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Mailbag: When is it best to harvest garlic?

Hi Jessica, have some questions about growing your own garlic. I planted my organic bulbs last fall, and just about every one had sprouted. I cut off the scapes last week and had some amazing roasted-scape mashed potatoes. Some of the leaves are almost all browned, so I figured I'd dig some up to see how they are progressing. Not much of a bulb. Is it too early to harvest? Will they grow more if I leave them alone? How much longer should I keep them in the ground? How much should I water them now? Thanks for your help. -- Mike

Hi, Mike, Your garlic should be ready to harvest in early- to mid-summer (sometime in July). You should water them regularly until about 2 or 3 weeks before you plan to harvest -- then stop watering altogether. Remove any flowering stalks so the plant can direct all its energy into bulb formation. You'll know it's time to harvest when one-half to two-thirds of the leaves have turned yellow or fallen over. Then, after you've dug up the bubs, place them in a dry, dark place for two weeks to "cure." Enjoy! -- Jessica

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