|Ready for Harvest|
Some varieties like softneck silverskins are weak-necked so can fall over prior to harvest and they will look pretty brown, that's okay. The message is to know your garlic and how each variety grows. Often this information is written in the catalog description or plant tag if purchased from the garden center.
|Remove scapes two weeks prior to harvest|
Use a garden trowel or fork to lift the bulb carefully from the ground. Check out my Denver Post TV garlic video to see harvest in action.
After harvest, get the plants out of the sun and into a basement or area where there's good air circulation. No need to wash or scrub them clean, use your hand to brush off any dirt (lightly). Let the whole plant dry on newspaper or hang in bundles of 6 to 10. This will cure the bulbs and form the papery outer shell, just like onions. In about 4-6 weeks cut off the brown dry leaves close to the top of the bulb. Cut the roots off too. Now it's okay to fully clean them with a soft brush (no water). Store them in mesh bags in an area with humidity around 50%, a wine cellar is ideal if you have one. Softneck types can store well up to nine or more months if well cured. Hardnecks usually last three to five months, so use them first. Bulbs that become soft or mushy are past their prime.
If you're wondering if can use fresh garlic right away in recipes or raw, heck yea! Just use the whole bulb within a few days (store in a glass bowl, never refrigerate garlic). Freshly harvested garlic is pretty mild tasting, it develops more kick and heat as it cures and ages.
|Drying in Bundles|
|Drying on Newspapers|
|Store in Mesh Bags|