Garlic is a staple in almost any kitchen and an essential ingredient in many recipes. But if you’ve ever had the misfortune of harvesting garlic, you probably know that it’s not a fun task.
But don’t worry! In this guide, we’ll show you how to harvest garlic bulbs so that you can save yourself effort and time while still getting the results you need.
How do you know when it’s time to harvest garlic?
Garlic farmers ask themselves the same question, when is it time to harvest? So, before you learn how to harvest garlic bulbs, read on.
The answer can be different each year. You need to consider that the weather, the soil, and even the variety of garlic play a role. Here are some tips you can rely on to determine when your garlic is ready.
- The leaves should be mostly yellow or brown, with only a few green leaves on the plant.
- The tops of the bulbs should appear to be bulging outwards, which means that they’re full of energy, ready to be harvested and stored for later use!
- If you can hear any cracking noises when you bend or twist the bulbs, this is another sign that it’s time for harvest!
How to harvest garlic bulbs?
Harvesting garlic is simple, but you’ll want to be careful to get the most out of your crop.
- The first step is to ensure that the garlic has fully matured. You can do this by looking at the tops of the plants and seeing if they’re turning brown or yellow. If they’re still green, wait a few more weeks before harvesting.
- Next, you’ll want to cut each stalk off ground level with a sharp knife or shears. Don’t pull them up by the roots!
- After that, lay all your stalks out in an area where they won’t get trampled on, like on a tarp, and leave them there for about 4-6 weeks until they’ve completely dried.
Other ways on how to harvest garlic bulbs
There are a few more options on how to harvest garlic bulbs. It depends on your preference and what kind of garlic you’re growing.
- The first option is to harvest the entire plant, including the bulb and roots.
The bulbs will have a lot of dirt on them, so you’ll need to wash them very carefully before storing them in a cool, dry place. The soil can be left on the roots, but it’s best to remove any large rocks or sticks that may be stuck there.
- You can also choose to harvest only the bulb itself by breaking off the tops of each stalk where they meet the ground. You’ll see little white bulbs at this point.
- You can also cut off just enough stalks to get one or two bulbs out of each plant without damaging them too much. This way, you don’t have to worry about damaging any bulbs that might not be ready yet.
Should you wash your harvested garlic?
Some people believe that you should wash your harvested garlic. The thinking is that this will remove any dirt or debris and thus make for a cleaner-tasting product. But most garlic growers don’t wash their harvests, and for a good reason!
Garlic is a very hardy plant; it can handle quite a bit of dirt and debris without being harmed.
In fact, many farmers will let their crops grow in the field for several weeks after harvesting before digging them up to preserve their taste and quality.
That’s because the longer a crop is exposed to sunlight and other elements like wind and rain, the more flavorful it becomes.
So what happens when you wash your garlic?
- It will lose flavor because of exposure to moisture.
- This can also cause problems with storage; if you’re planning on storing your crop for any time, then rinsing it beforehand could make it spoil faster than normal.
- If you want to keep your garlic clean during transport or storage, brushing off any loose soil or debris with a soft brush should do the trick!
Other DONT’S in harvesting garlic
- Don’t harvest garlic when it’s raining.
- Don’t harvest garlic when there is a lot of moisture in the ground. This will make it tough to get the garlic out of the ground without bruising it.
- Don’t harvest garlic that has been left in the ground too long. It will be tough, hard to peel and dry, and may even have sprouted.
- Don’t cut off all the leaves. They’re actually full of flavor.
- Don’t try to pull the garlic out of the ground. It’s best to leave it there until you’re ready to use it. You’ll get a better yield that way.
- Don’t leave any cloves behind. Be sure you pull up every clove when you’re harvesting your garlic so it can be used in cooking or preserved for later use.
Tips for storing newly harvested garlic
If you’ve just harvested garlic and want to store it, here are some tips to help you get the best results:
- You can store garlic in a cool and dry place.
- It’s best to store the bulbs in a mesh bag or box with holes. This lets air circulate through the garlic and keeps it from getting moldy.
- If you have too many bulbs of garlic sitting around, consider dehydrating or pickling them to preserve them for later use!
You’re now ready to harvest garlic!
Congratulations, you’ve grown a bumper crop of garlic! Now it’s time to apply your learning on how to harvest garlic bulbs.
Garlic is best harvested when the tops begin to turn brown and die back. At this point, you can pull up your plants, roots, and all. If you’re not ready to plant them again, you can store them in a cool place for up to six months.
To harvest individual bulbs from your garlic plant, wait until the tops have completely died back and the leaves are dry.
Then dig around and carefully lift each bulb out of the ground. You can separate them into individual cloves by gently breaking apart their roots or use a knife or garden fork to slice through the root ball and remove each clove individually. Ready to eat!
Harvesting garlic is a fun and easy way to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and we hope you’ll be motivated to try it out!