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Harvesting & Curing Your Garlic Harvest

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

Your garlic is ready to harvest when about 50% of the leaves have dried. Depending on your soil texture you may need to use a pitchfork to gently loosen the soil around the bulb before pulling the bulbs from the ground. Larger plantings benefit from using an undercutter bar to cut the roots off below the soil, before hand harvesting.

Your garlic bulbs will grow a lot in the time between harvesting the garlic scape and when the plant has died back by 50%. Watch them closely, occasionally harvesting a bulb and checking their progress. See our post on Getting Ready For Harvest Season to learn more. Continue to provide water until the week before harvest.

After harvesting your garlic, brush the excess soil off and immediately remove from the sun. Garlic left in the sun will quickly deteriorate and your whole crop may be ruined. Bring your garlic to a shady place, we use a large, shaded barn but a porch, well-ventilated garage or room within your house are all good options.

The most important things to remember are:

  1. Make bundles of 10 plants if you plan to hang your garlic, otherwise lay it in a single layer with plenty of airflow around each bulb.

  2. Airflow is of extreme importance. In our operation we keep several large commercial fans going 24 hours a day until the garlic has finished the curing process. A box fan is sufficient for smaller harvests.

  3. Keep your garlic in the shade. If curing outside, be sure it has sun protection throughout the day.

  4. Garlic will take 2-8 weeks to cure, depending on conditions. Hot, dry locations will cure quickly while cool, humid locations will take longer. When it has finished curing the entire plant will be dry. Clip the roots short to about 1/4" long and clip the stem to about 1". The dirty outer layers may be gently wiped clean. To test the dryness of your garlic, press a freshly clipped stem end to a dry lip, if you feel moisture than your garlic needs to cure for longer.

  5. Store your garlic in a cool, dry location.

I hope this helps you to have a successful garlic harvest. As you are watching and harvesting your garlic, consider which varieties are doing best for you and don't forget to re-order for next year.

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