What I’ve Learned About Planting, Harvesting and Drying Garlic

Information on how to plant, harvest, dry and store your own garlic.

hardneck garlic bulb cloves
Planting, Harvesting and Drying Hardneck Garlic

I live in southwestern New Hampshire and each year I attempt to grow my own garlic.  After much trial and error and reading articles and books, this is what I’ve learned about planting, harvesting and drying garlic in my area of the country.

The first couple of years I had little luck, but I didn’t know what I was doing.  I wasn’t sure exactly when to plant it, and it never grew very large when I did manage to grow a few bulbs. As time went on, I read more, and realized that it needs to be weeded well. Weeds will compete for nutrients and keep the bulbs small. Also a little fertilizer when the stalks begin to grow can help. Continue reading “What I’ve Learned About Planting, Harvesting and Drying Garlic”

When to Cut Garlic Scapes

garlic plants
My Garlic Plants

When do I cut the garlic scapes? Obviously I am not a seasoned (successful?) gardener, or I would know the answer. I haven’t had much luck growing garlic, which seems so simple. So I had to look it up.

This year my garlic plants are growing so well. I am very pleased. I planted them back in October of 2014, and once the snow finally melted, they began to push through the soil. They are growing in a fabric, raised bed. It’s the first time I’ve planted them in a place other than the ground. I guess I won’t know for another month or so if the bulbs will be big, but I am hopeful.

Now, at the end of June, I just noticed that some of the plants are producing scapes, which is the curly flower stalk.  I check on my garden every day, but suddenly there they were, green swirling stalks with white, pointy tips.
garlic scapes

I had to look it up, but Cedar Circle Farm said to cut them the end of June so production would go toward the bulb and not the flower. If you let it flower, seeds will form.  Do the seeds create more garlic plants the following year?  I think so, since I have continuous small garlic plants growing in bunches where I planted bulbs 2 years ago.

The same farm site has advice for what to do with those garlic scapes. Use them like garlic, and add to any dish you would add garlic to.  I only have a few, but I plan to use them in many ways in the upcoming days. Once fresh produce comes into the house I don’t like to let it sit around and lose nutrients.

I guess I’ll have to wait another month or more to dig up the garlic bulbs and then let them dry.  I use my little patio greenhouse to dry garlic.  I know they are supposed to dry in the sun, and they get sun, but in an enclosed area.  Once my greenhouse has done it’s job of holding my spring plants, I set it aside (off my tiny deck) to use for drying garlic.