Look out all you vampires it’s garlic season! I harvested our garlic crop on July 27 this year. When to harvest garlic is a judgment call. Pick your garlic too early and the the bulbs will be too small and the cloves will be unformed. Too late and there will not be enough protective layers around the cloves to hold in moisture through the winter. I have not however found it to be too exact a science. Basically it’s ready to go when the lower leaves start to brown but the top leaves are still green. The day I picked and hung my garlic to dry it looked like this:
When I picked the garlic I did not clean the bulbs as last year I found some of the garlic and onions that I washed did not cure as well. So this year I just brushed off the excess dirt and hung the garlic, as is, to dry a bit.
Two weeks later I took down the partially cured garlic, peeled back a couple of the outer layers to remove most of the dirt and used a soft bristle brush to clean up the remainder of the bulb being careful not to expose the cloves. I cut back the tops and bottoms and hung them up for further drying. I’d say this has been the best crop so far.
Garlic should be stored in a cool (just above freezing) dark place where it will still get some air circulation. Braiding works but seems like a lot of work to me so I’ll store ours in mesh bags as well as paper bags with holes. We are going to store some in the garage over the winter and some in the wine cellar (which has slightly higher humidity) and see which is best.