Garlic harvest

Credit: Carolyn Herriot


The soft neck garlic that was planted in October is ready to be harvested when I see the foliage has turned 2/3rds brown. If left too long the cloves separate from the bulb, and the garlic does not store well. Soft neck varieties will store up to 12 months in a cool, dry place.

garlic ready for drying

Any garlic bulbs that are damaged, soft or show signs of rot are removed. Then the bulbs are sorted by size and bundled 6 to 8 to a bunch. The bunches are hung to dry for 6 weeks in our warm garage before they are cleaned ready for sale as seed garlic in my winter vegetable sale. Cleaning involves cutting off the root hairs with scissors and gently brushing off or removing any surface layers that may be soiled. The stalk can then be cut back to two inches in length, unless you choose to braid the soft neck garlic.

garlic drying
Hard neck varieties store for up to 8 months, but are not suited to braiding because they produce seed heads on a fibrous scape that is not pliable when dried.

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