I have a love affair with garlic. I like to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor almost all year round.
This is a great vegetable for growing, but you need to know a few tricks for growing and harvesting garlic.
If you don’t know when to harvest garlic, you are in one of two situations:
When harvesting garlic
This is not an exact science, and it largely depends on the type of culture and climate in which you are. It is also important to note that there are three garlic harvests in a year.
The first harvest usually occurs in early spring and the plants are usually about a foot tall at that time. You can pull a whole plant and use this shallot for cooking or fresh garlic, or you can just cut some of the leaves and use them as a fun addition to your kitchen.
The second harvest usually takes place in June, and then you can harvest the fields. The fields grow from a Woody central stem that some varieties of garlic have. In general, it is believed that removing scapes helps the formation of bulbs after, but the opinion on this issue is somewhat divided among experts.
The third and most important harvest usually takes place after in the summer, around mid-July to the end of August. Again, all of these deadlines can be delayed earlier than expected if the climate is warm or if there have been periods of unusually hot weather, so it’s best to check your plants regularly.
There is a lot of preparation that comes into play here, and I’ll come back to go into it in detail, but I would like to highlight one last factor that can affect the time of harvest.:
The type of garlic you planted.
In general, there are soft-necked and hard-necked varieties of garlic, each with its own advantages (there are also large varieties, but these are more like leeks and are not really recommended for planting).
This is what you will usually find at Your Local Store. These species are recommended for warmer climates and they can be braided because their necks remain soft after harvesting. They usually have two layers of smaller cloves and a layer of larger cloves around them, and have a strong flavor.
The most common soft-necked varieties are silver peel and artichoke garlic. The silver skin has a stronger flavor and can be stored for about a year, while the artichoke can be stored for about 8 months and contains a little less punch.
Varieties with a stiff neck
These are perfect for those cold northern winters, and their deeper roots allow the plant to survive the freezing and thawing of the soil much better. Unlike soft necks, they have only one layer of rather large cloves growing in a ring around the stem.
Although they are easier to grow, unfortunately, their shelf life is shorter. But hey, there’s less peeling involved and they have scapes. They are called hardneck because they have a stiff stem that extends an inch or two from the top of the bulb. The most popular varieties are Rocambole, purple stripe and porcelain.
Since the soft neck is traditionally planted in warmer climates, you can expect the main harvest already in after spring. It is clear that they do not have the second harvest, because they very rarely have fields.
How to harvest garlic
Harvesting garlic is quite simple, but you need to be a little careful. While it may be tempting to try to remove the bulbs near the stems, you will likely end up with a broken stem, as they are quite sensitive. This is a problem because you want to cure garlic with its leaves, because this way it stores better.
The best way is to use a spade fork to loosen the soil around your plants, but be careful not to dig too close to the heads. When you are sure that you can dig them up, gently lift the bulbs with a shovel or similar tool and gently brush the soil. If the soil has a slightly clayey and sticky quality, do not try to clean it by hand, just leave it for the time being.
How to store garlic
Garlic can last a long time, but it must be properly hardened and stored.
In general, hardening means letting your garlic dry slowly so that all the nutrients and flavor are preserved. As I said, you need to store your garlic in a dry, shaded place with good air circulation.
The best way, in my opinion, is to hang them upside down in clusters of 4-6, but other gardeners also group them in clusters of 10-12 bulbs. Smaller clusters mean that the garlic breathes more, making the hardening a little faster.
Before storing your garlic, be sure to cut the roots and leaves to 1/4 or 1/2 inch. When everything has dried, most of the remaining dirt will come off, and a few layers of packaging will also separate. Be careful not to remove too many layers of packaging, as they will protect the cloves. It’s better not to worry too much about it, just remove the dirtiest packaging. Do not wash the bulbs.
Storing garlic is quite simple. Store them in a cool, dry place. Commercially stored garlic is stored at 32 ° F, but the ideal temperature range for home storage is between 40 and 60°F, according to potato and garlic experts. In other words, you can just throw them in your kitchen cupboard or a storage shelf.