I have read that you want to remove the bulbs from the ground when about half of the leaves have turned brown.
My question is how do you cure it for keeping?
We let the plants air dry for a day on a table (not in the sun), then we brush off the loose dirt and trim the roots. We make bunches of 10 plants and hang them by string in an old tobacco barn. When the leaves and everything have fully dried, we clip off the bulbs and give them a final cleaning. They like a dry shaded place to cure. If you hang to many plants together the stems will rot.
Here is a link that might be useful: www.garlicgarlic.com
Thanks for your response, Rebecca. The pictures sure were nice. About how many heads do you raise each year?
I'm glad I read this! I pulled one yesterday and washed the dirt off, obviously wrong! But I will be using it today.
I'm thinking on the line of storing potatoes, you never wash them until you use them!
rabukia, would it be better to air dry for a day on the picnic table outside in the shade or in my barn? We have been having thunder storms most evenings.
I plan to pull them all this evening when I get home, they are ready.
wertach - Someone with more experience can chime in, but I'd say it's better in your garage than on your picnic table. You don't want them in the sun or the rain while they are curing. If it's REALLY humid and damp for several days, I'd say bring them into your house where it's not so humid so they don't rot before they dry.
During the past few years of bonus rainfall I have had to wash the heads before curing. It is the only way to get a clean looking crop those years and it does not hurt one bit, perhaps it helps to wash off the soil which might contain disease causing organisms. Plus, it is so much nicer which is especially important if you are selling any of your crop.
I live in a very damp climate (think rain forest) and do have to take the crop into the house at a certain point or the wrappers start to get moldy. Have not had any rotting, however, just black spots on the outer-most layers which does not seem to effect the quality of the crop nor the storing.
I didn't get to pull them yesterday, a thunderstorm. I will pull them today, I hope!
Thanks for the info, I've grown garlic before but never enough to store any.
I will wash them, they will have tons of dirt on them since it rained. And I will put them in my storage shed, probably better than the barn, since it will keep critters out!
I need to ship some garlic though the mail as soon as it is cured. Do not want it to mold in the package.
I left the garlic out side in the sun, with the bulbs covered by burlap for 48 hours & have it in the house now.
I cut the stalk(hope that right) off 2 inches above the bulb.
The stalk is now dry like wheat straw, so can I mail it & it set in the box for up to 5-10 days without molding?
If you have any those "dessicant" silica gel packs that come in various things...shoes, electronics, beef jerky... you can always throw that in a paper bag with the garlic, it should absorb all of the excess moisture.
But No it shouldn't mold.
I have cured my garlic in a basement where it reaches 70-77F, hung in groups of 10, uncleaned, untrimmed, dehumidifier & fans running, for 4-6 weeks ( a little longer that ya need but ideal temps are 80-86 so...). I then cut off the roots & stalk to roughly 1/4" & 1 1/2" and gently place them in wire mesh baskets in the same room.
This is only my third year, i have put back roughly 80-85% in the ground each year. I had some Romanian (softneck) that stored for almost a year. The Italian & German never make it long enough to know storage values. I have 490 bulbs of Italian & 290 German, so maybe I'll try & save some longer this year...it's just so hard! We don't even touch any of the big ones. Anyway, I guess i have been fortunate because i have never had one rot or mold where they have been cured and stored.