Reprinted with permission from College of Maine Cooperative Extension, bulletin #2063, Rising Garlic in Maine, extension.umaine.edu/publications/2063e/#harvest.
Garlic is a member of the Allium household, which incorporates onions, chives and leeks. Garlic originated in central Asia and has been grown for five,000 years in Egypt and India. Discovered as an essential ingredient in lots of cuisines, garlic is an easy-to-grow crop that’s more and more widespread in Maine. Garlic is usually the final crop planted within the fall and the primary to emerge within the spring, extending the time you may take pleasure in being within the backyard.
Hardneck garlic needs to be harvested when the bulbs are totally mature. Harvest time corresponds with the browning of the lowermost leaves. When the decrease three leaves have turned brown, you may have about two weeks to reap your garlic. Past that point, the outer wrapper of the bulb will disintegrate, finally leaving naked cloves that won’t retailer effectively or be appropriate on the market or as presents.
To reap, loosen mature garlic by under-digging with a spade or spading fork, taking care to not harm the bulbs. Pull the entire plant and shake off unfastened soil. Let the garlic area dry for a day within the backyard, then frivolously brush off any remaining unfastened soil and produce the garlic right into a well-ventilated area, like a storage or barn. Washing is just not advisable, because the objective now could be to dry the garlic as shortly as potential to keep away from illness growth throughout the curing and storing of the crop.
Curing is the method of drying garlic bulbs to organize for storage. Garlic tops could also be eliminated at any time throughout or after harvesting. Minimize the garlic tops, leaving about one and one-half inches of stem on the high of the bulb. Garlic is finest cured in a single layer, in a heat, dry place with good air motion. Drying racks with mesh screens and a fan will present one of the best situations. Don’t remedy garlic in a very popular place, like an attic, closed greenhouse or in direct daylight. Garlic needs to be well-dried in three to 4 weeks when it may be moved to a storage location.
Garlic is finest saved cool and dry. Retailer it in your house in a darkish place, ideally at temperatures of about 60 levels Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of about 50 p.c. Cooler, moister situations promote sprouting and can diminish storage time. By no means refrigerate garlic or retailer garlic in a plastic bag.
When harvesting your garlic, save your largest, healthiest bulbs for planting that fall. This planting inventory will save you time and money, and also you’ll have the satisfaction of planting your individual garlic to repeat the cycle of planting and harvest.