garlic harvest

Garlic, Harvests

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garlic 026 harvest pile

This week I finished harvesting my garlic. I harvested half of it (New York White and Susanville softneck, plus some hardneck varieties I saved from past years) two weeks ago (July 2). July 10, I pulled the giant cloves of German Extra Hardy and Duganski hardneck varieties. A fantastic harvest!

I have enjoyed reading a book called “The Complete Book of Garlic” by Ted Meredith to learn about when to harvest garlic. Its a very informative book that the published sent to me to review.

The ideal seems to be to harvest garlic when 5 green leaves remain and the rest are brown. I mostly did this, but still several were more mature and some less.

As the book describes, since garlic leaves start at the base of the bulb, they are also the bulb wrappers. A green leaf means an intact wrapper, and a brown leaf means that wrapper has degraded. If there are no green leaves left, the bulb has no wrapper and the cloves are exposed and will not store well. Too many green leaves and the bulb has not reached full size and flavor (but is still great to eat as green garlic).

There’s also a nice comment earlier on my blog from Patrick about harvesting garlic. He says, “Garlic can be pulled and eaten almost anytime! I start in the spring, when it’s the size of spring onions and keep harvesting every few weeks. When it’s too young to harvest the roots, you can harvest the greens. In this way you have fresh garlic almost all year round.”

I am also excited about the extra space I have in my garden now that the garlic is pulled. I planted a bunch of seeds yesterday: soybeans, several lettuce variates, mixed greens and broccoli. I will need to start thinking about where to plant next years crop of garlic, but it will not go in the same spot. Maybe in the corn or squash bed when they are finished.

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • The garlic looks wonderful.

    Like to know what you are going to plant in your garlic space for fall crops. As i am new gardener, I can follow you.

  • I think greens, broccoli, and carrots.

  • I am quickly becoming your blog fan. I can not wait to plant more stuff.

    One thing I would like to ask you, I find your fall plant calendar, it says that I can plant peas in 7/17 when i put in frost date as 10/5. Do you have any experience to plant the peas in fall. I live in Acton, MA, not far from Belmont, would like to get your input to do some sugar snap as i love the peas.

    Thank you very much for sharing the information, the pictures are great, so much good tips. I learned a lot about vegetable garden by reading your blog!!!!

  • it is very difficult to get a crop of fall peas. I am told it used to be easier (I believe I read this on the Sand Hill Preservation catalog), but the weather changes more quickly now. In the fall, this means you have to find the exact right date for planting. Too early and the seedlings don't grow in the summer heat and too late and the frost comes before harvest.

    The past two or three year I have experimented to plant fall peas without success. I had small peas on the vine last year at frost and just flowers before this. I did get nice tendrils from the plants.

    Last year I planted August 23, the previous year Aug 27. Daphne (in Winchester MA, I think) says finds she needs to plants fall peas in mid July for then to have enough time to mature, and that they never do very well. That agrees with the fall calendar date you mention. Seems like it would be too hot then.

    I wondering if this might be a good crop for my new cold frame. Maybe planted early-mid August they will do OK if I close up the frame later in the season.

    The closed up frame might keep the chipmunks away too!!

    Good luck if you try fall peas. Let me know if it works.

  • Thank you so much for the information. I will try a few of them around next weekend as I got the seeds.

    You cucumber looks delicious.

    Again, thank you!!!

  • I harvest my garlic more according to the calendar than anything else. If the previous year I was too early or too late, I plan accordingly for the next year.

    As a rule, you plant with the winter solstice, and harvest with the summer solstice. This is only if you are close to the equator however, and as you get further away you should harvest later. The time you plant is not very important.

    I like what the book says about a few green leaves being needed for the bulb wrappers, and this is mostly true.

    Like a lot of things, there are more factors than just that. Dry weather or a plant disease like garlic rust can make the tops suddenly die off but leave the bulb wrapper untouched. I suspect if your plant get a lot of water or nutrients late in the season, the tops may stay green and the bulbs underneath may expand and break through the wrappers.

  • When you plant garlic in the fall, do you water immediately? Or do you mulch and wait until the spring to water?

  • I do not water garlic bulbs when I plant in the fall. Its planted fairly deep (1-2 inches) where soil stays fairly moist – not like small seeds that are in the upper soil layer that dries out fast.

    (Plus the water at the community garden is always shut off by the time I plant garlic, so I would need to lugs barrels out to water it.)

    I also don't water other fall bulbs after planting like tulips or crocuses, etc.


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