Updated: Aug 5
Hello Friends! Thank you to everyone who purchased garlic scapes. We are currently sold out of scapes and now beginning to harvest garlic bulbs! Next week we will harvest the bulk of our garlic so in this month's newsletter I'd like to share a few tips on how to tell if your garlic is ready for harvest. This week we are offering 10% off all Chesnok Red purchases, read more about this beautiful garlic below
Once your garlic begins to bulb, it's immune system is no longer active. Watch it carefully for signs of disease. Twisted, yellow, stunted, or otherwise "off" looking plants should be removed and thrown away (not composted). As your bulb matures, the leaves will begin to dry from the bottom towards the top, and from the tips inward, this is normal and is an indication that your bulbs are nearing harvest.
On large plants we typically harvest when there are 6 green leaves left. A good rule of thumb is to harvest when 1/3 to 1/2 of the leaves have yellowed. When deciding if your bulbs are ready, dig a few bulbs up and note the size as well as the condition of the bulb wrappers. You will want at least 4-5 fully intact bulb wrappers (wrappers that are not split or damaged). Each green leaf represents 1 bulb wrapper. If you cut a bulb in half, you should see fully developed cloves, and a slight pulling away from the stem. Clove wrappers will be defined and have begun to color.
Once you've determined it's time for harvest, use a pitchfork, gently loosen the soil several inches away from the bulb. Pull the bulb and brush soil from the roots. Bulbs are easily bruised right now, so take care. Immediately remove from the sun and hang in a dry, shaded, well ventilated area with plenty of air flow. Remember, each variety matures at its own rate. If you have multiple varieties, expect them to be ready over varying times.
Fresh garlic is a juicy, tasty treat; but garlic gains much of its flavor, complexity, and intensity during the curing process. After harvest, make bundles of 8-10 plants each. Hang in a warm, shady, ventilated area for 4-10weeks (depending on temperatures and humidity). Alternatively, you can lay them out in a single layer on a table or drying rack. Ensure good air flow by running a fan (or multiple fans for a large harvest). The plants will dry and begin the slow process of curing.
The curing process is finished when all moisture has left the stem of the plant. To test this, cut a stem about 1" above the bulb and put the cut end to your dry lip. If you feel any moisture, give them more time to dry. When your garlic is fully cured, trim the roots to 1/4" and the stem to 1". Pack into a well-ventilated container and keep it cool and dry. With good curing and storage your garlic should store for at least 4-6 months.
I hope this helps you find success in growing garlic, and I hope you see abundant harvests of large, healthy bulbs. If you'd like to follow our harvest and see pictures of beautiful bulbs, please visit our Facebook Page.
Andrew and Kristine Winniford
New to growing garlic? Check out our FAQ's page:
Looking to plant a variety? Check out our garden samplers:
Also known as Shvelisi, Chesnok Red holds the standard as a top producing Standard Purple Stripe hardneck garlic. Great flavor, large bulbs, and our longest storing hardneck variety. Chesnok Red is outstanding as a cooking garlic, especially in stove top cooking. 9-12 cloves per bulb. Chesnok Red is one of our most adaptable varieties. If you're in a warmer growing zone, give Chesnok Red a try; with proper vernalization it should do well in most of the US. Learn more about Chesnok Red HERE and save 10% throughout July.
Did you know we distill organic herbs into hydrosols?
Learn more about the herbs and the distillation process on our website Mountain Valley Botanics Plus, we're currently offering 35% off all of our Certified Organic hydrosols with coupon code SUMMERSALE