Harvesting and Curing Garlic
As harvest approaches, plants begin to dry down from the lowest leaf up and from the leaf tips downward, one leaf at a time. Harvest when the top 4 leaves are still 50% green and the lower leaves are completely dry. Bundle in groups of 5-10 plants and hang under cover, out of direct sunlight and with good air circulation. You can also lay garlic on wire racks. Don’t leave freshly dug bulbs in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes or they may sunburn (literally cook).
Most garlics store well at room temperature. Ideal storage temperatures are 55-65 degrees and 45%-60% humidity. We recommend a garage, basement, root cellar, or simply just a dark and cool area of the house. Temperatures in the 30’s are OK for table stock but planting stock should not be stored very long at cold temperatures.
The type of garlic is also a factor. Asiatic and Turbans are the shortest storing garlics. Rocamboles and Purple Stripes are medium storing (6 months). Porcelains and Artichoke types can store 8 to 10 months. Silverskins and Creoles will often store up to a full year.
Softnecks take longer to cure because they have layers of cloves. Big, dense bulbs tend to appear dry while retaining moisture in the bulb center. Prevent rot with ample ventilation and humidity below 70%.