Harvesting and Curing Garlic
Years ago we were gifted some beautiful heads of hard neck garlic by one of our closest friends with verbal planting instructions. We picked a nice spot in the garden and on Columbus Day, we planted. The next summer we were blessed with 50 heads of garlic. We didn’t know exactly what to do with it. It seemed logical to cut the tops and use it like the garlic we bought from the store, but that was not the case. It took a little more work to get the garlic ready to use and store. After you have used your own garlic, you can never go back to store bought. And because you can only harvest it once a year, preserving it is crucial.
Our work begins with the harvest. We dig up all of the bulbs being careful not to pull hard on the tops. We then lay them out on the ground for a day to allow some of the dirt to dry. Dry dirt is much easier to brush off.
Next we bring the garlic in and carefully brush all of the dirt of with a nylon bristled brush. We then hang the plants in a cool dry place.
We also place an oscillating fan in the room to keep the air moving. After 4-6 weeks we begin to cut the tops off leaving 2″ of stem. It’s at this time that we grade the garlic by size. The biggest heads are saved to replant in the fall.
Once cured, we store our kitchen garlic in a brown paper bag in a cool spot. Our seed garlic is stored in onion bags until the fall. You can cut the roots on the bottom as well, but we prefer to leave them. We made a youtube video covering the process as sometimes it helps to have a visual.
Once you have grown and cured your own garlic there is no going back, in fact, you will be tempted to grow more and more every year. Last year we grew 1000 heads and this season we are shooting for 1500. We were able to ship it all over the country, even as far as Alaska. Growing garlic can be so rewarding and refining your curing setup preserves your hard work. Like all things homesteading, you get out what you put in. Give us a like or follow if this article helped and as always, we appreciate your feedback. Be sure to watch the website for next year’s harvest. Happy Growing!!!!