Don't you love harvesting the rewards of your labor?! We harvested the garlic we planted last fall, almost a full year ago! We grow most of our veggies in our short growing season spring to fall but garlic stays in the ground over the winter so we decided to grow a communal garlic plot.
One of our young members, Kai, showing off a monster bulb we harvested!
Marye Jackson, who taught us how to plant garlic last year, was back to lead the harvest.
To Harvest & Cure Garlic:
- Stop watering 2 weeks before the harvest, plants' leaves will partially turn brown.
- Use a garden fork, sink prongs in ground a few inches from garlic then pull handle down to lift the soil and garlic plant.
- Pull garlic plant from soil and clean off any big clods of soil (doesn't have to be too clean and LEAVE ON leaves)
Note: If you want to braid your softnecks, now is the time to do so. Or after they have cured you can wet the leaves and braid them then.
- You can either eat your garlic fresh from the ground or you can cure it for storage.
- Hang or lay plants in a cool, dark, dry, airy space for 3-6 weeks to cure (curing is the process of drying your garlic in preparation for storage).
- Once roots are bristly and leaves are fully brown you can clean your garlic by cutting off the leaves about a 1/2 inch above the bulb and peeling away dirt cover papery layers (But not so many you expose the cloves!)
- Set aside the biggest bulbs to use as seed garlic to plant for next year. Since the cloves are clones of the plant, by selecting the biggest, best ones you will be selecting them to grow more of the same. We got our seed garlic from Homegrown Farm last year, they have have been saving their own seed for 7 years now! Check out more info on saving seeds!
- Store bulbs in a breathable container (ex. mesh bag) in a cool dark place)
- Enjoy all winter! If cured properly your garlic will last several months.
We had a ton of fun harvesting our garlic. We got 25 pounds this year! Next year we plan to have even more to share with all our members!
|Marye Jackson, gardening extraordinaire and garlic fanatic, Marye helped start the Shared Harvest Community Garden and is currently a member at OKCG.|