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Harvesting Garlic

Harvesting Garlic: The Proper Process of Reaping These Cloves

Although garlic is an easy-to-grow plant, the most challenging aspect that many gardeners experience while growing it, is to determine when and how to harvest it.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Planting the garlic
Growing and planting garlic in your garden is not as challenging as harvesting it. Being one of the easiest plants to cultivate, garlic is the most preferred choice of plant to grow for many novice gardeners.
Farmer planting garlic
In fact, one clove of garlic can be grown into a full blown garlic plant, with each bulb having approximately 15–20 cloves.
Like most plants, garlic grows well in a fertile, organic-rich soil and requires proper sunlight for its growth and sustenance. While planting a garlic clove, make sure you plant it in an upright position, about an inch below the surface of the soil.
When planting individual cloves, do not plant very close and keep at least a gap of 3–5 inches between them so that they get enough space to grow well. Hence, with sufficient sunlight, nutrition, and water, the plant can grow quite easily.
When to Harvest
Fresh green garlic in plantation
If you harvest before time or prematurely, the cloves will be tiny and not fleshy, while on the other hand, if harvested late, the bulb would burst out.
Blooming Wild Garlic Flowers
Hence, once the plant has grown, you should start looking out for signs that may indicate it's time of harvesting. Since different garlic varieties and weather conditions have different harvesting times, the rule of thumb to be considered for harvesting garlic is to wait for the leaves to have a browning discoloration or the bulbs to grow to a proper size.
For this, simply loosen the dirt over one or two bulbs and while keeping them in ground, try to have an idea of their size. If the bulbs are large enough, this is the right time to harvest and if they are too small, it means they need more time to develop.
How to Harvest
Gardening garlic
For some people, it would be just digging out of the ground, but there a few things to be kept in mind while harvesting garlic bulbs.
Do not pull the bulbs out, else you may end up having handful of tops, with no garlic bulbs. Rather, gently dig them out; freshly-dug bulbs are more prone to bruise if not handled carefully. Therefore, use a digging fork to loosen the soil and then dig out the garlic.
Couple harvesting garlic
After digging the garlic out, do not leave it lying on the ground as too much of sun exposure can blanch and burn the cloves and deteriorate their taste. Instead, brush the soil off and keep the freshly harvested garlic bulbs in a cool, dark, and dry place as early as possible.
Woman picking garlic
The first time you plant it, harvesting may seem like a difficult job. However, once you get the idea of it, it'll be easier.