How to Harvest, Cure and Store Garlic

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garlic bulb drying

It’s garlic time! This is the first year that I’ve kept all of the garlic I have grown, so this is also the first year that I will be curing and storing garlic. I’m very excited that have been able to grow all that  we’ll need for the next year. Garlic is super easy to grow and it’s pretty straightforward to harvest and store. Here are all the details.

When to Harvest Garlic

garlic plants in july

In Michigan garlic is usually harvested in July. Based on my reading, a good rule of thumb is to harvest the garlic when about half the leaves are brown and the other half are green. I’ve also read recommendations that you should wait until all the leaves are browning. I decided to harvest half of my garlic early while some of the leaves are still green and I’ll harvest a rest later as they turn much more brown. However, even the garlic that is harvested later I’m planning to pull up before the end of July.

How to Harvest Garlic

 garlic bulbs

Before pulling up the garlic, you should loosen the soil around the bulb. Some people use a gardening fork for this but I just put on some gloves and used my hands! It works just fine. You want to keep the stalk intact and attached fully to the bulb. Also don’t remove the outer paper-like layer around the bottom of the bulb. You want to keep this intact for storage purposes.

How to Cure Garlic

garlic curing drying on clothesline

If you plan on storing your garlic, you’ll need to dry it (also known as curing) before you store it. The process is pretty simple. Hang your garlic by the leaves in a well-ventilated, dry and warm place. For now mine are hanging on the clothesline. However, rain is in the forecast s0 I’m going to move them into the shelter of our lean-to storage shed.

The drying process could take up to four weeks. You’re looking to see that the entire bulb and the leaves are dried out and brown. At that point you can cut the leaves from the bulb and trim the roots. It is recommended that you leave about an inch of stalk on the bulb.

How to Store  Garlic

The whole purpose of the drying process is to enable garlic to be stored long term without being refrigerated. Garlic can be stored in a paper or mesh bag in a cool, dry place. According to the Michigan Garlic Farm, the optimum storage temperature is 56 to 58 degrees.

Other Garden Goodies

In addition to garlic, there were several red onions and shallots ready to be harvested. They’re curing right alongside the garlic.

red onion red onions shallots red onions drying red onions drying braided shallots

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