How to Harvest and Cure Garlic

, written by us flag

Garlic curing on a rack

I covered the basics of growing garlic back in ‘09, but there is more to discuss, particularly the details of harvesting, curing and storing garlic. Last weekend, when a group of experienced organic gardeners visited my garden, one lady confessed that she had been throwing her garlic scapes in her compost . Another said her bulbs went mouldy, but then she had never before heard of curing garlic. My intention here is to clarify how to handle garden garlic that’s reached the home stretch. Get it right, and your home grown garlic will store for six months or more.

Harvesting Garlic Scapes

In early summer, cold-hardy hard-necked varieties of garlic produce curled garlic scapes, which are immature flower buds on succulent stems. (The soft-necked "artichoke" varieties grown in many mild winter climates don’t produce scapes.) When gathered just as they make a full curl, but before they push up vertically, garlic scapes are a delicious big-flavour vegetable that will keep in the refrigerator more than a week. Removing the scape also can increase bulb size by as much as 30%, because the plants don’t waste energy developing flowers.

Curled garlic scapes
Curled garlic scapes

In cooking, garlic scapes are much less assertive than garlic cloves, so they are ideal for dishes where you want only a hint of garlic flavour and aroma. I especially like them in egg dishes or as a last-minute addition to sweet potatoes, carrots, squash or other non-green vegetables. Or try this: sauté chopped garlic scapes in a little butter and stir into hot mashed potatoes.

Rather than rush to eat all of my garlic scapes fresh, I cut them into small pieces and steam-blanch them for 3 minutes, and freeze them in freezer bags. In cooking, one tablespoon of chopped frozen garlic scapes is equivalent to a medium clove. Garlic scapes are nutritious, too, and deliver respectable amounts of vitamin C and calcium.

Garlic scapes cut and ready for cooking or freezing
Garlic scapes cut and ready for cooking or freezing

When Is Garlic Ready to Dig?

After the last scape is cut, I give my garlic a deep watering if the weather is dry. This is the last supplemental water my garlic will get, because the plants are finished producing new leaves, and ready to start drying down. Some gardeners find it difficult to decide exactly when to dig garlic, but these three guidelines will keep your garlic harvesting on time:

  • Counting from the date in which most of the scapes are cut, the bulbs will be ready to dig about 20 days later, give or take a few days for weather variables.
  • Most fully grown garlic plants have 7 to 9 leaves. When the three lowest leaves turn yellow and tan, but the three highest leaves are still green, it’s garlic harvesting time.
  • When 30 percent of the total foliar mass – lower, middle and upper leaves – appear to be withering or show brown tips, which indicates that the plants have cut back on the nutrients and moisture supplied to the leaves.
Mature garlic
Mature garlic

I have read farm bulletins suggesting that garlic be allowed to dry down naturally in the field, but in my experience this will get you a ruined crop. By harvesting garlic when it’s still half green and allowing three weeks for garlic curing, the bulbs will dry nice and tight, with plenty of papery outer scales.

Garlic Curing in Three Steps

Use a digging fork to loosen the soil around and beneath bulbs before pulling them, and take care to avoid bumps and bruises. Garlic curing begins when you lay out the plants in a warm, dry place, with all of their leaves attached, for about a week. During this time the plants will be quite aromatic, which some family members may find unpleasant, an opinion shared by mosquitoes.

After a week, using secateurs to cut off all but about 5 inches (12 cm) of stem, lightly rub off excess soil and clip off long roots, and return the curing garlic to its drying place. As seen in the photo at the top of the page, bulbs harvested early have been trimmed and set to dry stem-down on the top shelf, with newly harvested plants behind them.

I let my garlic cure for another week or so outdoors, and then trim off the remaining stem and dried roots. The bulbs then go to their third curing spot, the cool stones under the wood stove, where they rest for another week or so, or until I need the space for bulb onions. The garlic curing process is now complete, three weeks start to finish.

Commercial garlic is kept at 32°F (0°C) to preserve its shelf life, but cool room temperatures work better for most gardeners. In fact, room-temperature storage works better than refrigerated storage for garlic bulbs, which may break dormancy too soon when kept in the fridge.

By Barbara Pleasant

Plants Related to this Article

Bugs, Beneficial Insects and Plant Diseases

< All Guides

Garden Planning Apps

If you need help designing your vegetable garden, try our Vegetable Garden Planner.
Garden Planning Apps and Software

Vegetable Garden Pest Warnings

Want to Receive Alerts When Pests are Heading Your Way?

If you've seen any pests or beneficial insects in your garden in the past few days please report them to The Big Bug Hunt and help create a warning system to alert you when bugs are heading your way.

Show Comments


"very usful info"
paul on Friday 10 June 2011
"Thank you so much! Here I learn that I've been doing it wrong for years!!"
babs m on Friday 10 June 2011
"Really useful info as over the last three years, *if* I even manage to grow a decent bulb, I can't seem to keep it. Will use your method this year, thanks!"
Kimberley on Saturday 11 June 2011
"Such a timely article. My Garlic is thigh high, and I just this morning panicked, wondering how I know when its ready. The curing I hadn't yet so much as considered. "
Edmund on Saturday 11 June 2011
"Joey like garlic. But, Joey afraid."
Joey on Tuesday 14 June 2011
"Hello and thanks again for your ever-interesting articles. I checked back here this am to review what I learned from you last year about harvesting garlic as I noticed scapes yesterday. Can't wait to make use of their delicious flavor in some pasta sauce tonight. I didn't realize I could blanch and freeze them, so I will enjoy doing that this year to prolong my enjoyment of them. If you can find Dorie Greenspan's recipe for scape pesto, I highly recommend it and it also freezes well."
Geri on Friday 17 June 2011
"First year for softneck in this garden, thanks for the tips on when to harvest that. "
Sharon Franz on Friday 17 June 2011
"Very useful info - I too have been doing it all wrong!! I let the garlic flower last year, the flower formed little mini bulblets. I kept them and use them in salads. They can be frozen too. So don't despair if your scrape flowers! There is an escape from the scrape!! "
Caroline on Friday 17 June 2011
"Great article! We are havesting our German hardneck garlic right now and this is very helpful. Love cooking with the scapes. Yum."
Julie on Saturday 18 June 2011
"Do you need to blanch the scapes before freezing? I just chopped mine up, bagged, and popped it into the freezer. What advantage is there to blanching first?"
Kris on Saturday 18 June 2011
"Thanks for this fantastic article! I could find loads on what to do with scapes, but not much on when i could actually harvest my garlic after it produces them. You are a life saver, Many thanks!!!! "
Emma on Saturday 18 June 2011
"Kris, the blanching process "fixes" enzymes that cause deterioration, thus preserving nutritional value. Blanching also keeps frozen veggies from taking on the texture of cardboard. Your unblanched frozen scapes are certainly edible, but next year try blanching for a quality difference you will notice. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 18 June 2011
"Just reading the article again and a bit worried about where to store my garlic for curing, is a cellar alright or would it be best in a shed or garage? "
Emma on Saturday 18 June 2011
"Emma, use a warm, airy shed or garage to cure your garlic, and then store it in the cellar or in your kitchen. The important thing is to not move it to a cool situation until it has dried, or cured, for at least 3 weeks. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 19 June 2011
"Thanks Barbara for responding so quickly! Moved them into the shed so I think they will be alot happier now! had to take my garlic out due to some of them splitting from a wet spring. I have two types so have left the others that produced scapes in for a bit longer."
Emma on Sunday 19 June 2011
"So when people say "use a warm, airy shed or garage to cure your garlic"...I worry because we live in AZ. It is HOT. Can I still cure my garlic in the garage/shed?"
YB Ranch on Monday 20 June 2011
"Even with high temps, you’ll need to do the first phase of curing outdoors because the garlic is so smelly. After a week or two you can trim it back and finish the curing indoors, at normal room temperatures. Here is an interesting Texas-based web page that discusses the special promise and problems of growing and curing garlic in warm climates like yours. Good luck! "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 20 June 2011
"A comment I heard on another site was that garlic can sunburn, so the drying outdoors needs to be somewhere shaded."
Will on Wednesday 22 June 2011
"How do you save your garlic for planting the following year? Just cure it as described and keep it in the closet til fall?"
Dave on Wednesday 22 June 2011
"Dave, that's exactly what you do. Sometimes I will choose choice specimens of different varieties and put them in their own mesh storage bag. Other years, I pluck bulbs out of my collection. Because garlic is planted in October, the garlic bulbs are still in great shape. Most hardneck bulbs yield 5-6 plantable cloves, so do the math and set aside enough for replanting if your supply is short. For a year's supply of garden garlic, we plant 100 cloves. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 22 June 2011
"The bottom 3 leaves on most of my garlic is now yellow, however I've pulled a few up and the bulbs are rather small. We have a few hot dry days ahead, if I keep them in the ground for another week or 2 will they get bigger?"
Kimberly on Wednesday 20 July 2011
"Geez, no wonder mine never makes. I have been doing it wrong all along. Thanks so much "
Nancy on Wednesday 31 August 2011
"Wow, thanks so much for the information. I am pretty new to gardening and this is very helpful."
AB on Friday 29 June 2012
"How much of the garlic should i cut off. My tops have not curled, but they are fairly tall. This is my first year getting my garlic to grow.I can hardly wait to dig them.I want them to get tobe a nice size to them.Do the seed pods have any seeds in them, can i use the seed pods in with the scapes.I enjoyed your article about growing garlic. Thank-you."
Marlys Schave on Saturday 14 July 2012
"If you have tall tops, you will get good garlic bulbs. However, if you are seeing seed pods, the scapes have come and gone and made mature flowers. If not removed, the "seed pods" will produce little corms, the size of a corn kernel. If replanted they will produce one big clove. If that clove is replanted it will produce a bulb. It's a slow way to grow garlic! Do harvest your garlic when one third of the foliage looks withered. Too early is better than too late."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 16 July 2012
"Thanks for the guidance on harvesting and curing garlic. Unfortunately, we waited too long, and our cloves have broken the outer skin. I know we can't dry them the usual way, but we don't want to waste the whole kitchen garden crop. Any suggestions for preserving some or all of it? Many thanks!"
Alex Fisher on Wednesday 25 July 2012
"Alex, you can include sliced garlic with veggies you're putting in the freezer as well as in pickles. The next option is to dry the peeled, trimmed cloves whole until they are leathery and then store them in the freezer. Every few weeks, take out a few, dry them to crisp in a slow oven, then pulverize into "fresh" garlic powder. You will need a dedicated coffee grinder used only for garlic and accompanying herbs. Garlic powder is best ground in small batches, but it can be wonderful stuff! "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 25 July 2012
"Thank you!"
Alex Fisher on Thursday 26 July 2012
"Just dug our 110 bulbs here in Maine!! We spread them out on the bed of a trailer to cure. Is it okay for them to be in the sun?? We pull the trailer into the barn at night or if it looks like rain. To preserve much of it, we peel the cloves and slow roast at 200 degrees in a light coating of virgin oil olive in a large baking pan until fork tender. Cool, then store in pint canning jars in the freezer. Worth the effort in our opinion because we have lost our stores to mold in the winter. "
William and Mary on Saturday 4 August 2012
"If you have lost garlic in the past to mold, it's not getting completely cured or your storage space is too damp. If your weather is cool and cloudy then sun drying may be the best thing, at least at first. I would look for some dry shade for the second week of curing, like maybe keeping the trailer in the barn 24/7."
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 5 August 2012
"Hi Barbara, I have been growing and braiding my garlic for 7 years and still there are things to be learned. I have never had my garlic split at the neck before, is this due to too much water before it was harvested. We had a huge rain 1 week before I actually harvested. Also last year I had a lot of my garlic get some seeds that grew about 1/3 the way up the neck so I couldn't braid these."
T.Glick on Tuesday 11 September 2012
"I think the rain explanation is a good one. Like other members of the onion family, garlic always seems to be coming up with new tricks. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 11 September 2012
"I have a type of hardneck that does not curl at the top... at least it didn't do it for me. So, when do I know when to pick, I seem to have missed it this year, I got to it a little late, but it's still delicious. Also, if I still want to enjoy those tender greens on top, how/when do I pick if they're all straight? "
A.B.I. on Monday 17 September 2012
"Bonjour Barbara, You mention leaving the garlic in too long- I usually wait until the stems/growth/ leaves have “ gone over” The same as onions. However reading your articles seems to indicate a better and I have to say, more measured approach. I will certainly adopt this next year Another questions If I lift the garlic as indicted can I leave it on the land , again as I do with onions? hat happens if we have a down pour ? (Hot as it is here in foot hills of the Pyrenees we are more than likely to have rain at some time each month) With the onions I leave than as long as I dare and rush to bring them into the dry, before the rain. I suppose my question is Would Garlic and onions recover from being wet in the rain once they are out of the ground? Peta from France "
peta from France on Sunday 7 October 2012
"There may be some confusion due to different garlic types. Soft-neck garlics fall over when they are ready (with leaves still green) whereas you must harvest hardnecks while they are still standing, long before they die down, if they are to store well. The best thing to do now is to replant the largest cloves, often found on the outside of the bulb, in a prepared bed at proper spacing. They will develop roots over winter and grow into strong plants next spring. Good luck!"
Barbara Pleasant on Sunday 7 October 2012
"This is such an informative article, I check it every year to harvest my garlic and to see if anything has changed in your process. Thank you so much for making it so clear and concise!"
Raine on Monday 27 May 2013
"I blend my peeled garlic with olive oil and then bottle them in sterilised jars. Seem to keep for ages and I just use it as I need it. Trying Elephant garlic this year.So far, so good, the stalks are as big as leeks."
Caroline on Monday 27 May 2013
"End of May - SW france; I have re read all the article and comments and can not see any reference to the question I have; this year ( i.e when I weeded today) I noticed some of our garlic seems to have a really thick "Necks" this year . it is growing well and of course it is no[t ready to harvest yet , but I have never seen the necks so thick, Is it OkK - and will the bulbs be the same as normal- and store well'? "
peta in france on Monday 27 May 2013
"If the garlics are hardnecks, they often become thick of neck just before they develop scapes, which should be coming on soon. Stocky growth is probably a reflection of spring weather more than anything else. Think positive."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 28 May 2013
"This spring my garlic came really well -- nice and green. First week in June it turned all yellow -- I wasn't sure if this was because of spray damage or lack of water. Then we had 3.5 inches of rain and the garlic is growing again. How big should the garlic be by the end of June? Any ideas? Please help"
Clayton on Wednesday 19 June 2013
"Clayton, if your garlic is of the softneck type, you will need to dig sample bulbs starting in a couple of weeks, or when they start feeling wobbly (the necks thin and fall over). With hardnecks you can count 20 days from full curl of the scape. My hardnecks scaped last week, so I know they will be ready to dig the 2nd week in July, a little late compared to previous seasons. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 19 June 2013
"Very informative articles and Q and A. Is it 20 days from when you cut the scapes or 20 days when the scapes start to curl? I just cut mine this past weekend and most of them were about a foot long and curly. Would it better to pull them now or wait the 20 days? Thanks in advance. Kevin"
Kevin on Tuesday 25 June 2013
"Kevin, we are so close to the finish line. Now you watch the weather and the plants closely, because the plants are starting to close up shop. It hasn't been 20 days, but some of my hardnecks are deteriorating daily. If the weather stays dry they can stay in the garden another week or two, but persistent rain might make me want to pull a few early, particularly plants that have begun to lean over. It sounds like you cut your scapes late, so I would start looking for a good harvest window soon. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 25 June 2013
"Barbara, thanks for the help."
Kevin on Tuesday 25 June 2013
"Oops- I didn't know to cut my scapes. So now that my bottom leaves are yellow, do I go ahead and harvest? Or do I cut the scapes now and count 20 days while praying? I was going to pull one today to see, but it rained all morning. So now I don't know what to do. "
Stephani on Friday 5 July 2013
"Stephani, don't worry. Cutting off the scapes only impacts productivity noticeably when plants are stressed. Go ahead and pull a sample plant and see if the outside of the bulb is bumpy with cloves. All of my garlic was ready to harvest last week, so yours may be, too."
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 8 July 2013
"wow I never knew , this was a big help for my next years garlic, "
LeeAnn on Thursday 18 July 2013
"This is great info! I'm always trying to figure out how to use up the scapes. Blaching and freezing - why didn't I think of that???? Thank you!"
Susan on Thursday 18 July 2013
"This is a great site! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us "newbies". I didn't grow my own garlic (hangs head in shame)but a friend gave me a ton of scapes that have started to flower. Meaning, the flower pod is bursting open with little kernels of ....garlic? What can I do with these? Surely don't want to waste any part of the scapes if I can help it. I also wanted to share that I put lots of them, with freshly trimmed ends in vases with water all over my kitchen and they are so fun to watch, they uncurl and go all crazy!! Look like swans!"
Lisa Weese on Wednesday 31 July 2013
"The flower end of a scape is quite tough, and it is typcially composted -- glad you found a way to enjoy them. It is the curled part of the scape that is tender and good to eat. To keep them in good condition, you would need to trim off the flowers and store the scapes in the fridge. Enjoying the flowers is an equally good idea, but once they lose their looks you should compost them."
Barbara Pleasant on Friday 2 August 2013
"My first year planting hardneck garlic. Raised beds with regular drip irrigation. After digging and drying (in my crude fashion), the cloves on some are translucent rather than solid white. Aroma on those does not seem as pungent as it should be. I'm wondering if I should have cut back the water at some point. "
Diane in No. Calif. on Monday 5 August 2013
"Diane, curing may help some heads get rid of excess water; infection by some pathogens also causes cloves to become yellow and soft. The ideal water situation is to have decreasing soil moisture in the 10 days or so prior to harvest, but this is not always within our control. Freshly harvested garlic is always juicier than cured garlic, so I hope that is what you are seeing. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 5 August 2013
"I cure my garlic, onions, and tulip bulbs on old refrigerator wire racks on my screen porch which faces west. Window screen works, too, but this is all shaded all day and gets quite hot but is well ventilated. I do not cut back my stems or roots until they are completely dry either. I do not think it is wise to try to cure any of these in sunlight, either. Sunburned bulbs do not keep. The scapes of some of this coming years crop will be left to produce bulbils, because I am planning to experiment with growing rounds for cooking use. The bulbs are said to be somewhat smaller, but are also said to keep better than when the scapes are removed. My main types are porcelains anyway, which tend to have larger cloves to begin with. Timing will be a tough call though or the outer layers of the mantle will disintegrate in the ground and the cloves will then fall apart and not keep very well. I also plan to harvest some earlier than normal, which seemed to work last summer, producing 2" Music and a grocery store creole after only about 60 days and that from a late May planting (dug the end of July). The curing time was extended but still cloved out to nice hard bulbs, with well separated and sheathed cloves (which have been replanted this fall). No question they had been stored refrigerated though which almost certainly gave them a real nice headstart. BTW I work for a grocery distributor and think it should be noted that not every thing refrigerated between shipments is stored at 32 degrees. In fact almost nothing is stored that cold or it will occasionally freeze and be ruined. There is actually what we call a warm room that is kept at 55 degrees for some things like melons, potatoes and onion family. One reason most grocery store garlic often produces poor results is that it has not been held cold enough long enough. It makes sense to me to give a refrigerator treatment of what is called 40/40 (40 days at 40 degrees) before spring planting. This stuff is fun. "
hawkeye on Wednesday 27 November 2013
"I refer to this page every year to see what's new in garlic growing, and it is so informational! I haven't seen this question yet so I hope I am not duplicating. Do you ever wash your garlic after digging them up? One year I washed them off and it didn't seem to hurt them. What do you recommend?"
L. Rhines on Wednesday 2 July 2014
"Good question! If you harvest garlic in dry weather, the outer scales with dirt on them will come off naturally after about a week. But when you must pull garlic from wet soil, it can help it to dry faster if you quickly swish the bulbs in a bucket of water to remove excess soil. "
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 2 July 2014
"Chopping the scapes up into little cubes and scattering them around slug prone plants seems to be an effective slug deterrent. Next year I'm going to scatter some around a couple of my squash plants to see if they also make an effective porcupine and rabbit deterent."
John in West Jeddore on Monday 15 September 2014
"Hello... I have a question plz if u can help. I have planted garlic from cloves in container. They started well but after sometime the shoots or green leaves they started turning, they are not straight. There is some prb but can't understand. Plz help me in this regard. Thx"
babra on Friday 13 February 2015
"Hmm, depends on whether or not the pot of garlic is in a cool/cold place (good) or indoors where it's warm (not so good). Garlic needs a long cool period to grow roots, and then abundant light. When growing garlic in containers, you need to follow the same winter-to-spring temperature regimen plants would be exposed to in the garden. "
Barbara Pleasant on Saturday 14 February 2015
"If inside and on a window sill, the light will be coming from the side and all plants tend to bend toward it. You counter that by turning the containers a quarter turn a week or so. If the container is the wrong shape for that turning the container 180 degrees every week is a second best approach."
hawkeye on Monday 16 February 2015
"I pay a visit every day a few web sites and websites to read articles, but this website offers quality based articles."
Baumgartner on Monday 16 March 2015
"I have a question about harvesting. I live in Broomfield,CO and it's been raining here just about every afternoon. Yesterday it poured and today was worse! I've know that I could harvest my garlic for a while, but have been waiting for it to dry up a bit. As a last resort my husband and I covered the garlic with a gigantic tarp just now. The garlic will get zero sunlight until harvest is that the right thing to do? I have 1 row of softneck and several rows of hardneck. Hopeful I can harvest this weekend. The bottom leaves are brown I still have some green on the tops, but I feel like it's fading fast and I have read that letting it turn all brown is really bad. My scapes were wonderful and I don't want to ruin the bulbs. Any advice you can give would be truly appreciated!"
sheila on Thursday 16 July 2015
"If the bottom leaves are brown, the softnecks are certainly ready and probably the hardnecks, too. It is better to harvest early than late. Many people in the US are saying their garlic was 1-2 weeks early this year."
Barbara Pleasant on Thursday 16 July 2015
"Some certainly were early here in Minneapolis. Onions, too. The final three types of garlic will come out today, leaving only the one small patch I am growing for bulbils. Potato onions are also down and they will be coming out today too. By tonight or tomorrow night I should have some pretty full curing racks. I will also be harvesting the bulbils off the tree onions today or tomorrow. Some of those are huge this year, as opposed to the garlics which seem a bit small, although not much. The one softneck I grew has already cured, and the Japanese garlic has been out for some time, too, as has the VietNamese Red. What garlics I have left in the ground are Siberian and Music plus the one feral I collected that had been hiding in my sister's flower beds for 20+ years. "
hawkeye on Thursday 16 July 2015
"I'm a first time garlic grower and I'm wondering is it a good thing if the tops have flowers or should I pull them?"
Marlena on Monday 20 July 2015
"Cut em off before they uncurl and you will get bigger bulbs."
hawkeye on Monday 20 July 2015
"My husband recently harvested some of our garlic. He laid the stems out to dry and later hauled them off. Since then, he has had a very itchy rash on the area of his arms where he laid the stalks to haul them away. Are the dry stalks poisonous? He has been using Calamine lotion on them, but is still having some trouble over a week later."
Jenell on Tuesday 4 August 2015
"See your doctor. Not everyone gets along well with the allium family. "
hawkeye on Tuesday 4 August 2015
"Jenell, garlic contact dermatitis is rare but it sounds like your husband has it. It can take a while to resolve. From what I can tell, cortisone creams are what people use for relief. Hope he feels better soon."
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 4 August 2015
"Thank you for your comments. It gives us some ideas of where to do to next. Thanks so much."
Jenell on Tuesday 4 August 2015
"Very informative. I've been growing hard neck garlic for 5 years now with great success. However, this year about half of my 250 heads were soft and mushy?I'm thinking too much water? I've taken all those heads apart separating the transluscent cloves from the white hard cloves and wondering what to do with them? Which of these cloves should I dehydrate? I hate throwing anything out. "
lorraine on Friday 11 September 2015
"Lorraine, you also can pickle garlic cloves from bulbs that have a mixture of good and bad cloves. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 15 September 2015
"I planted my garlic late in October and we have had a warm spell in November. It has sprouted! Is it ruined?"
Mary on Saturday 14 November 2015
"Mary- I do not believe your garlic is ruined. I say put down a thick layer of leaves for protection and you'll be fine."
Sheila on Saturday 14 November 2015
"All my 10 varieties have sprouted here in Minneapolis. I may or may not mulch them but I expect them to winter pretty well. One variety has been feral in this climate for close to 30 years; another is from Siberia. Most importantly is how well drained your bed is going into winter. If it lays in puddles of snow and ice melt during warm spells and into the spring you will have rot problems, but if you have the beds set up so melt water runs off the garlics can take a big cold sprouted or not."
hawkeye on Saturday 14 November 2015
"I planted Korean Reds maybe 8 years ago and have pretty much left them to grow in large bunches like chives. I harvested many scapes last year and this year have used fresh garlic through this week. It is late June and no scapes. My late summer harvest produces small bulbs. This is the best site I have seen on growing garlic. "
SS on Monday 27 June 2016
"Love this forum. I planted Korean Red more than 8 years ago and now have large clumps growing like chives. I harvested small cloves in late summer. Last year I harvested scapes, but I thought it was the flowers that were used. This year I tried fresh garlic until this week. No scapes yet."
SS on Monday 27 June 2016
"When garlic becomes established in a site, its reproductive behavior can change in response to growing conditions. Now that is has successfully perennialized as a clump, your garlic may not be as interested in scaping (seed reproduction) as it used to be. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 28 June 2016
"I started harvesting scapes after I wrote my post. They were ready. I used them in my dinner last night. Yum! So treating garlic as a clump is an option. I have rich soil in Illinois near Chicago with about 3" of mulch. It seems to lack iron. Should I be fertilizing or doing anything else. I have treated the clumps with benign neglect so far. I didn't realize I had a variety that produced miniature bulbs. I thought they were small because of the clumps. If I understand this correctly, garlic is a full year crop, including fresh garlic through spring, scapes in early summer for a few weeks, and then the harvest 20 days after the first scapes."
SS on Tuesday 28 June 2016
"The bulbs are small because of the clumps, even if the variety does not have the potential to produce huge bulbs. The bulbs will also be smaller yet if the scapes are allowed to mature bulbils (assuming we are talking about hard necks). Those bulbils will travel around like those of walking or Egyptian onions, while the bulbs on the parent plant will split into seperate cloves themselves. Conversely the larger the cloves one plants the larger the potential bulb that will result, and with proper spacing of 6 to 8 inches in a well prepared, well fertilized and well watered bed with good drainage, you will get the largest bulbs possible out of what you plant. If you start out with small cloves on tiny bulbs, you will normally see an improvement in size over some years, provided you only plant back the biggest cloves from each harvest and take proper care of them. Hardneck garlic is a hardy and persistant plant even if not carefully grown. I collected a feral from back home in NW Iowa (zone 4) that had been growing without any assistance as a feral for nearly 30 years. By careful selection of the largest cloves I now have bulbs easily three times the size of what I originally collected. that has taken me some four years, however. "
hawkeye on Tuesday 28 June 2016
"Thanks for your comments. I'm learning."
SS on Tuesday 28 June 2016
"Hi, I am in Ontario Canada, have been growing hard neck garlic for home use for a number of years. I harvested my porcelain music garlic in August, did all the usual trimming, drying them on a screen frame in my porch. I think I may have left them too long in the porch, some of them got black dots on the outer skin! Is that mold? Can I just peel off the outer layer and bring them inside or do I need to treat them with vinegar solution to kill the spores?"
Jenny on Tuesday 20 September 2016
"Jenny, the black dots are from being exposed to humidity or dampness during curing. As long as you keep the bulbs dry, they should be fine. I would not attempt to clean them up. Just keep the spotty bulbs in a dry place and use them first."
Barbara Pleasant on Wednesday 5 October 2016
"Very helpful indeed. This is the first year I have grown garlic and am very impressed with the size of the heads. I needed to know whether to dry them as onions, leaving the stems on, or whether to cut the stems, and this page has clarified exactly what I should be doing. Thanks ever so much."
Angela on Wednesday 20 June 2018
"What happens if you trim the roots immediately after harvesting? Even when we give it a good drying period, our garlic bulbs always have a lot of soil clinging to them, so in order to rinse well we trimmed the roots this year. Stalks are still intact, and all are laid out to dry outside in the shade. They “look” fine, but did we screw up? "
Diane on Monday 23 July 2018
"Diane, the garlic will probably be fine, but rinsing is not a good idea unless nonstop rain forces you to harvest in mud . Next year, try to harvest in dry weather, and then wait a week to clean off the excess soil and trim the roots. As the garlic dries it shrinks a little, so the dirty outer wrapper layers lift off much more easily the longer the garlic cures. "
Barbara Pleasant on Tuesday 24 July 2018
"About curing, your article says pulled and put in a warm dry place for a week. Can they be in the sun during the day and brought in at night to avoid the dampness, or should they be out of direct sunlight and would they be ok in a bright or shaded room?"
Jody on Saturday 28 July 2018
"Cure in the shade! Fresh garlic can sunburn, unlike onions."
Hawkeye on Sunday 29 July 2018
"Jody, it is best to avoid full sun, but for the first few days you need good air circulation. The freshly pulled plants are quite aromatic, so indoor drying should be postponed until later in the curing process. A patio table with a shade umbrella can work well as a curing spot. "
Barbara Pleasant on Monday 30 July 2018
"I have good results on old refrigerator wire trays set up on my west facing screen porch. Same setup for my tulips earlier and my onions a bit later. "
Hawkeye on Monday 30 July 2018
"ive just read your article but unfortunately its too late for me this year. I let my October sown three varieties die back and have just gone to lift them while weeding the bed. they are tiny probably a third of the expected size. I grew potatoes in this bed last year. I must also remember to dig them up before they die back too far as its been difficult to find them. i'm a no dig gardener but have had to dig the bed over for find the tiny bulbs. i'm made some notes for next year."
melanie wade on Wednesday 26 June 2019
"Help!!! I just pulled my garlic and set it out to dry outside. There was no rain in the forecast, but there was an unexpected downpour and it got wet. Is it possible to save it? What should I do?"
Erika on Monday 29 July 2019
"As opposed to onions harvested garlic can sunburn quite easily, best to cure it under cover out of the sunlight in a well ventilated area, such as a screen porch which is what I use. I lay mine out on old refrigerator wire shelves; so air can get under and around them. Others successfully hang their garlic in small bunches. My last garlic came out here in Minneapolis this afternoon. That was Music which is always my best, and I waited a bit too long for some of the bulbs that had started to separate. "
Dale on Tuesday 30 July 2019
"Erica, simply bring the garlic into a well ventilated area out of the sun and protected from the rain. Either bunch it to hang small bunches or lay out on raised window screen or raised wire refrigerator shelves to dry out and cure. Spread it out and elevated it to get air circulation and you will probably be fine. "
Dale on Tuesday 30 July 2019
"Very informative "
joseph Katebe on Tuesday 28 July 2020
"so much to learn and know about garlic! I had planted some soft neck last October and have just pulled them all up today 12/07.They were still standing, should I have waited until they keel over? The plants have all been affected by what I think is garlic rust. The outer leaves had all turned yellow with rust spots and had started to dry. How do I now cure and store them without running the risk of the infection to get passed on?"
gita konschak on Wednesday 12 July 2023

Add a Comment

Add your own thoughts on the subject of this article:
(If you have difficulty using this form, please use our Contact Form to send us your comment, along with the title of this article.)

(We won't display this on the website or use it for marketing)


(Please enter the code above to help prevent spam on this article)

By clicking 'Add Comment' you agree to our Terms and Conditions