to harvest, look for about 3-4 dried leaves at the bottom of the plant. Dig up a test bulb to see how well the bulb has sized up. If it is nice and large, you can dig up the remaining bulbs. Don’t harvest too soon or you may have small bulbs, too late and the wrappers may have broken down and your garlic may not keep as long. If this happens eat these bulbs first. Softneck garlic is a little different than hardnecks. Softnecks are ready for harvesting when the top of the plant falls over, similar to onions.
Once your garlic is ready to harvest, dig the bulbs up carefully with a garden fork or shovel. Remove most of the soil, being careful not to hit the bulb (it bruises easily), leaving the roots & stems. Cure out of the sun (and rain) in a place with good air circulation. Tie the garlic with twine in bunches of 6 to 12 plants. Hang the bunches in a place out of direct sun and rain. A shed or under a large tree (as long as there is no rain). Temperatures should be around 80°F and garlic should be cured for at least two weeks. Once cured, trim off the leaves (don’t cut too close to the top of the bulb) and roots, leaving about 1/2” of roots. Store in mesh bags at around 60-65°F in an area with some air circulation.