Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Great Garlic Harvest

Way back in May I posted about the garlic I had planted, and being a virgin garlic grower I'm not really sure if I have been successful in producing a good crop as I have nothing to compare to.

An organised gardener would have counted exactly how many cloves of each variety was planted, what the "mother" bulb weighed and what date they were planted out.    Had I done this I would be able to report accurately my yield and plan for my next crop accordingly.

But I didn't, so this will be an inaccurate report where all descriptive terms such as large, small, lots, heavy, and other such words have no true measure or control group and should be taken with a grain of salt.  Next time I will take a leaf out of Hazel's book and do it properly.

I really did not know if the garlic was ready but someone somewhere in blogland recently mentioned the had harvested their garlic so I figured it was something I needed to consider.  All the information about harvesting advised that the tops of the garlic should be turning brown and there should be 3-4 layers of covering around the bulb.  To test this you need to dig one up and cut across the top.
I dug up the Oriental Purple first and most of the bulbs had grown, multiplied and fattened up and for all intensive purposes seemed to be big enough to harvest.

As I dug them up I laid them out on a piece of cardboard.  Once I had them all out I used a brush to remove as much of the dirt from the roots as a I could.  After the Purple Oriental came the Australian Cream, I dug a couple of the Australian White but they were not quite ready so will stay in the garden for another week or so.
All laid out, still a bit dirty. Australian Cream at the top of the photo,
Purple Oriental at the bottom and the couple of Australian White on the right.
Some of the bulbs were as big as commercial ones
They ranged from pink...

To purple...

The Australian White leaves had not browned off as much as the others so when I see them get to the same stage as the other ones I will dig up another bulb and see if they are ready.
The last of the garlic looking a little lonely in the garden.
To give the garlic a chance to dry out I have made use of some coat racks that we have out the back in the laundry area near the back door.  I tied each of the bulbs around the rack and have left them to dry out a bit more before I try and brush off any more of the dirt.  You will see that one of the varieties, Australian Cream yielded a lot more garlic but this is because I had two bulbs of it to start with and only one of each of the others. 
Coat racks given over to garlic
Hung out to dry
Once they have all dried out I will weigh them so I know how much I started with and be able to measure how long they last.  I am not sure heading into summer how the garlic will keep here in Queensland with our humidity.  Does any one have any tips for storing garlic?

There were a few really small bulbs some that had not multiplied so I decided we would eat those straight away.  We had a couple in a stir fry last night and they were quite pungent.

Small garlic bulbs, I included the peg for some scale.

 Well I can tell you one thing about harvesting garlic, once you hang it to dry you will have no worries about vampires.  I am glad I have these hanging out the back because even with the skins on there is the scent of garlic in the air.


  1. wow you did really well Fiona, I have yet to master garlic, but its on my list as we eat heaps of it and its supposed to be good for all the animals too. I find that the times that I do all the right things, like weigh everything before planting, are the times when nothing sprouts anyway, and if I just chuck things into the garden without proper preparation they seem to grow better and I wish I wrote down what they were....

  2. Well done Fiona. Like you I'm pretty new to garlic growing. But last year I dug mine up too soon. Mine are looking like they're ready so maybe I'll tackle them in the next couple of days - thanks for the reminder.

  3. Oh I think that looks like a great harvest. I have not tried garlic other than sticking in the odd clove here and there and harvesting the shoots for salads. I think I might be inspired for next year!


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