A short while ago I shared the not so secret secret to growing great garlic.
Today I’m going to show you how to harvest garlic, and I’ve created a video so you can see exactly how I do it.
Once you watch the video you may be tempted to run out and dig up your garlic (presuming you planted some last fall. If not, maybe it will inspire you to plant some this fall!) But before you do, you need to do two things:
- Determine that your garlic is ready to pick. I generally follow the advice of Margaret Roach from A Way to Garden: “…harvest when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six up top are still green”. Margaret has an excellent post on when to pick your garlic here.
- Get your equipment ready. The best tool for harvesting garlic is a garden fork. If you don’t have one, a shovel will do.
This is what my garlic patch looked like the day I filmed this video:
And now, here’s the video:
After the camera stopped rolling I rinsed the garlic off and then set it in a shady spot on the patio, on a rack, where it will stay for about a week. This is called curing garlic. Drying it out in this way prepares it for long term storage. If you don’t cure your garlic it won’t keep very long. Cure it, put it in a cool dark place, and it can last for months. Mine usually starts to sprout in about March if I haven’t used it all up by then.
After the garlic’s been on the patio for a week I’ll trim off the stems and shorten the whiskers (i.e. the roots), leaving me with a great supply of garlic for the year ahead: