Garlic — when to harvest?

I am dithering about pulling my garlic.  We’ll be heading out soon for a camping trip to our favorite park, Cobscook Bay State Park.  I can’t decide whether I should harvest the garlic before I leave.  Opinions, anyone?

I dug 2 plants last night, ones near the edge so as not to disturb the others.  Shown are two varieties, a German Extra Hardy (I think) on the left, and a Chesnok Red? on the right.  Labeling remains a challenge for me, sigh.

So, pull them now, or leave them for 2 weeks?  Last years garlic I left too late, I think.  Come on, people, show me how opinionated you can be.

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13 Responses to “Garlic — when to harvest?”

  1. Fred Says:

    I got really impatient and pulled it this weekend. It’s drying out now!

  2. Villager Says:

    Tough call. Looks like it’s not quite ready, but how will it look 2 weeks from now? You could gamble and dig half now, half later.

  3. Sara Says:

    I guess I’d look at the leaves more than the bulbs, are they browning up? Mine had a slightly smaller heads this year too but going by the leaves I didn’t want to leave them in much longer.

    I don’t think it will hurt to pull them a little early if you’re worried about it. Then they can cure while you’re gone. Or you could always do half before/half after, to experiment!

  4. Teresa Noelle Roberts Says:

    I’ve always heard to wait until the leaves are brown, so yours could probably go a bit longer. This is only my second year growing garlic, though, so I’m no expert.

  5. achornfarmm Says:

    I am pulling mine REAL soon. Pulled a half dozen tonight….nothing like fresh garlic!

  6. meemsnyc Says:

    I pulled all of mine this week because all the leaves were getting brown. Some didn’t bulk up as large as we hoped. It’s a tough call.

  7. Jennifer Fisk Says:

    First opinion- Cobscook Bay State Park is the best!
    Second opinion- I would leave your garlic until you get back. I always wait on mine until the last week of July. I don’t think you have enough brown leaves to indicate time to dig. What happened last year to make you think it was left too long? I tried to get into the archives to see what happened but couldn’t.

    • Ali Says:

      I agree with opinion #1 wholeheartedly. Just don’t tell the tourists, they can have Acadia.

      Last year the garlic looked great, but after curing, some of the heads appeared looser than I would have liked, and it didn’t keep as well as I’d hoped. Of course, that could also be because I don’t have a good place to store it, hard to say.

      • Jennifer Fisk Says:

        I am on MDI and I’ll never tell the tourists here about Cobscook. Well, maybe the diehard camping respectful of nature types.
        After I dig mine I tie it into bunches which I hang from a defunct TV antenna stapled to the rafters over my garage. I’ve done this for two years and the garlic has kept beautifully both years. Prior to that I tried laying it on screens first in the garage, too cool and sometimes damp, and in a bedroom with a fan running. The latter worked ok but nowhere near as good as the attic.

  8. Daphne Says:

    I pulled mine today. I waited a bit too long, but not disastrously long. It stores better if you pick it earlier.

  9. Jean/Jean's Garden Says:

    Ali, This may be too obvious, but could you hedge your bets by pulling half before you leave and leaving the rest until you get back?

    Enjoy Cobscook Bay — my favorite park, too. Which section(s) do you like to camp in?

    • Ali Says:

      Jean, I was planning to, but time got away from me as it so frequently does.

      As for Cobscook, we always book a site on Cobscook Point, and walk in. It is my idea of HEAVEN.

  10. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    I’m late but…the rule of thumb I use is to pull the garlic when half of the leaves have turned brown and shriveled. Waiting until they’re all brown is a bad idea. Each leaf corresponds to a layer of paper around the bulb, and as each leaf shrivels, its paper layer deteriorates. You want a good number of layers left intact around the bulb. The trick is to look carefully at the stalks and count *all* the shriveled leaves. Sometimes the lower ones shrivel down to almost nothing and are hard to spot. Generally, each stalk has 8 or 10 leaves in total, so I pull when 4 or 5 leaves are still green

    This method has worked well for me.

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