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A Bountiful Garlic Harvest

July 20th, 2011

Earlier this week I harvested my garlic. This is now the third year that I’ve grown garlic and this was my best harvest yet. I harvested over 125 heads of 8 different varieties. This year I finally have a large enough harvest that I’ll be able to use some of them to plant this fall, thus saving myself about $30 or more. Since the area that I planted them was an odd shape, I didn’t do a very good job keeping the varieties separate. That’s OK with me, I’ll save the biggest and best heads for planting this fall.

You may be wondering what I’ll do with so much garlic – eat it of course. I use a lot of garlic when cooking because it’s super healthy. I’m also hoping to make some pickled garlic since I finally have enough.

Remember when I talked about harvesting the garlic scapes so that the heads would be bigger? I left a few scapes on to see if it really made a difference. As you can see the one on the left is smaller than the three heads on the right. That was the one with the scape still attached. So not only do you get the eat the scapes in spring, but you end up with more garlic some summer!

All of this garlic was planted last fall. I didn’t really do anything to it this spring but give it a watering with some Neptune’s Harvest . Garlic doesn’t take up much space in the garden, you can even plant it in your ornamental borders if you don’t have space in the your garden. My garlic bed was roughly 40 sq ft tucked in the perennial border by the driveway.

I’m pretty happy that I’ll have enough garlic to last me throughout the coming year. Growing garlic is a great way to save money because organic local garlic can be quite pricey. At our local farmer’s market it averages about $1.50 for each head. If I were to buy all the garlic I grew it would cost me $187.50. Not that I would buy that much garlic if I were purchasing it, but I sure will use it all since I grew it! Looks like we won’t have to worry about vampires this coming year!

How much garlic do you go through during the course of a year? Do you grow it in your garden?

Not sure when your garlic is ready to harvest? See this post for info.

30 Comments to “A Bountiful Garlic Harvest”
  1. KimH on July 20, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I harvested about 3/4th whats shown in your top picture there.. I let them lay for several days to dry then braided them into 2 nice long braids. I havent perfected that yet but perhaps one day I will.

    Garlic is one of the easiest things to grow. Like you, I planted it in the fall and just let it do its thing.

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Ana on November 30, 2012 at 9:27 am

      My garlic did relaly yeesh this year. We had a LOT of rain in the late spring, not to mention cooler temps. The varieties that usually do well for me (Siberian especially) did poorly in a fairly spectacular way. Music did fairly well, though. I’m not going to grow as much next year, but I will put in a decent amount. I harvested 156 heads this year.

      Reply to Ana's comment

  2. Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on July 20, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I grow about a 8×6 foot bed of it. That will last us through the fall, winter and spring.

    Question for you? Should I harvest now? I usually wait until early fall.

    Reply to Lisa@ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

    • Susy on July 20, 2011 at 7:51 am

      It depends on when you planted them and how many leaves they have that are still green. I have read that you should harvest when there are 3-5 green leaves remaining because these are the leaves that protect the bulbs. Mine were ready, some of them were beyond time and all their leaves had died so they don’t have the protective layers, those will get eaten first since they don’t seem to keep quite as long.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Joan on July 20, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I grow about 150 bulbs every year. We turn about 1/3 of them into (frozen) pesto, save about 1/2 for eating over the year, then replant the rest. This past year my saved ones started to go bad in late winter (a first), so I’m thinking of pickling some or maybe even freezing them, so that we’ll have them until my new ones are grown if this happens again this year.

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • KimH on July 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      I buy a large container of peeled garlic from Costco and after having one go bad on me in the frig, I now automatically just put it right into the freezer. I can just reach in & grab what I need. It doesnt work in everything (fresh salsa for one) but for cooking its great!

      Reply to KimH's comment

  4. Kathi on July 20, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Our growing seasons must be nearly identical in Ct. I harvest something (cucumbers and garlic) then you blog about it-haha. I planted garlic for the first time this year (30 heads) and had a beautiful harvest of large bulbs. I am going to save 4or 5 bullbs for planting in the fall and supplement it with a few new varieties.It’s going to take a lot of will power to save the biggest bulbs. My husband is betting I can’t do it.They just are so much nicer than the ones at the farmer’s market that I want to use my own stock. Am trying to save more seeds of everything this year. Do you rotate your garlic every year? I wasn’t planning on it, but read it is advised. Also, have you ever planted the little bulbets or whatever they are called when you let a few go to seed? I let one go to seed and was thinking of trying it, but read it takes 2 years and wasn’t sure of the procedure.

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  5. kristin @ going country on July 20, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Our garlic didn’t do well this year. Not sure if it was the really cold winter (probably not), all the rain in the spring, or the sudden hot temperatures after the rain. I’m thinking the combination of the last two. Whatever it was, the bulbs are pretty small. We’ve been planting our own cloves for years and years, but I’m thinking this may be the year I’ll try buying some seed cloves of a new variety. Do you have a favoritest favorite among your eight varieties? I think the hard-necked varieties tend to do best in our climate. Plus, then we get the scapes. :-)

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on July 20, 2011 at 7:57 am

      Probably all that rain. Garlic is like the tulip or other bulbing plants – they prefer dry soil. I do like the hardneck varieties and have the best of luck with them. The German Extra Hardy seemed to produce the largest bulbs in my sandy acidic soil. I also presoaked with fish emulsion before planting and added some bone meal at planting time.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Sande on July 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Your garlic harvest is wonderful. I grew some Polish Softneck here in SE Michigan for the first time growing garlic. It overwintered very well and from my 8 oz bag from Territorial Seed I got about 38 plants. Some were very nice in size, some very small – but I planted very single clove, even the tiny ones. We’re looking forward to getting a few new varieties this year and will probably order from because they sell by the clove instead of by the bag. But as new garlic growers we haven’t ordered from them before.
    I mulched over my planted garlic in the fall with about 5 inches of chopped leaves and the garlic came up through it. This fall I’ll try the soaking process you mentioned.

    Reply to Sande's comment

    • Susy on July 20, 2011 at 7:53 am

      That sounds like a good resource for seed garlic. I usually order from Gourmet Garlic Gardens. They have a great selection and you can order collections for your specific climate/region.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Lisa on July 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I planted about 10-15 bulbs last season and they went fantastic, so this season I planted about 80-100. Though here in Australia we aren’t anywhere near harvest but I really enjoy the look of them growing so strong even on the frostiest days.

    Reply to Lisa's comment

  8. Melissa on July 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Your harvest looks fantastic! People wonder how you can use so much garlic but they usually don’t realize how much they buy in a year. I harvested 47 bulbs this year, won’t be enough for the whole year after I hold some back to plant- but should cover about 75% of the year!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  9. Allison on July 20, 2011 at 8:26 am

    What a great garlic harvest! I’d for sure use all that up too! We love garlic I think I throw it in almost every dish I cook!

    We have garlic growing in a front flower bed – it was here when we moved into the farm. However, this fall I’d like to plant a whole new bed of it to make sure I have more than enough planted :)

    Reply to Allison's comment

  10. Gabe on July 20, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Since we didn’t have a garden in the fall, I didn’t get to plant any, but I’ve done it in the past and will plant some this fall.

    How do you preserve it? Just the braiding and hanging? Do you ever mince it and freeze, or does it all keep pretty well without freezing?

    Reply to Gabe's comment

  11. MAYBELLINE on July 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I grow my own and love it. It’s so simple to grow. I need to be more like you and plant 100 cloves in October for harvest in May.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  12. Donna B. on July 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Augh! Wonderful harvest! God I would eat all of that if I could… ♥
    Sadly my garlic harvest was pitiful… For one I didn’t plant enough bulbs, it was too late to plant them, and I grew spinach around the bulbs, thinking it would be great – but they easily shaded the growing garlic and stunted them… /sigh.
    I have that site bookmarked now! I think I’m going to buy actual real garlic starts for this year, and not use the grocery store garlic [which appears to be a weird chinese garlic… hmm…] guess I should order soon… before they run out!

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

    • Susy on July 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Their garlic seems to do beautifully, especially if you have them send you selections that do well in your climate. You’ll probably do better with a hard neck variety garlic – supermarket varieties are usually softneck. You would also most likely have good luck if you purchased garlic at your local farmer’s market, that would be a variety that you know will do well in your particular area.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Donna B. on July 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

        See, that could be it! I *knew* of the Hard/Soft neck differences but never thought to compare which type the grocery stores have… hrmpt.
        But yes! Their gourmet “Spicy/Hot” garlic mix is the one I think I’ll go with… cuz’ I looooove my garlic! Hehe. ♥
        [Might have to do an order of a less pungent type too, how many cloves usually come in the 1lbs order? I may have to make a garlic bed in the back yard… not that I’m complaining. ^v^]

        to Donna B.'s comment

      • Susy on July 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

        If I remember correctly usually the one pound size has 4 different varieties. Usually the grocery store has soft neck garlic and it’s often treated with something to prevent sprouting, which could possible affect it’s growth as well. Hard neck garlic with have a very hard stem in the middle of the cloves. I have always had better luck with hard neck garlic here in my NE Ohio climate. I grew softneck a few years and then gave up because they never did very well.

        to Susy's comment

  13. Wendy on July 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I’m growing garlic for the first time this year; I’m on track to harvest about 60 heads. I’m still waiting to harvest–don’t think the tops have died down enough yet (?), but I’m not sure. Looking at your pictures, I think I should still wait. (whoops, just read your comment above, thanks!) Can’t wait to taste our homegrown garlicky goodness!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  14. Ginny on July 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I planted a half dozen this year – my first time planting garlic. They are a hardneck variety I bought at the farmer’s market. I’ll definitely be planting more this fall!

    Reply to Ginny's comment

  15. Andrea Duke on July 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    My garlic did really well this year as well. I harvested about 80 bulbs this year.

    Good to know that removing the scapes helps the bulbs get bigger. I made pesto and froze it.

    Just like you, I didn’t do a good job of keeping the varieties separate :)

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  16. Xan on July 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I ended up with 84 of 4 varieties, none of them large enough to hold for replanting. The overwet/cold spring just did me in this year. Hoping I can salvage enough good-looking bulbs to make 4-variety braids as Christmas gifts.

    Reply to Xan's comment

  17. Monica the Garden Faerie on July 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, those are some gorgeous bulbs!

    Reply to Monica the Garden Faerie's comment

  18. Jennifer Fisk on July 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    My garlic bed is about 10×10. I’ve have eight 8 oz containers of Scape Pesto in the freezer plus I sauteed a lot and put it into omelets and with pasta. I will dig my garlic next week and hang it in the hot attic of my garage. I tie bunches together and hang them on a defunct TV antenna attached to the rafters. I use it in cooking, and make roasted garlic in the winter. My daughters in law love receiving it as a gift at Christmas time.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  19. Bev Burtschell on July 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I haven’t grown garlic before…what is a scape? Thanks….

    Reply to Bev Burtschell's comment

    • Susy on July 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      It’s the flower stalk that the garlic sends up. Here’s a post with photos.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  20. Jaspenelle on July 25, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I just harvested my garlic a couple days ago. By first year of doing so! I got 30 heads and while that pales compared to your 100+ I am so very excited! I cannot believe how beautiful it looks.

    How do you cure yours?

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

    • Susy on July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

      I usually just leave mine in the warm garage for 2 weeks for curing.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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