harvesting garlic

toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)July 20, 2012

My garlics all have some brown leaves and some are tipped over, so I was planning on harvesting them to cure today. However, we got a sudden rainstorm that's lasted all morning and hasn't cleared yet. I'd stopped watering near the end of June. It might be clear tomorrow, but it promises to rain for a couple more days after that. Then the weather "should" clear for the remainder of next week.

Should I quickly harvest tomorrow or wait for the soil and the garlics to dry a bit later next week?

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That's a tough situation. Your description of the plants indicates that they are ready (or past ready) for harvest. I would suggest that you pull the beauties out, tie them in smaller bunches than usual, (perhaps five or six bulbs), hang them for curing in a covered area (breezeway, garage, garden shed, tent, umbrella, whatever) and then proceed as usual. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:47PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Quickly harvest and wash them well.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:24PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

Thank you both for responding! I will harvest them today.
still kris: wash them? Do you mean just get all the dirt off?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:55AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I would certainly not wash them unless you need them to look clean for the state fair, lol.

Last year I had to harvest garlic between rainstorms which really sucked as there was 2000 row feet (4000 plants) to dig in 1 day! I just knocked off as much dirt as I could, hung them in smaller bunches than usual (as Victor said above) and they cured just fine with a fan blowing on them for the first week.

The skins didn't look as perfect as they could have but thats how it goes some years. The garlic kept just fine, and I was selling garlic well into March.

Good luck with the harvest, let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 4:01PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

Thank you madroneb. I did go ahead and harvest them today. Just finished. Other than being harder than usual to dig up because of the wet soil and a bit dirtier than usual (I wiped them off with a dry cloth), they seemed no worse for the rains. Now if I could only find my notes about what was planted where! Ah well.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 4:11PM
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largemouth(Z6 NY)

I don't wash them, either. No need. The soil left on them I easily wipe off when I use them. That could be the next day, or months later. That's the beauty of the bulb.

I prefer to use garlic sooner than later, though it is certainly good for months after harvest.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:26PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

Yes, get all the dirt and extra wrappers removed for the nicest looking crop. I would think that removing dirt would make for better storage, too, and certainly a lot less mess.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:27AM
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