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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Harvest Garlic When the tops Dieback About 1/3 Where it is a Hot Climate

Q. I planted garlic back in the fall. It is close to harvest now, fully grown and some tops starting to brown. I pulled one the other day to check them. It seems fine and full of cloves with the papery outer skin, but the stalk above is very thick and dense. I'm wondering do I hang them to dry, and if so, for how long.

 A. You harvest garlic when the tops dry down about halfway. No further than this or the paper on the outside of the bulb will disintegrate exposing the cloves.
This is the way garlic should look when harvested and dried properly. The papery sheath on the outside is dry and completely encloses the cloves. The tops were cut back to about an inch of the top of the bulb after drying.
            You dry them the same way as onions basically. Put them in the shade in open air. Do not wash them first.
Chesnok Red garlic hanging outside in the shade after harvest. We chose to harvest and sell garlic this way because it is "different" from buying from the store. Let the buyer take it home and trim it. Its a new experience for some and they like that experience. If they don't or complain about it, cut it there and weigh it if by the pound.
            There are two types of garlic; hardneck and softneck. The softneck you can braid together. The hardneck you cannot. Sounds like you have hardneck.
The tops of these Polish White garlics are just starting to brown. Wait until the tops brown down to about 1/3 of its length. No more.
            When tops die back, after a week or two, cut the tops back further for storage or future use. I like them the most when they are still fresh from the garden. I think that is when they have the best flavor in my opinion.

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