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harvesting - How do I know when garlic is ready to be harvested?
  • wax eagle

    I planted some garlic this spring and I am now wondering when I should harvest it. (I planted them between 60 and 90 days ago -- not quite sure when I put them in.)

    I pulled up one the other day and it didn't seem to have a head on it at all, just a stem and a very small collection of roots.

    What does the top of the plant typically look like when it is ready to be harvested?

  •  Answers:

  • Twisted

    I've been growing garlic for the last 2 years. You can plant them year round.

    You leave them until the stem wilts, falls over and turns yellow and generally looks dead.

    Harvest them, plait the stems into a nice rope of garlic and leave them somewhere cool and dry to dry out a bit. You should then be able to brush the soil off the bulbs and hang them in the kitchen.

  • Mike Perry

    What I know about garlic, which isn't a great deal, is:

    • Garlic should not be planted in the Spring, it should be planted in the early part of Autumn (Fall).

    • It is then "normally" ready for harvesting in mid to late Spring the following year.

    • It is "normally" ready to be harvested when the bottom third of a plant turns brown.

    I see from your profile you're in GA, therefore the below article from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia should prove helpful/useful:

    • Garlic Production for the Gardener


    Depending on the area of Georgia, garlic will be ready to harvest from late May to mid July. When garlic is mature, leaf tops will begin to dry, discolor and bend towards the ground. Harvest the garlic when ⅓ to ½ of the leaves have died back in this manner. Use a fork to loosen the soil and facilitate lifting the bulbs, thus avoiding stem injury. This is especially important if you plan to braid the tops. If harvesting is delayed too long after the tops have died back, the bulbs may rot.

  • bstpierre

    I will confess that my previous attempts at garlic have been less than stellar, and I have not planted spring garlic, but from what I know:

    • Conventional "rules" for harvesting are that the flower wilts and the leaves start to turn yellow.
    • Fall planting is usually recommended, with late spring harvest. (In cold areas, harvest can be as late as August.)
    • Spring planting is supposedly possible, but there's little information available about doing it, and it sounds like garlic pros claim poor performance.
    • Given that October-July is about a 9 month growing season (with some time off for winter dormancy), and you planted just 2-3 months ago, I'd give it more time before expecting to harvest real bulbs.
    • You could have other issues at play that will prevent you from getting a decent harvest.
    • Garlic is day length sensitive. Hardneck is more suitable for long days; softneck is more suitable for neutral days.