Is my garlic ready for harvest?

david883(5/6)July 14, 2013

Hi everyone

This is my first time planting garlic. I received a few cloves last fall from a friend and planted them in the front of a raised bed sometime last November (maybe october... I can't remember now... I should write these things down). Bottom leaves are yellowing and all the top growth is starting to fall over (a few days ago they were all perfectly upright. I'm just wondering if its time to harvest. I'm not sure what specific variety these are, if they're hard or softneck or anything. Also, if it makes a difference, no scapes ever grew, either.

Thanks in advance for the advise

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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

No, they aren't ready yet. Your leaves are just barely starting to yellow so you'll probably have another week or two to wait. I harvest mine when the bottom few leaves are brown, not yellow.

And the fact that your plants didn't scape means that they are softnecks.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Thanks, Rodney. I figured they could use a little more time but I wanted to make sure. Thanks for the info on them being softnecks, too!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:18AM
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All garlic are not alike, and if they are softnecks I would dig one up and have a look. I grew some Silverskins this year that were very much ready when the first ones started falling over.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:42AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

As long as there are two or three green leaves, it means that garlic cloves are intact and have not broken the wrap. live leaves make strong wraps. That is why harvesting time has a window. So better to be a little early than too late.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 6:01

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:16PM
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You can look at garlic from the top and from the bottom to figure out when you want to pull it.

Generally, it's when the first three leaves are completely dead that the bulb is fully formed.

The number of green leaves from the top indicate how many layers of "wrapper" the bulb has. More layers improve storage time.

The longer you leave it in, the bigger it gets, but it busts out of the wrapper and you have dirt in with the cloves.

Looking at your crop from both top and bottom can help you pull according to what you need; if you're braiding, if you're storing or eating it right away.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:05AM
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Thanks for the advise everyone. This is my first year growing garlic so this is all very new to me. I have two or three that are much smaller than the ones in the picture I originally posted. All the leaves were browned, shriveled and fallen over. I decided to pull one and see. Obviously its developed fully but its also very small. I think I'll leave all the others in for another week or two and pull another and see how it goes. I only have about 8 "plants" (I feel like plants is the wrong term to use... is that weird?) but I figure I'll experiment a little and see what works and what doesn't. If I loose any, I'll know better for next year. Any other advise or input would certainly be appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Here's another picture with a scale reference

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Looks like a store bought softneck variety. If you really want to go serious with garlic, I would suggest going with something tough, with the taste such as chesnok red, or german red hardnecks.

The reasons are simply because they are easier to pull out of the ground, are less likely to rot through the winter, have bigger cloves, larger bulbils, and a stronger flavor.

I grow softnecks too since I like to have a good variety, but here are some of my hardneck german reds which will are ready for harvest, but I tend to leave them in there until I need to use them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:18PM
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I'm not sure what these are exactly... Like I said, received them from a friend. I'd love to try a little more variety, though, so I'll look into the hardnecks you mentioned.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:40AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

@ David,
First , the garlic, as shown in the picture, has bee harvested too late. The cloves are busting the wrap. But that's ok if you are not going to keep the for a long time.

In The second picture, Those are bulbils. YOU CAN USE THEM AS YOU WOULD GARLIC CLOVEs. or you can plant them. IHAVE HEARD that when you plant those bulbils, you will get a round, single clove garlic aka onion garlic, size of a walnut.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:11AM
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