Garden of Eatin' / How-To / Vegetables

The Ultimate Guide to Harvesting, Curing, and Storing Garlic

Fully cured, cleaned and trimmed garlic

You waited seven, maybe nine months, for all that homegrown garlic to finish growing. Now that you’ve dug it all up, you want to savor it for as long as possible until the next garlic crop is ready.

This is when curing becomes your friend.

Curing is the process of letting your garlic dry down in preparation for long-term storage. Curing and storing garlic allows you to enjoy the flavor of your summer harvest well into winter.

One of my favorite things about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been plucked from the ground without traditional preservation methods. No pickling, no canning, no freezing. Just a simple head of garlic that looks and tastes the same as the day you pulled it.

Beautiful garlic bulbs set aside for seed garlic

Does garlic have to be cured?

Garlic does not need to be cured. It’s edible right out of the ground.

But if you want it to stay fresh in the pantry for a good long while, you have to take it through the process of curing—essentially just letting it dry. As the garlic dries, the skin shrinks and turns papery, forming a protective barrier against moisture and mold.

In this dried down state, under optimal conditions, cured garlic can store for several months after harvest (which means you can use the garlic cloves from your garlic harvest as seed for the following year’s crop).

Related: Get Your Garlic On: Planting and Growing Garlic the Easy Way

You don’t have to cure your entire crop, either.

Garlic that you want to eat right away can be used right away, straight from the garden. I usually set aside a couple of bulbs I can use up in three to four weeks (especially bulbs that may have been damaged during harvest, but are otherwise edible).

Garlic that you want to store should be moved to a dry, shady, airy place once they’re harvested to begin curing.

Garlic harvest being dried in preparation for storage

How to cure your garlic crop

First, determine whether your garlic is ready to harvest using this simple trick.

Garlic stops growing once the soil temperature reaches 90°F so if you have a hot, early summer, your garlic will mature faster (though it’ll also have smaller bulbs).

Once you’ve pulled all the bulbs out of the soil, lay them out one by one on an elevated surface (like a large table or shelving rack) that gets filtered or indirect light. This could be under a tree, on a covered porch, or in a well-ventilated garage.

There’s no need to clean off all that dirt for now—you’ll tidy them up when you trim them.

If you don’t have a table to spare, you can DIY one out of 1×6 planks (or fence boards) laid across two sawhorses. Or, build a large frame out of 1×3 lumber, stretch and staple a piece of hardware cloth or chicken wire across the frame, and prop it up on sawhorses or cinder blocks.

Foolproof tips for curing your garlic

Don’t pile them on top of each other. The key to proper curing is providing good air circulation between the bulbs.

Don’t spread them out in the sun. Garlic is susceptible to sunburn and can literally cook under the sun, which deteriorates flavor. So you want to minimize the amount of direct sunlight it gets during the curing process.

Don’t wash your garlic. After all, the point is to dry them out!

Don’t remove the leaves while the garlic is curing. The bulb continues to draw energy from the leaves and roots until all that moisture evaporates. Keeping the leaves intact also helps to prevent fungi or other lurking garden contaminants from spoiling the garlic before it’s fully cured.

Garlic harvest being cured under a shady tree

Can you hang garlic to dry?

If you’re short on space, you can cure your garlic vertically by gathering the garlic into bunches, tying the leaves together with twine, and hanging them from their stems to dry.

You can even braid (plait) your garlic for storage, just like the beautiful ones you see in Italian restaurants.

Braiding only works with nimble softneck garlics, and I find it helps to remove the scraggly bottom leaves first for a smoother braid. Braid the garlic while some of the leaves are still green and pliable, and hang the bundle to dry in a shady spot (like a pantry or a corner of the kitchen).

Braided garlic

How do you know when garlic is cured?

Garlic is usually ready for long-term storage about a month after harvest. But curing can take as little as two weeks in warm, dry climates, or as long as two months in rainy, humid weather.

Large bulbs (and bulbs with large cloves) generally take longer to cure. During this time, the flavor continues to mellow and improve.

Curing is complete when the roots look shriveled and feel stiff like a bottle brush, and the leaves are completely brown and dried.

Shriveled roots on cured garlic
Brown and dried leaves on cured garlic
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The best way to store garlic

Once the garlic is fully cured, clean it up by removing the leaves at the neck and trimming the roots (with a pair of scissors or pruners) to 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch long. More dirt will dislodge and a couple layers of bulb wrappers may flake off, giving you a nice and neatly packaged bulb.

Remember not to remove too many wrappers in case you expose the cloves.

If you braided your garlic, you saved yourself an extra step and can simply snip a bulb off the braid when you need it.

Set aside your most beautiful heads of garlic with the biggest cloves to use as seed garlic the following season.

Save the best and biggest garlic bulbs to use as seed garlic

Stash the garlic in mesh bags, woven baskets, old terracotta pots, brown paper bags, or even cardboard beer/soda cases—as long as the container is breathable and the environment stays dry.

I’ve even heard of people storing garlic in old pantyhose by hanging it from the ceiling, putting a knot between each garlic head, and scissoring off a knot when needed—but really, who has pantyhose lying around these days?!

Garlic stored in mesh nylon produce bags for proper ventilation in storage

Temperature, humidity, and ventilation all play important roles in determining how well your garlic will store. A “cool, dark place” is the general recommendation, and it doesn’t get any easier than a spare cupboard or closet shelf at room temperature.

But if you want to maximize the longevity of your garlic?

Keep it between 50°F and 60°F, around 60 percent humidity, in low to no light with good air circulation.

Garlic tends to sprout at colder temps (thus, no refrigerators!) and dry out in warmer temps.

Lower humidity may cause dehydration (especially in Rocamboles, which are more finicky than other varieties), while higher humidity may bring in fungus and mold. Light is not a factor in storage, as long as you keep your garlic away from direct sun.

Don’t let good food go to waste

Download my Fruit & Vegetable Storage Guide for tips and tricks on maximizing freshness.

All that said, there is no exact science to storing garlic. Sometimes I store my garlic in wire or wicker baskets in the pantry, and sometimes (on a big harvest year) I save and reuse nylon mesh bags (the kind that potatoes and onions come in), sort my garlic into them, and hang them in a well-ventilated utility room.

How long does garlic last?

Once it’s cured, a whole bulb of garlic (with no blemishes or bruises) will last several months in storage. Softneck garlics tend to have a longer shelf life than hardneck garlics.

In general, Silverskins and Creoles are the longest-storing garlic (often keeping up to a full year), followed by Porcelains, Artichokes, Purple Stripes, Rocamboles, and lastly, Asiatics and Turbans, which have the shortest shelf life (up to five months under the most optimal conditions).

CultivarAverage Shelf Life
Silverskin1 year
Creole1 year
Porcelain8 to 10 months
Artichoke8 to 10 months
Purple Stripe6 months
Rocambole6 months
Asiatic3 to 5 months
Turban3 to 5 months

If you’re lucky, you’ll be breaking out fresh cloves in winter and perhaps even through the following spring!

As soon as you remove the paper wrappers, break the bulb apart, or peel the cloves, however, the quality starts to decline quickly.

Individual unpeeled cloves will keep for about three weeks on the counter. Peeled cloves will keep for up to a week in the fridge. And chopped garlic will only last a day or two, so if you have leftover chopped garlic, it’s best to freeze it to retain freshness.

Cured and trimmed garlic ready for long-term storage

Common questions about harvesting and storing garlic

Where to buy garlic curing and storage supplies

Retail Resource Half Bushel Basket | Okatsune Garden Scissors | Charlton Home Set of 3 Sussex Trugs | Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod | Sajid Nylon Mesh Bags | Organic Cotton Mart Reusable Cotton Mesh Produce Bags | Ahyuan Hanging Mesh Storage Bags | Trademark Innovations Foldable Water Hyacinth Storage Basket | BlueMake Woven Seagrass Belly Basket | VNCraft Foldable Black Bottom Seagrass Belly Basket

More posts you might find helpful:

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on July 14, 2011.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

91 Comments

  • Kathy Epps
    May 12, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for a wonderfully written and very informative article! I am new to growing garlic (first effort was epic fail and unfortunately, I believe my second effort may be the same). Garlic shoots are sold in the spring in Zone 7 so, of course, that is when one would believe it’s best to plant them; however, after MUCH research, I believe I should be planting my garlic in the fall — which is what I shall do in a few months and hopefully will be able to utilize all your knowledge and good advice on how to preserve my crop for use next spring/summer and replanting again in the fall. Wish me luck!!

    Reply
  • Jim Armitage
    January 5, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks Linda, found your article most helpful, I’ve just pulled a few garlic bulbs and wasn’t sure how to treat them. PS I’m in the southern hemisphere, hence pulling the garlic now.

    Regards

    Jim

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      January 18, 2021 at 1:26 am

      Hi Jim, I’m glad this was helpful for you!

      Reply
  • Manfred Schlarb
    August 6, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    I made a huge mistake. I had just harvested my garlic and spread it out in my leanto to cure and had someone spray pesticides for mosquitoes. Some of the spray may have settled on my garlic. Would my crop be a write off or would it still be edible? Could we at least use it for seed? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      September 2, 2020 at 7:53 am

      I probably wouldn’t eat garlic that’s had mosquito pesticide sprayed on it, but it depends on what kind of pesticide was used and how much overspray there was. However you can definitely pull off the papery outer layers (while keeping the cloves unpeeled) and use them as seed garlic. If the overspray was very slight, this would help mitigate any residue on your garlic as well.

      Reply
  • Susan Rubinsky
    July 19, 2020 at 12:53 am

    This is The Best article I’ve read, ever, on curing garlic! Thank you! And good luck with the house, property, kids, and your next garden. It will all go well. Take it from someone who was a single working Mom who now has a grown up son — there are bad garden years and good garden years. It all works out in the end. This is one of my favorite blogs!

    Reply
  • Cheryl Farmer
    November 19, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Hi, my garlic has been hung for drying for approximately 4 weeks now, but when I cut a test stem it is still not completely dry right through. Can you please confirm that the stem needs to be dry right through before trimming and storing?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      November 22, 2019 at 2:48 am

      Drying your garlic completely will prolong its life in storage. Is your area particularly humid? You could try circulating a fan in the room to help the garlic dry faster. If you have a few bulbs left that haven’t fully dried, you can just allocate them for use in the kitchen first.

      Reply
  • Deb
    August 1, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    While curing and storing garlic do they smell? I have a number of places that I can do this but it will depend which is best based on odor.

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 4, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      They don’t smell any more than garlic typically does… so yes, if you get close, you get a whiff of that nice savory pungency, but they won’t stink up an entire area as long as you keep them intact.

      Reply
  • On-line Ordering
    July 16, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    I waited too long to harvest, and have several heads that separated into individual cloves. Can I divide them up and plant them?

    Reply
    • BrunnenG
      July 25, 2019 at 11:03 pm

      Absolutely, just as you would any other clove for planting.

      Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 4, 2019 at 8:49 pm

      Yep! Each clove is considered garlic seed (but with a head start).

      Reply
  • Rick
    July 4, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I have dug up my garlic. It looks good , but there is a bright green sandy like substance in the dirt left behind.Not all but many of them.Any idea what it is? Never had it before.
    Thanx

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 4, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      I’ve never seen this after my garlic harvests, so I’m not sure what it could be.

      Reply
  • Plunkhead
    June 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    “Pro” garlic grower here, using biggest bulbs every year and people swear its elephant garlic. Looking for storage tips and wanted to compliment you on a well written informative article.

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 4, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you so much!

      Reply
  • Kathi
    May 9, 2019 at 3:28 am

    This had been a great article. I only wish I’d read it a month ago. I planted three varieties of hard neck garlic last October and have been looking forward to harvesting the scapes this spring. Unfortunately, nothing I read before this explained that the scape is the curly part that grows or of the garlic leaves. So I cut all the big 12″+ green leaves off, thinking I was harvesting scapes! And the following week, I cut them off again. There are rather small green leaves growing out of the ground now. 🙁
    The garlic leaves were chopped and sauteed and added to basil to make pesto and added to morning omelettes. And my neighbor was certain I had planted leeks two years before and that was what I was harvesting. She took home a handful of my “green leeks” and made leek soup. Then called me to say they were not leeks and tasted very garlicy. Her soup was delicious!
    But I don’t think I’ll be harvesting very nice garlic this summer.

    Reply
  • Grands grand
    January 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    I have bulbs that have turned dry inside the head. Are they still good? they will powder if I smash them.

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      March 1, 2018 at 6:23 am

      The cloves are no longer good if they’ve dried out to the point of powder.

      Reply
  • Marycay Doolittle
    September 10, 2017 at 2:01 am

    What tools do you use to snip the roots and stems? Heavy duty scissors, garden shears? My hand is very sore from cleaning maybe 700 heads for storage and I have a lot more to go.

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      November 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      I use a pair of scissors, which is probably my #1 gardening tool. 🙂 My favorite is this one: http://amzn.to/2hiDpha

      Reply
  • Laura Peterson
    June 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    I had wash the drit off will it harm them by doing that

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      June 21, 2017 at 6:54 am

      No it won’t harm the garlic, but your garlic might not last long in storage.

      Reply
  • Mike E.
    June 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    This was a great article. Thanks. I am in my second season growing garlic. Started with two huge garlics from the store. In central texas I can plant any time in the fall and if I feed them well I get the stalks start to dry in early summer and they come out very delicious. Also I found another article about storing garlic in the freezer for long periods of time. I break the garlic into cloves. Remove all the coverings and massage them with olive oil. I purchased some small canning jars and store them in those in the freezer. Still have some from last year. When I use them I can take out the number of cloves I need and run them under cool water for a couple of seconds and they come out like I just picked them. No vampires in this house. Thanks again for the great info.

    Reply
  • Annie Terry
    May 9, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I cut off the leaves before I read this! Will they still cure for storing?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Linda from Garden Betty
      May 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Possibly. The only way to know is to continue curing them, and keep a close watch on your garlic while they’re in storage.

      Reply
  • Aaron J Clifft
    January 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Great Article!

    Reply
  • chipsdad
    August 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Hi:

    I planted my garlic in late October (Zone 7) (about 24 heads or so) . The shoots came up up quickly – in late spring (mid May or so) they turned brown , and fell to the ground.
    i waited until early July to harvest and found most of my heads were extremely small ~1″ diam or so. only 3-4 were of any size.
    what am i doing wrong ?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      October 15, 2016 at 1:28 am

      If all the shoots turned brown before summer, my guess is overwatering or underwatering. Half the leaves should still be green when you harvest your garlic.

      Reply
      • chipsdad
        October 15, 2016 at 11:03 am

        Thanks !!

        Reply
        • Shawn
          August 20, 2017 at 2:47 pm

          In zone 7 your garlic needs to be kept cool. Once the soil temps go above 81 degrees, the bulbs will not increase in size. You need to mulch heavily. Mulching keeps the ground cooler. If your garlic is grown in full sun all day long move it to a partially shaded area. We northern growers have hit or miss years because we go from winter into summer with no real spring some years (small garlic syndrome). AS Garden Betty said.. harvest when the leaves begin to die. Each set of leaves is a paper layer on your garlic, The longer you wait the less “paper” you will have to protect the garlic for long term storage. I harvest here in NY in mid July and have garlic stored until the following March.

          Reply
          • chipsdad
            August 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

            Thanks Shawn !

  • Jenifer Wilde
    August 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Garlic babies?? On the bottom of my elephant garlic it looks like babies! Pulled them and have them saved..can I plant them come fall??

    Reply
    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      October 15, 2016 at 1:35 am

      I think you’re referring to corms, and yes you can plant them, but it’ll be a two-year wait before they divide into bulbs of new garlic. And sometimes it takes longer than that for the plants to show up.

      Reply
  • Newto Couponing1012
    July 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Where do you get mesh bags from?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      October 15, 2016 at 1:44 am

      I reuse them from bagged potatoes and onions I’ve purchased at the store.

      Reply
  • Sean
    November 6, 2015 at 6:19 am

    What if you’re new to garlic growing and after you harvest to trim the leaves and the roots already before they dried how long is it going to last Emily still dry properly

    Reply
    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      November 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      They will still dry properly, you just have to keep an eye on them more for signs of spoiling while in storage.

      Reply
  • heitman
    October 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Linda, I hope you can tell me what’s wrong with my first garlic grow. I got the seeds from Filaree Garlic Farm up in Omak, WA and I live in Washington state. We had a glorious summer and my garlic grew beautifully. After pulling, It was hung for a month below our raised living room where it was light and airy and not wet.

    The garlic bulbs are sitting on my counter with no direct sunlight in a cool part of the kitchen (not in the dark) 🙁 They’ve been in the kitchen about two months now and I’ve been using it a lot. Today I went to use it and I noticed that the paper is loose on the whole bulb and each clove is loose in its individual wrapper. When I unwrapped these huge cloves, they are brown on the outside but beautiful and fragrant on the inside. Some are in bad shape and I can’t use it at all.

    They were not in the sun but is it because they weren’t in a dark place that the individual cloves shrank in their wrapper? I just don’t know what might have happened to it because it has never happened with store bought garlic.

    Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly of Garden Betty
      October 31, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Indirect sun does not have any effect on the garlic. But perhaps the ambient room temp in your kitchen is too warm? (Due to the heat and humidity given off by the stove, oven, etc, not necessarily window light.) Garlic keeps best in cool (not cold) conditions, so I suggest moving yours to a basement or a room on the north side of the house.

      Reply
  • Mike
    August 22, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I was visiting my 90 year old parents in Minnesota. I found in their previous years garden a large patch of garlic with round seed (?) heads. On the last day there it was raining so I had no choice but to pull the garlic out of the ground and store them in a large container, leaves folded, until I drove home to Idaho. I now have them drying in my trailer in the shade as per your advice to others. My question is those seed (?) heads. Are they seeds and can I plant them also? Also, will the folding of the 2-3 foot leaves affect the drying?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      August 23, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      The seeds sound like bulbils. You can grow garlic from bulbils, but it takes a much longer time to form a full-sized bulb with multiple cloves (than if you were to grow garlic from individual cloves). You can always harvest green garlic (the immature plants) from these bulbils sooner however, and use them like green onions.

      As for the leaves, I’m not sure what you mean by folding them. If they’re covering the bulbs, that could have an affect on how quickly or thoroughly the bulbs dry out.

      Reply
      • Sang_froid
        August 28, 2015 at 8:01 am

        Thanks Linda. No, I had to fold the garlic to put them in a container while traveling from MN to ID. I have them stretched out , drying in a trailer right now. So, I’ll plan to plant 1/3 of the garlic cloves (the rest are for cooking!) and all the bulbils (love that word) to see what happens. I’m assuming I break up the bulbils to what looks like individual seeds? Do I still plants the seeds in the fall along with the cloves?

        Reply
  • Bonnie Jean Ohler
    July 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I just grew my first successful garlic this year and I am now curing it according to your instructions. I love your website. The instructions and ideas are great and the pictures are very beautiful. I also learned how to peel and eat faba beans from your website earlier last year. Great stuff.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      August 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you Bonnie! I’m happy to hear you’re finding my posts useful. Enjoy your garlic!

      Reply
  • plmcat
    July 18, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    my garlic doesn’t have any stalks. i was going to pull it up and then we got a huge rain so i left it in the ground and now the stalks are gone. i dug the ones up today that i could find but some of them came apart and so the cloves are exposed. i know i can’t dry those. i will eat them but will my other ones be ok without a stalk on them? i tasted one of the cloves and wow it was spicy. i had two different kinds .. one was a spicey italian and i forgot what they other one was. it was supposed to be big i think. they didn’t really grow very big. i have crappy, rocky soil. but i want to plant them again because i love garlic to cook with and i love it for it’s medicinal benefits as well. i eat garlic every night before i go to bed. and i love the smell of garlic breath! hahaha!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      I’m not sure what you mean by your garlic not having stalks. They cannot continue to grow without the stalks (aka the leaves) so if those are gone, you need to harvest them, dry them as best you can, and keep an eye on the exposed bulbs/cloves to ensure they don’t rot before you can use them up. Without a stalk, bacteria and fungi might enter the garlic before it’s properly cured, so if that happens, it won’t store well.

      Reply
    • Brett
      July 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      I have had that happen also. You left it in the ground too long. As soon as the bottom 2-3 leaves turn brown your garlic is ready. Leaving it in too long causes the wrapper to disintegrate also. You just need to use them faster. Another solution is to slice the garlic and put it in a dehydrator. Then grind it up in a coffee grinder. Garlic powder.

      Reply
  • Kathleen Quinlan
    July 17, 2015 at 5:51 am

    I think the tops are flower like..But now to regrow garlic, are you saying you do it every year from your current harvest? ( I just bought this house garlic came with it ) If so What part of the Garlic do you replant and when? Is in individual cloves ? What position?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 19, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      Yes, you regrow garlic every year from either your own harvest, or from seed garlic that you buy from a supplier (if you like to try new varieties). I have a guide on growing garlic here: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2010/10/growing-garlic/

      Reply
  • Dave Reade
    June 15, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    This is my first year growing and harvesting garlic and I’ve been very happy with the results so far. Your writings on harvesting and curing garlic are extremely helpful. In fact, this is the one of the best sites about growing vegetables that I’ve been able to find on the internet. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      June 23, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Hi Dave, thank you so much for the kind compliment! I’m glad to hear you’re finding it helpful in your gardening!

      Reply
  • Vicki Curtis Fotheringham
    June 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Question about elephant garlic. I found a video on You Tube that showed pulling the garlic, washing it off well and removing the tops before bringing the garlic in to cure. Now that I have done that, I find other sites that say leave the leaves on, to prevent fungi and to allow the garlic to draw from the leaves. Will my garlic be ok? This was my first time planting garlic and it is absolutely huge! It smells heavenly! I can’t wait to start using it and read in your post, it can be used right from the garden.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      June 11, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      The best and longest way to cure and keep garlic is what I’ve explained in this post. Washing may increase the chances of your garlic rotting, unless you kept it very dry and well ventilated (with a fan) during the curing process. Since elephant garlic doesn’t store as well as true garlic to begin with, I recommend using yours quickly, or storing it in the fridge.

      Reply
      • Vicki Curtis Fotheringham
        June 12, 2015 at 9:03 pm

        Thank you for this info. I will share this group with my cousins, and it will be used quickly that way. Now, I know, and will be better prepared for next year’s crop.

        Reply
  • Vernon
    October 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Hi Linda,
    Found your blog while searching for info on — when to harvest garlic — Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and the photos. This has helped me tremendously, my first harvest is way over due, so I’ll be harvesting over the coming weekend or early next week. It’s time to plant again for next season’s harvest.

    PS: I’m based in the southern hemisphere (South Africa).

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      October 28, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      Enjoy your garlic harvest!

      Reply
  • John Crumb
    October 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Linda, we just harvested our garlic. A neighbour came over and suggested we dip the heads in Olive Oil before hanging them up. Have you ever heard of this?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      October 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      I’ve never heard of this, and I can’t think of a reason why you’d do it. Storing/hanging raw garlic in olive oil creates a potential breeding ground for botulism (as the spores thrive in an anaerobic environment).

      Reply
      • John Crumb
        October 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        Thank you for the reply Linda. Much appreciated. That certainly makes a lot of sense. I was quite sceptical when I heard this, but was nonetheless curious. I think I’ll stick with your good, sound advice. Again my sincere thanks.

        Reply
  • Marc
    August 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Linda,
    Just found your blog today after I pulled out all of our garlic and hosed it down to get it clean… ouch! Hope I can get it to dry quickly so as not to loose any – it seems it’s one of the few things that grows well in my garden! Any suggestions? Also, I’ve heard that you shouldn’t plant your garlic in the same spot 2 years in a row… Any thoughts on that? Thanks and cheers from Ontario, Canada! -Marc

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      August 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Just continue to dry them as you would when you cure them. And correct, you should not plant any plant in the same spot the following year (and this includes plants in the same family, such as garlic and onions). Three-year rotations are best to help prevent disease.

      Reply
  • Arthur
    July 10, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Everyone, and I do mean everyone, says cure the garlic with the leaves on, but I can’t find any real information on curing with the leaves cut off. I’ve been growing 300 plants for 5 years and for the first time last year I cut off the leaves at harvest leaving 6 inches of the stem. I dry them in the basement spread out on a table with a fan running on low speed. I cut off the roots and clean them up after 3 weeks or more. Honestly, I couldn’t tell any difference. I just harvested this year’s garlic a couple days ago and am repeating this same technique. Is this just plain heresy? I’m not really that much of renegade, a friend of mine started doing this several years ago and I finally decided to save some work and give it a try. -Arthur

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      The main reason you keep the leaves on is to prevent contaminants from spoiling the garlic while it’s curing. In your case, running a fan and leaving 6 inches of stem on likely serves this purpose, as you’re providing steady air flow and not cutting close to the bulb. However, most home gardeners trim their garlic tightly for storage (the way you see it in the store), so it doesn’t make sense to cut the leaves before curing, only to cut them again (closer to the bulb) after curing. All the work is saved for the end.

      It’s also my unscientific opinion that leaving the leaves on during curing prolongs storage life, as the leaves finish concentrating all their energy into the bulbs before they die. I’ve been told this by commercial garlic farmers, but I’ve never compared it in my own experience. My Silverskins and Creoles have stored for about 10 months on average (possibly longer, but they’re all eaten by then).

      Reply
  • bob
    June 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    First time with garlic as well thank you for your post verrry helpful got Italian red growing in Chicago looking good but not ready yet your pics very helpful thx again

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      You’re welcome! Good luck with your crop.

      Reply
  • Beverbe
    June 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Hello GB,
    We’re just about to harvest our first crop of garlic. Your post with the photos and step by step explanations have been very easy to understand…and I appreciate that. 🙂

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      June 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Enjoy your harvest! Homegrown garlic is fantastic.

      Reply
  • papaya07
    May 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    My neighbors cure garlic in their apartment, and I wake with burning eyes. What can I do?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      May 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I haven’t heard of this happening before, so I can only suggest approaching your neighbors with this issue, assuming it’s indeed the garlic causing the burning eyes and not another irritant in your own home.

      Reply
  • Lynne
    September 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    My elephant garlic tastes bitter – it was just harvested. Do I need to age it before it tastes right?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      September 10, 2013 at 3:23 am

      No, garlic should taste the same whether it was just harvested or just cured. It typically tastes more bitter as it gets older or starts sprouting.

      Reply
  • Katie
    August 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I didn’t come across your blog until too late. I harvested too late and my bulbs came apart and did not develop the flaky covering. Has this ever happened to you? Will they last? Any tips to salvage this crop?

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      August 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      They won’t store well without the wrappers, so you should use those ones first. If your entire crop is without wrappers and you won’t be able to use it all within a month or two, you could try refrigerating peeled cloves, or freezing chopped garlic. There will probably be some flavor degradation, but at least you’ll still have some garlic on hand.

      Reply
      • maryy
        August 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

        We have stored garlic cloves in the refrigerator in a paper bag thru the winter and into July.

        Reply
  • Catherine
    August 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Organic farmer friend of mine died last year and I’ve once again grown a crop of garlic from what he gave me. It’s soooo beautiful and I hope I can continue to grow it each year as a tribute to him.
    Your website is very helpful. I know how to harvest and cure garlic, but I just thought I’d verify that I’m correct. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      August 16, 2013 at 1:10 am

      You’re welcome, and hope you have an amazing crop next season!

      Reply
  • Teresa Marie
    July 2, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Thanks – very helpful. For years I’ve just been pulling from the ground, washing, drying for a few days in the kitchen and then popping into a tupperware 🙂 That seems to have worked so far, maybe I’ve been lucky

    Reply
  • Dorothy G
    July 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    It seems we have a veritable field of ‘wild’ garlic that comes through our irrigation and sets up house throughout the edges of our gardens, lawns & orchards–great to know how to take advantage of it besides the amazing aroma when I accidentally hit it with the mower!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 26, 2011 at 7:24 am

      Wow, I’d love to have a field of wild garlic around my house! Lucky you!

      Reply
  • Teresa
    July 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Beautiful pictures and excellent information! Thanks! Just grew my first garlic this year. Tiny crop but will try more next year.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      July 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Teresa! I’m saving a few bulbs to seed next season’s crop, but I’m really intrigued by the other varieties out there… I’m going to try more/others too!

      Reply
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