Last week at EcoHouse, we harvested our garlic bulbs after our long wait! Garlic harvest season is here, and if you’re looking for a how-to guide to get you started, Green Venture’s garden team is here to help.
Now is the perfect time to harvest your garlic. It’s easy to get excited and to dig too early. However, it is essential to look for multiple of the garlic plant leaves to die back and dry out before digging.
This is an essential indicator that the papery shells around each clove are fully formed and detached from the clove so it can dry properly.
When you choose your day to harvest, try and pick a day that is not raining or super wet. This will ensure better success with drying your garlic later and preventing mold.
You’ll need a digging fork or shovel, unless your soil is very loose or sandy. Check out this video below of our student volunteer correctly digging out a garlic plant.
When inserting your fork or shovel, you will want it not too close to the plant (you can nick the bulb) or too far (won’t give your leverage).
After your garlic is out of the ground, try to knock off as much soil as possible. Trim roots before preparing it for storage. Do not wash. Garlic can also be eaten fresh 2-4 weeks after harvest. This is especially handy if you happen to nick a bulb (which then can’t be cured).
Check on your garlic regularly, looking for dark blotches which are a sign of mold. Adding a fan to enhance drying is beneficial if you are worried about your space being too damp. Garlic is fully cured in 2-4 weeks, depending on your setup. Look for the outer layers of the bulb skin to be dry and crispy and the stem hard and dry.
For final storage, remove any last bit of soil and trim off the leaves. Keep in a cool dry place and you will have garlic that will last through winter (if you don’t eat it all first!).
Grow a Row is one of Green Venture’s garden programs. Growers commit to growing an extra row of produce in their gardens, to be donated each week to local Hamilton food banks to promote food security, accessibility, and sustainable community-based food systems. Gardeners and growers of all experience levels are welcome to participate!