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Harvesting the Garlic

June 25th, 2012

Over the weekend I harvested my garlic. I usually wait until there are 5 or 6 green leaves left on the plants. Here’s my post on How to Tell if Garlic is Ready to Harvest.

My garlic crop is a mix of varieties that I’ve been growing for a few years now. There are white and purple varities, some that produce HUGE bulbs and some that produce small ones. All of the type I grow are hardneck, though next year I’ll be adding some softneck garlic because I hear it stores longer.

Overall it was a great year for garlic. The final tally is 160 bulbs harvested. Looks like we’ll be having a savory year! You might wonder what we do with so much garlic? We eat it in just about every day in something. Garlic is so healthy we make sure to include as much of it as we can. It’s a good thing I grow my own because purchasing this much garlic throughout the year for cooking would cost a fortune. I’ll also save 15-25 bulbs for planting this fall saving myself a bundle on seed garlic too!

Have you harvested your garlic yet? What’s your favorite dish that contains garlic?

27 Comments to “Harvesting the Garlic”
  1. Bettina on June 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

    My favourite dish for garlic…. is: “Poulet avec 40 gousses d’ail” or Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic….

    Reply to Bettina's comment

    • amy on June 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Bettina~thank you so much for the lovely onion marmalade recipe! I cannot wait to try it and yes….I can my fruits and vegetables exactly as you do….a lot less work and mine always turn out just as well as someone who does the whole hot water bath procedure:) I have a wonderful lemon, garlic, basalmic, and rosemary chicken recipe I do in an iron skillet. Garlic and chicken always make a good couple!

      Reply to amy's comment

  2. Beegirl on June 25, 2012 at 7:36 am

    We grew garlic last year for the first time. I pulled ours this weekend too. It is delicious! Can’t wait to grow more next year. Curious – how do you store your garlic?

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

    • Susy on June 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      My garlic is stored in a basket in the basement – it stays dry and cool – around 50 degrees down there. I have had pretty good luck storing garlic until my next year’s is harvested. I grow long storing and short storing varieties. I have just recently read that soft-neck garlic stores longer than hard neck and so I’m going to try growing some of that next year to see if this is the case.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Kathi Cook on June 25, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I am a few weeks away from harvesting it. I too saved my garlic from last year to plant. Hope it works well. They look good and the scapes were great. I planted about 40 cloves. I wanted to plant more but didn’t have enough to save. Next year I may supplement with seed garlic from a farm to bump my crop up. It takes up so little room and gives so much.I was surprised at how easy garlic is. Last year I planted grean beans where the garlic grew and they did well. I love fresh garlic in my salad dressing, and to marinate chicken.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • jennifer fisk on June 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      I have read that you should use your own to plant in the fall because it has acclimated to your soil etc. I’ve been using mine for about 5 years and have great crops.

      Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  4. Little Homestead in the Village on June 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I harvested my 1st bulb yesterday. The rest of the crop should be ready soon. I loved eating the scapes. I also plant beans where the garlic grew.

    Reply to Little Homestead in the Village's comment

  5. Melissa from the Blue House on June 25, 2012 at 8:37 am

    My first ever garden is in full swing, but alas, I only planted one clove of garlic. :( I was wondering when it would be ready to harvest!

    Wish I’d done more because I use garlic every day too… and TONS of it when one of us is sick. My little yard in the city didn’t allow me much room to do everything I wanted to tho…

    Reply to Melissa from the Blue House's comment

  6. Teresa on June 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I’m giving mine a little while longer, but it looks like harvest time is approaching. Last year I did a full 4×16 bed of garlic–it was just about enough, but I need the space for other crops so I cut down to half a bed.

    Reply to Teresa's comment

  7. goatpod2 on June 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    This is our 1st year to do garlic so we haven’t harvested it yet. It’s almost ready though.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  8. Gabe on June 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Since you have so much (and hardneck doesn’t store as long), do you pickle or freeze some of it? I’ve ended up with a lot in the past too, and we never seem to be able to eat it all before it starts sprouting or dries out.

    Reply to Gabe's comment

    • Susy on June 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      We usually end up eating all that we grow and still need to buy some from local farmers – I know we eat a lot of garlic. Storing length depends on storage conditions and on the type of garlic that you grow. It pays to try a few different types of garlic until you find one that stores best. I usually grow 6 different varieties and have 2 types that are long-storing. I have also read, though don’t know from experience, that soft-neck garlic will store longer than hard neck types. Next year I plan on doing an experiment to see if this is true. I’m also considering a spring planting to see if it is ready for harvest later, which would, in theory, provide garlic that stores longer into the spring.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Angela on June 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for this post! I have planted garlic for the first time this year, and had not actually realized that it might almost be time to harvest.

    Reply to Angela's comment

  10. julie on June 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Mine looks ready — like all of a sudden! So I think toward the end of this week, when the weather is supposed to get a little milder. I am so excited! I keep poking fingers in the dirt & snooping out the size… I am like a kid at Christmas when it comes to my garden. I only grew 11 bulbs because I didn’t realize how much more I could fit into my square foot garden — next year I’ll likely double that, though I’d love to quadruple it !

    Reply to julie's comment

  11. Maybelline on June 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Garlic harvest is in May for me.
    Garlic soup (Gourmet Magazine) is wonderful.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  12. kaela on June 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Recently saw this, by Hank Shaw:

    It’s tempting me to buy a pressure canner!

    Reply to kaela's comment

  13. Trish on June 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    We grew garlic for the first time this year, and it seemed to be ready to harvest. But the first three we checked were all tiny – maybe two cloves? So now we’re discouraged and have left the rest in the ground in some vague hope that there will be a garlic miracle in the next week or so. Not really sure what we did wrong, but the predominant thinking seems to be that we probably waited until too late in the fall to plant them. Plus our weather all around has been unseasonable, which probably didn’t help. Next year we’ll plant earlier and in the ground instead of containers and hope for better results.

    Reply to Trish's comment

  14. Becky on June 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’m in the Pacific Northwest and summer hasn’t really started here, so my garlic is still pretty green. But, I did add a scoop of bonemeal last fall when I planted (I think at your suggestion), so I’m hoping for a great crop of big bulbs! Also, I’ve noticed a number of my garlic stalks falling over. This happened last year, too. Any ideas on why? The stalks are still very green and alive. At first I could just push more dirt around the base to prop them back up, but now they won’t stay up.

    Reply to Becky's comment

    • Raye on June 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Last year I got puny bulbs most likely from not trimming the scapes off, and not giving the soil enough nitrogen in springtime. Weed pressure has also seemed to impact the size of my garlic bulbs. My Inchelium Red seems to prefer Mel’s Mix (equal parts peat moss, vermiculite and compost), but the other varieties do poorly in that. Even the small bulbs taste good, though!

      Reply to Raye's comment

      • Susy on June 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        The soil is probably why affects the bulb size (though harvesting the scopes does affect it as well). Plants do much better when planted in real soil in the ground. I’d highly recommend adding some soil in with your Mel’s Mix to make it retain water longer and to improve soil structure.

        to Susy's comment

  15. Bethany on June 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I love growing garlic! The garlic I have was passed on to me from my grandfather, so it has a bit of a special place in my garden. I save some every year in order to re-plant it, but I’ve been wondering if I’m doing everything right as far as garlic storage. How do you store your hard neck garlic? I’ve had a few heads spoil, and I’d really like to avoid that in the future (my garlic supply is too precious for even a few losses).

    Reply to Bethany's comment

  16. Rick on June 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Our garlic is getting close but it’s not quite ready yet. Maybe a couple more weeks and we’ll dig it up. We discovered a new recipe just this week that we used garlic in and it was delicious. It was a stroganoff type sauce with meat balls. With tons of garlic and onions it was great!!

    Reply to Rick's comment

  17. Dave Velten on June 26, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I have not grown garlic but you are convincing me to try it this fall. A favorite recipe using garlic is
    this one (Freddy’s Roast Potatoes).

    Reply to Dave Velten's comment

  18. Annette @ CoMo Homestead on June 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    This was a good year for our garlic, too! We have 320 bulbs from four different varieties. This is the first year we’ve really scaled up, so now we get to decide what we want to do with all of it. :)

    Reply to Annette @ CoMo Homestead's comment

  19. jennifer fisk on June 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I’m just barely seeing scapes so the main harvest is a while off. I usually dig/pull at the end of July or beginning of August. I hang them in the attic of the garage to dry. They make great Christmas gifts.

    Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  20. Jenny on June 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I have some garlic that I just planted this spring. I know you’re supposed to plant in fall, but I had a head in my kitchen that started to sprout (apparently it never heard that rule), so I put it in a pot to see what will happen. I figure even if I don’t get garlic heads from it, the scapes will be tasty

    My favorite garlicky dish is hummus. I don’t usually eat much garlic (hence the sprouting head in my kitchen), but I put a whole clove of it in a small batch (one can of chick peas). The trick is to roast the garlic, then it doesn’t taste strong at all. In fact I sometimes add a little fresh garlic because it doesn’t have enough flavor otherwise.

    Reply to Jenny's comment

  21. KimH on June 27, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Mine are just about ready, I think. I’ll probably dig up a couple this weekend and see the state of them and decide then whether to leave them a few more weeks or not.

    Reply to KimH'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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