Harvesting Heirloom Garlic

July 14, 2009 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

Check it out----garlic harvest 2009

Check it out----garlic harvest 2009

Of all of the things to grow, garlic is easily my favorite, and probably the simplest thing out there. You just plant a clove in October and pick a head of it in July. And heirloom garlic is a million times better than what you get at the supermarket. Hardneck varieties like Music,  Siberian, and Rocambole are favored by chefs, and also are very easy to grow at home.

Over the past few years, I’ve been buying my garlic seed from Fleur de Lys farm outside of Kutztown, the cutest little farm you’ve ever seen (with heirloom, organic chickens that lay blue eggs!) and this year, it finally paid off.

Fleur-de-Lys Farm

Fleur-de-Lys Farm

Lori even shared a new garlic called Maxatawny, named after a township nearby. She told me a passerby dropped it off last summer to keep the seed going, and I’m happy to see that it worked!

Heirloom Maxatawny Garlic

Heirloom Maxatawny Garlic

How to pick garlic

When the garlic leaves start turning brown in July/August, it’s time to harvest. Stop watering about a week before you plan to harvest, to make it easier to pull. Actually, I say pull, but you really should shovel up the earth a bit, so you don’t break the garlic by the stem (I had a few casualties over the weekend.)

Next, separate your garlic and label it if you want to keep the varieties straight. Tie about 5 to 10 stems together, and then hang somewhere dry for about three or four weeks. This will allow the garlic to dry out, and then you can store it in a dark place for 6 to 10 months, depending on varieties. Softnecks store longer, hardnecks about 6 months. When ready to store, the garlic skin should be crinkly, like paper—simply remove the very outer skin (don’t remove too much, and don’t wash in water) and then cut at the stem and trim the roots if you want. Voilà! Garlic through next winter (if it lasts that long).


Entry filed under: DIY growing, garlic, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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