How & When to Harvest Garlic – When is Ready to Harvest

Late spring or early summer will be the ideal time to harvest our garlic because they have already finished the whole cycle of its cultivation, and we must prepare to harvest garlic correctly. Learn all about how and when to harvest garlic in this article.

When to Harvest Garlic?

When to Harvest Garlic? Late spring or early summer is the ideal time to harvest our garlic. The ideal time to harvest garlic is when the stalk dries, and we just have to choose a sunny day to harvest garlic.

It is also important that it has not rained the previous days. Also, check that the soil is completely dry. In about 7 – 8 months, if conditions are good, the garlic crop will have had the necessary growing time to fully develop.

When Is Garlic Ready to Harvest?

When Is Garlic Ready to Harvest? Depending on the garlic planting season, climatic differences in each place, the different varieties of garlic, soil conditions, crop maintenance, pests and diseases that may occur, etc. Garlic will not always be ready to harvest on the same date, although it is not usually delayed or advanced too long.

How do you Know When Is Garlic Ready to Harvest? The most practical thing to do is to pay attention to the appearance of the garlic plant and the changes it shows as it approaches harvest time.

We will call signs or symptoms of ripening the changes that are observed in the garlic plant when the time of harvest is approaching, and they are these:

  • The heads -bulbs- present a bulging and tight aspect, and the garlic cloves are well-formed, being able to appreciate the indentations that separate one from the other.
  • Half of the leaves either take a pale yellowish or whitish color. The lower ones begin to dry first, ascending to the others as the days go by.
when is garlic ready to harvest
When Is Garlic Ready to Harvest? Garlic will be ready for harvest 7 to 8 months after planting.

Some Tips to Know When to Harvest Garlic

Here are some tips on when to harvest garlic:

  • We should not wait until all the leaves of the garlic plant are dry because the sheaths that cover the garlic cloves can break, and the cloves will separate and be worse preserved.
  • Another negative consequence of delaying too long the harvesting of garlic is the formation of several heads. They are equally edible, but of poorer quality and shorter shelf life.

Keep in mind the recommendations for watering garlic, especially when harvesting is approaching. Garlic tends to rot easily, so watering should be moderate to scarce in case of rain. If you live in an area with a dry climate with weekly watering, garlic will grow perfectly.

How to Harvest Garlic

How to Harvest Garlic? Harvesting garlic is a fairly simple task, especially when compared to all the work involved in preparing the soil, planting the garlic, and caring for it for so many months.

But neither should we think that, as it is something simple, it can be done in any way, since the subsequent conservation will depend a lot on the harvest being done well and at the right time.

As we have just said, one of the most important things when harvesting garlic is to do it at the right time, once the plant has finished forming and maturing the bulb.

how to harvest garlic
How to Harvest Garlic? Garlic can be harvested by hand or with a hoe if the soil is very hard.

How to Harvest Garlic by Hand

It consists of grabbing the garlic plant by the aerial part, that is to say, by the leaves, and pulling it firmly, until the bulb comes completely out of the ground.

This type of extraction is the simplest of all, but it cannot be done in any soil, because if it is not suitable, it could damage the garlic or be very costly.

Specifically, it is an ideal technique for harvesting garlic in loose soils, which are easily worked, even if they are dry. These are generally soils with a high proportion of sand.

On the other hand, in very compact soils – rich in clays – garlic must be harvested as explained below.

How To Harvest Garlic with Hoe

As we have just said, in hard soils it is not possible to pick the garlic simply by pulling them since they would break, or it would be complicated to extract them.

In these cases, it is necessary to use a hoe, digging hard next to each bulb, but far enough away so as not to damage it.

When the hoe is introduced into the soil, near the head of the garlic, and pulled upwards, it will be released and can be picked up by hand.

If you are interested in learning more about garlic cultivation, we recommend you our article about How to Grow Garlic from a Clove.

picking garlic
Picking Garlic. Garlic can be easily picked by hand when the soil is soft.
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.