Garlic Bulbs Cleaned for Storage

Harvested garlic bulbs were cut down to size and cleaned up for safe keeping.

A couple of weeks ago six varieties of garlic were harvested by digging them out of the ground, tops and all. Each variety was kept separate from the others with labeled pieces of newspaper.

Over a 10-day period after harvesting the tops had dried back considerably and almost all the greenery was now shades of brown. This meant it was time to cut back the tops and clean up the garlic bulbs.

A pair of scissors was used to cut the stems leaving 1-2 inches of a hard stem above the garlic bulb. Roots were pulled together and rubbed between fingers and thumb to remove most of the soil. That way, the roots were easy to cut off with the scissors.

Dirt on the outer membranes was rubbed off with a thumb being careful not to dislodge the membranes left on the garlic bulbs. We want to keep as many layers of membranes or sheath on the bulbs for the best storage. If too many layers of membranes are removed, the garlic cloves have a good chance of drying out during storage.

The harvest didn’t provide a great quantity of garlic for eating, but we do have some cloves to plant for next year and some for the kitchen. There are plenty of cloves for us to determine which is the best and most tasty garlic of the six varieties.

Garlic cleaned for the pantry will be kept in separate labeled boxes.
Garlic cleaned for the pantry will be kept in separate labeled boxes.

Garlic varieties will be kept in labeled, separate boxes. We used the kind of box or carton that berries and other veggies are sold in at a farmer’s stand.

These recycled paper boxes are nice for storage because they can be stacked even with garlic stored in them. They allow for air circulation from all sides. We’ll stack them 2-3 boxes high and place them on a shelf in the darkened pantry for safe keeping.

Harvested Six Garlic Varieties Before the Rain

The hot July sun was upon the garlic and drying up the lower leaves to the point we thought it ready to harvest. Last week – in between rain storms – the garlic was harvested. It’s now drying in the shade of the garage.

Garlic bulbs were dug using my trusty twisty, as I call the garden weasel. You know, the tool with four long prongs and a long handle for cultivating the ground? Its actual name is Garden Weasel Garden Claw. It’s a great little cultivator that’s very efficient in breaking through untilled ground, and as I found out, it’s great for harvesting garlic, too.

The claw could be centered right over a garlic bulb and twisted slightly to help bring the bulb out of the ground without breaking off the leaves from the bulb.

Once the bulbs were dug up excess soil was rubbed off and each bulb laid out on newspaper until the harvesting was complete.

Last fall we planted a variety pack of 6 kinds of garlic and we needed a way to keep each variety separate. A piece of newspaper was marked with the name of one variety and laid out on the driveway. Each variety was dug at one time to help keep them separated.

Six varieties of garlic planted in the fall of last year.
Six varieties of garlic planted in the fall of last year.

I was glad to have kept photos as a record of which variety was planted

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