When to harvest Garlic?

goddessemer6(z9a NV)May 4, 2006

This is my first year growing garlic and now that they're growing nicely I'm concerned about the next step...harvesting. How do I do it? They're just run of the mill soft neck garlic from the grocery store so they most likely don't need anything special, right? Also I think I read somewhere that the perfect allium has 13 leaves and that counting the leaves can help indicate when to harvest? Is this Truth or Fiction? Thanks for any input!

~Rose

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username_5(banned for no reason)

One leaf per division. There is nothing special about the number 13.

Harvest when the green growth stops and the green starts turning brown or it starts limping out and falling over.

As long as there is erect, green growth the green is feeding energy to the garlic cloves. As soon as the leaves begin to show signs of 'petering out' the leaves are not feeding the bulbs any longer and are dying. This is when to harvest garlic.

There is no harm in harvesting early, the garlic is still edible and will taste the same, it simply hasn't grown as large as it can yet.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 4:40PM
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glenn9643(z8 MS)

One leaf per division? As in the number of cloves the bulb is divided into? If my interpretation of what you're saying is correct, it's BS.
My siberian will only make about seven cloves per bulb, but has MANY leaves, as in twenty or so...
The rest of your post I have no problem with, but unless I completely misread about the number of leaves...?????

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 9:39PM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

I could well be wrong, but as I understand it each clove is it's own plant and will send up it's own greenery to feed itself. I believe the number of leaves on an onion is proportional to the number of rings as well.

I never counted so I can't say for sure, but this is what I heard and it makes sense. Could be wrong though.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 10:41PM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

For onions, you're correct that each leaf is a ring on the onion and the size of the leaf corresponds to the size of the ring. For garlic, it's a little different ... according to the Ron Engeland book, only some of the garlic leaves are fertile (less for hardnecks and more for softnecks) and the rest are there to support the plant.

From what I've seen in harvesting garlic, the number of green leaves remaining at time of harvest equal the number of intact wrappers surrounding the head. Since I always lose a couple in curing and cleaning, I like to harvest when there are around 4-5 green leaves left.

Rose, there isn't anything special you need to do to harvest the garlic. Depending on your weather, I'd start to reduce watering a couple of weeks before harvest and then dig them when the leaf count is right. Since they're softnecks, definitely help them out of the ground rather than just pulling from the neck or you risk ripping the top off the garlic. Once they're out, tie them in bundles and hang them somewhere that has good ventilation for a couple of weeks so that they can cure and store better.

Never heard the part about 13 leaves though.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 7:31AM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

Thanks for that info, Makalu

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 11:35AM
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goddessemer6(z9a NV)

Thank you all for the info, I guess now all I need to do is find out what date is the appropriate one to harvest in zone 9. =)

~Rose

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:19PM
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shesalittlebear

Wow. I wish I would have read this post before pulling out all of my garlic.

To make a long story short, I planted garlic and onions for the first time this year. All of my labels faded and my dogs and DH did some serious damage to lots of my plants (DH on accident moving LOTS of soil into the backyard with a wheelbarrel..He fell a couple of times).

I pulled out the garlic thinking that they were onions. When I went to taste one, I found cloves.

The entire bulbs are walnut to almost normal size. I think that I planted Spanish Rosa; I could be wrong. The head are white with streaks of purple and bright blue (is that normal?).

So how do I preserve these tiny garlic bulbs? I already cut off the tops. I am hoping that they can be freezed. Per the nursery, I can dry, refrigerate or pickle 'em. I really do not want to dry them 'cause the cloves are quite small. They would be a pain to peel.

The cloves have a really nice mild taste. They were great raw. I would feel really guilty tossing them out.

Thank you for your advice.

Cheers,

Angelique

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 8:13PM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

Angelique,

Garlic can be cured just like onions which simply means leave them laying out in a warm, dry environment for several days so they develop several 'wrappers' of dry material around them.

After this they can be stored in a cool, dark place for months. The exact amount of time varies from type to type.

For me hardneck garlic generally stores in mesh bags hung up in my basement for 4-6 months.

One of the best ways to preserve garlic is to replant it to make more. I don't know what zone you are in so I can't advise on planting times, but keep the garlic whole until planting time for your area. In my zone 5 it is around Oct, but later is fine too. Because planted cloves are 'on life support' they keep indefinitely and this means you can pull them whenever you want them.

At planting time seperate the cloves and plant each one seperately.

I haven't tried freezing or drying, but I have pickled it. Pickled it keeps for a very long time. I couldn't tell you how long other than garlic harvested last year is still good in my pickled jars. Pickling it changes it's flavor though due to the vinegar. I wouldn't want pickled garlic on garlic bread, for example, although in a pasta sauce it probably wouldn't matter.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 11:17PM
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goddessemer6(z9a NV)

My DH's grandma jars a mean pickled garlic I just can't get enough. It's one of the reason I decided to grow garlic this year. When my garlic fist started comeing up I showed my hubby. At the time only 9 had surfaced, and he was like "wow baby that's a lot of garlic!" then I took him by the hand and showed him ALL the places I'd planted garlic in my raised beds, I thought he was gonna fall over. He's still not sure what I'm gonna do with it all...LOL

~Rose

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 11:41PM
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shesalittlebear

Hi Username_5,

Thank you for the advice. I am in zone 9, Sacramento, CA. I don't think that I can plant garlic through the summer her. I will definitely save a few of the small bulbs to plant in the fall.

I really don't have too much garlic...Probably 20 heads at most. I can definitely share them with my grandma or great-uncle that live in town.

Hi Rose,

Please keep in touch. My tomatoville user name is Angelique. I am very interested in knowing how garlic does in your climate. Here in Sacto. the weather gets pretty darn hot.

Cheers,

Angelique

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:30AM
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goddessemer6(z9a NV)

Hi Angelique, I think I'm sending you Paul Robeson seeds! So far it looks great, but I'll definately keep posting as it progresses for the better or for the worse...

~Rose

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 11:50AM
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shesalittlebear

Hi Rose,

Yep..It's me. Thank you for the Paul Robeson seeds! I'll let you know when they arrive.

Cheers,

Angelique

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:17PM
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shesalittlebear

Hi Rose,

Yep..It's me. Thank you for the Paul Robeson seeds! I'll let you know when they arrive.

Cheers,

Angelique

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:18PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

Too bad abort Your garlic Angelique ; I'd be crying. This is maybe my fifth year, and I am learning all the time,but in a normal year, your garlic may have been "ready" soon anyway. This hass not been a normal year in N. California, cooler and wetter, and I've been fortunate to keep my garlic green so long. What variety where you growing? Some need to be dug earlier and quicker Gs soon as leaves START to brown) them others.

Here is a link that might be useful: 06 garlic; Lukak and Ichellium (sp?)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:59AM
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shesalittlebear

Hi Nanelle,

I don't know which variety made it. I bought 3 different varieties at Eisley's in Auburn. With my luck, all of the labels wore off. I think that the survivor MAY have been Spanish Roja (sp??).

In a way, I am sort of happy that I pulled the garlic. I needed to get the area ready for cukes and melons.

Next garlic season, I plan to label my plants better and start the garlic much earlier.

The little bulbs are drying nicely. for the very small ones, I plan on cutting them in 1/2 and roasting them. Perhaps, for some garlic butter, pasta or bread.

Cheers,

Angelique

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 3:25PM
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greggj82_gmail_com

if you plant in the fall, harvest in May (Maryland)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 4:08PM
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deanriowa(4b)

if you plant in the fall, harvest in mid July (Iowa)

Dean

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 12:58PM
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mmadm1n-2_yahoo_com

In Northern California plant in November, harvest in May.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 6:38AM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Here in the extreme northwest part of CA I plant the end of September to early October and harvest in mid June to mid July depending upon the variety, of course.

Early purple variety is getting its scapes on and will be ready in three or so weeks and the German Extra Hardy is usually ready in mid July. Growing Music for the first time this year so have no idea when it will be ready. Korean Red ripens somewhere between the purple and the German.

The cold snap we had a few weeks ago killed off some of the lower leaves so I may not be harvesting when the bottom three or four are brown, but wait until scaping is done and there are only three green leaves remaining. All the last rain we had last year and this year sort of requires flexibility when it comes to harvest time.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:14AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Harvesting garlics, is indicated by the condition and state of the garlic itself, as clearly explained by USERNAME 5. That is, we are taliking about the optimum time. The logic is simple ; as long as the top and root are exchaning/working together, the bulb has a chance to grow. But when the top is mostly yellow, fallen the it is not supplying anything to the roots, whithout which the bulb cannot grow.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:56PM
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