I think my garlic is ready to harvest.... now what do I do?!

WJB2July 20, 2014

This is my 1st time growing garlic and I don't know if I'm supposed to stop watering while they're still below the soil. I have them in a planter box, not in the ground. I live in Southern CA and planted in early November. I was away for the 1st 2 weeks of July and although someone was watering the garden for me, I wonder if I missed the exact right time to harvest. When I left the leaves were still green,and standing upright. When I got back I see they're brown and droopy. It could be that they're ready, or it could be that the planter box didn't get enough watering, I don't know. As far as I know they never did flower at all.

Assuming they're ready to harvest I'm not sure what to do now. Do I leave them planted for 2 weeks without watering and then remove them from the soil and keep in indirect sunlight? Or do I remove them from the soil now, even though they've been gettng regular watering up until now and keep them in indurect sunlight for about 2 weeks? Also there's really nowhere that I can leave them outside where they won't be in at least some direct sun at any given point of the day so can I leave them in the garaga? With the doors closed or should at least 1 door be left open?

Before anyone asks, I have no idea which variety of garlic I planted. I bought a big bag of garlic at Costco and just took a bulb and separated the cloves and planted them. I had and still have no idea if this worked but I'm anxious to find out! Thanks for any help!

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If they are brown, they are a bit past optimal harvest, so dig them now, brush off the dirt that will come off easily, and put them somewhere cool and dry out of the sun to cure. Once dry you can trim roots and stems unless you are braiding them. They may not store as well as garlic that was harvested more promptly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:26AM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Pull it now. If you leave it any longer, what bulb wrappers might be left will rot away. Garlic is harvested while still somewhat green. The few green leaves that are left are the bulb wrappers and they help keep the garlic longer in storage.

I tie mine in bunches and hang them in my garage to cure.

And the reason your garlic didn't produce flower stalks (scapes) is because it's a softneck garlic. Almost all store bought garlic is softneck.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Forgottenone: If my garlic is any indication, you've got it backwards on the flowering. All of my softnecks produced scapes and none of the hardnecks produced a scape.

WJB2: for future reference, wait until your plants have lost their bottom 3 - 4 leaves (dried up and turned brown), stop irrigating and when the ground is dried and not wet enough to stick badly to the bulbs then, lift the plants with a turning fork and carefully remove them from the ground. Now it's off to cleaning and curing as described by others previously.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Hard necks produce scapes

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 8:49PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Hardnecks almost always scape (there are some weak bolting hardnecks types). Softnecks usually don't although it's not uncommon for them to grow scapes/bulbils under stressful conditions.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:15PM
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