What kind of drying rack for my garlic?

obrionusa(5)June 16, 2011

Garlic is soon coming and need to know what to do from here. I was thinking of making a square out of 2x4's and stapling chicken wire on top. Then letting this sit on some concrete blocks. What you think?

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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

I think that your idea will work as long as there is good air flow where ever you dry them. I set up a long extension ladder in my barn loft with 2 step ladders for end support and tie the garlic in bunches of about 5 each. They hang better if you tie them toward the tips so the weight of the bulbs hang down. I get a lot of cross ventilation and it has always worked well for me. I'm going to spray them with fish and seaweed emulsion this morning. So far the crop looks good this year.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:02AM
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It should work as long as you keep the garlics out of rain and direct sun. I lay out my garlics on top of a metal wire patio table on a covered porch. And I turn them once a week at the beginning.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:37PM
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Luke, Is your garlic turning brown yet? Mine is and I dont know if its too early to turn or not. Maybe I didnt do something right. We did have a slight dry, hot spell the first of June for 2-3 weeks. I did use mulched leaves 2" thick when I planted last fall.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 10:11AM
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Time for me to address the same issue, though I have around five weeks or so yet to get something set up. Been hard for me to decide between shelf racks versus hanging. I have been hanging my garlic so far with excellent results so I think I am going to continue using this method (though I think it is more labor intensive). I have actually been hanging my garlic individually (with excellent results) but I have too big a quantity now to do it that way anymore. I came up with a system of pre-made looped hanging strings that will really speed up the process of hanging garlic bunches. I made up a bunch last winter while I had the spare time.

I have some scrap conduit I can use as hanging rods so I think I will be setting up some type of triangular brackets out of lumber so that each row of hanging garlic will be offset from the rows above and below. This should allow for excellent ventilation around the bulbs and rows of bulbs which to me is an absolute critical factor, along with the absence of direct sunlight during the curing process.

Please keep us posted - I would like to hear how everyone's harvest and curing goes.

Good luck with the harvest!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:07PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have mine spread over dry straw in the shed. Also, harvest them when the ground is dry, not wet. This way they will dry much quickly. I have not seen garlics to rot, but onions, I have seen.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:22PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

obrian, Sorry for not answering sooner. Yes, just the tips and now just starting on one lower leaf. I'm growing German White if that makes a difference. I doubt if you did anything wrong. I thought that I kept records of last years harvest date, here in NE Ohio, but can't find it. I think that the screwed up weather that we have had this year has changed the rules. Where are you located and how much has yours browned out? luke

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 5:54AM
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Luke, The variety turning all brown now is the Rosewood. I never harvested garlic before, But looks Ready! I have three other varieties that have lower leaves turning.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 8:29PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

When to pick is important especially if you plan to store some thru the winter. I know that there's lots of info on the forum about when to dig, but I just watch when about 4 or 5 leaves have turned brown and dig a few up just to make sure that that the cloves are not seperating. I think, that the brown leaves are the 4 or 5 dried layers around the bulb to protect it during storage. If I'm wrong somebody set me strait, but this has worked for me. I'm not familiar with rosewood, but if you think that it's ready then dig it. I've started keeping a journal on my garden and orchard and hopefully, I don't have to rely on my memory. Gardening is not an exact science. luke

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 9:02AM
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Each leaf is actually an extension of a wrapper layer around the bulb, so it is the number of green leaves that represent the number of wrapper layers on the bulb.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 11:26AM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Tom, Thanks for clearing that up. I also talked with our local "Garlic Guy" today and got educated. He says when you have about 4 green leaves left on the plant that these will be your wrappers and it's time to harvest. I had it backwards, not uncommon. He also said that he had earwigs, attacking the scapes. He's been growing garlic for over 45 years and this is a first. I'm checking mine since he's only about 3 miles away. Thanks again Tom. luke

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 3:17PM
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I just want to really thank all you for the knowledge about this greek thing growing in my garden. I got the scapes and the girlfriend loves them, She made pesto out of it.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 8:39PM
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What I have observed with my garlics is that if a leaf just turned brown fully but the corresponding wrapper on the stem is still substantial and intact (hasn't turned colors or dried up) then that layer of wrap will be intact on the harvested bulb. So if you really want to push the harvest time, this might be something to keep in mind.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:22PM
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I use 1/4" x 1/4" mesh screening that comes from the hardware store in 4' widths, and, screw 2x4s together the flat way down, so its a 4x4' square, then use wire staples to fasten the screens to the 2x4s and set them on saw horses with a good electric fan on the floor blowing (tilted up) towards the garlic. Could not be easier, and, very portable. I use it to dry many things from the garden.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:08PM
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Sounds like a neat set-up that could help with really humid conditions. I've used open shelves and screens between saw horses, worked great. This year's crop began its cure time in the wood shed. I think slow curing, for 3 weeks, gives the best results.

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of garlic curing

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 8:44AM
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