How Early Can I Harvest My Garlic?

mike1970(5B)June 2, 2008

Hi. I'd really like to get the garlic dug up and drying out before that part of my garden gets invaded by the melons and squash that I just seeded yesterday. My garlic seemed to get a slow start this year due to the cold spring we had in Wisconsin, but now it's growing like crazy. I'd hate to spoil it by digging it up to soon, but it would be a real pain to try to dig it up with squash vines weaved around it. So when will it be ready to get harvested? Thanks.


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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

If your 5B in Wisconsin is similar to mine in New York, you've got at least a month or so to go before they'll be ready to be harvested. Usually, you'd wait until there are only 4 green leaves left on the garlic and then harvest and you'd like the soil around the garlic to be reasonably dry to make it easier and cleaner to get them out - probably not the best scenario for rapidly growing and thirsty melon plants so you'll have a bit of a balancing act there.

If you just seeded the melons & squash yesterday and didn't go the transplant route, you're probably not in too bad shape due to germination time and slow initial growth due to some shading effect from the garlic but you'll need to be careful when you harvest not to disturb the melon roots too much.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 8:22AM
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Thanks for the info. This is the first year I've grown garlic and, although I've read the standard growing guides, it's nice to get info from experienced growers. My season in Wisconsin tends to get pushed back since I'm right next to Lake Michigan which keeps us cooler in the spring and warmer in fall (after the water warms up), so I'll probably be harvesting a little later than you. I haven't seen anything that looks like scapes yet.

The squash and melons I planted are actually a bit to the north of my garlic patch, so there shouldn't be a problem with disturbing the roots. But I know how fast they can vine once they get going and they'll probably grow around some of the garlic and so I'll have to be careful around them when I'm digging it up.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 9:26AM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

if you planted an artichoke or silver skin you won't have any scapes to deal with. If it's a hardneck plan on waiting approx 4-5 weeks after the scapes appear, weather pending of course.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:27AM
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That sounds about right. My hardnecks are just now developing scapes, and last year I harvested during the July 4th holiday.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 6:13AM
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FYI, I purchased the Seed Savers garlic sampler pack with 6 types of hardneck, 3 of softneck, and one elephant garlic. I don't have the exact types in front of me right now. Some are at least 3-4 feet tall with abundant leaves. But May was much cooler than usual, and we had a frost on Memorial Day, so I assumed that slowed down the growth somewhat. I'm hoping I'll get some scapes in the next week or two, since I'm dying to try some stir-fried.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 9:15AM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

Mike, I believe Your plants are just starting to fill out or form the bulb right now. I dug up a couple plants that were not doing well a few days ago to find that nothing was happening yet. It sounds to me you have some big healthy plants...congrats

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:47PM
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bloosquall(Wa 6)

Yep, I pulled up a couple German Red that were on the small side to see what was happening. it was very interesting seeing the tiny cloves forming that would have later form the mature bulb...all was not lost, I ate the small cloves. it was very good. I now know that a couple weeks after the scape starts coming up the bulb starts forming.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 1:52AM
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