We harvested our garlic today! A pretty decent haul; by far the most I’ve ever grown. How do you know when garlic is ready to harvest? My rule of thumb is when approximately 1/4-1/3 of the leaves are brown, but other people have other rules. This morning I heard “three dead leaves down four green leaves up” — that probably applied to a fair number of mine. I wasn’t going to go through each one counting leaves though; I needed to get this done today.
To harvest hard-neck garlic (the only kind hardy to Minnesota’s USDA zone 4), you’ll want to loosen the ground around the plant with a fork, then gently dig out the bulb. We have had so much rain lately that our soil is completely saturated, so I basically just had to slightly loosen, then pull the plants right out. Another reason to harvest today: considering how wet it is, I don’t want to risk the bulbs rotting underground.
So I let them dry in the sun for an hour or two, then moved them into shallow cardboard boxes, laid out mostly in a single layer, in the garage. They will cure in there for a week or two depending on the weather. At that point we can then clean them up a little better and trim off most of the leaves and roots. Hope we get an OK cure in this hot, humid weather. Seriously, it feels like a jungle out there.
Feeling inspired to grow garlic? Fall’s the time to plant it, so you have plenty of time to scope out a spot. This is one of the easiest edibles to grow.