I harvested my garlic this week. Below is the most recent “before”picture I could find. The garlic is in between the dying peas on the trellis to the right and the smashed down onions on the left. The bottom 3-4 leaves on the stems were dead, and they were looking sort of brownish and sad, so I knew it was time to harvest.
I used a pitchfork to carefully loosen the earth. I think I only broke 2 heads.
This is the pile of hardneck garlic:
This is the softneck pile:
I like to plant about 40% softneck and 60% hardneck.
What’s the difference between hardneck and softneck?
The hardneck garlic has:
- hard stems (can’t braid them)
- produces scapes (yummy!)
- produces larger heads with larger cloves, usually 5-6 per head (quicker and easier to peel and use)
- doesn’t store as long (we use it up first)
Softneck garlic has
- soft stems (good for braiding)
- doesn’t produce scapes
- has smaller heads than hardneck, but more cloves per head (usually 8 or more)
- stores really well (It will usually last until I get scapes the following June)
The softneck is on the left, hardneck on the right. I tied them together in bunches and then moved them into the garage, out of sunlight, but with plenty of room for air circulation, to dry for a week or two. Then I will trim stems, wipe off the dirt, and cut off the roots. They will go into storage, in whatever the darkest, driest, and coolest spot I can find for them in my house. The garage works well once the weather cools, but until then I’m not sure where I’ll put them. Probably in the basement, even though its a little damp down there. A month or two probably won’t cause them too much trouble.
I am going to pull out a few of my largest heads this year to save for fall planting. Previously I bought new garlic each year, but I talked to a garlic grower at the gardener’s market today and I feel pretty confident about saving heads to use for planting.
Did you notice I used my pantyhose ties to tie up the garlic? Those little guys are so handy for the garden.
Have you harvested your garlic yet?