How To Harvest and Store Garlic

Garlic Harvest

Garlic is ready to harvest when the tops yellow and begin to flop over. When more than one third of your crop looks ready, you may want to pull a bulb or two to check them out and make a decision as to when to harvest the whole crop. To pull bulbs that are slightly on the small side is probably a better option that leaving the garlic too long and ending up with a whole lot of split or diseased bulbs that will not keep for very long. Even bulbs that are not fully divided into cloves will still taste as they should, so do not worry too much about producing the perfect crop. Sometimes it is better to cut your losses and pull a little early if the weather is very wet.

When lifting your garlic, be sure to do so gently. Bruised or damaged garlic will not store as well. Ideally you will have knocked the watering on the head for a week or two prior to harvesting but, let's face it, sometimes the rain will have rained with little regard for your garlic crop. Take the garlic and lay it in a warm, dry space in a single layer. A greenhouse or polytunnel shelf is ideal for this purpose though you should try to ensure through adequate

Drying Garlic

shading and ventilation that the temperature does not climb above about 30 degrees.

Garlic Braid

You should expect to wait a couple of weeks before your garlic has dried enough, though it could take longer if the weather is very wet and the conditions less than ideal. When the foliage of your garlic is totally dry and crisp, you can cut off the lengths leaving just a small 'tail' on each bulb. Check the garlic bulbs thoroughly at this stage and be sure to put any damaged bulbs to one side so you can use these before you use the rest.

When the garlic is fully dried, you can then braid it into string that can be hung somewhere cool and from which you can take garlic when it is needed in the kitchen. The strings of garlic should keep the vampires at bay! They will also look good. You can also string onions and shallots in this way when they are ready.