Garlic Harvest is Over

August is our busiest month.

August is when everything happens at on once. CSA and market harvests are going strong with a full array of crops to pick and wash. We’re still  planting leafy greens, radishes, and lettuce . Seed crops are ready to harvest and there’s nowhere to put them until we thresh and  clean the previously pulled crops.  And the storage crops are coming in, specifically onions and garlic that not need only harvesting but quite a bit of cleaning too. Not to mention those few little weeds that escaped earlier in the season and aren’t so little anymore, or the cover crops that need to be seeded to put on enough growth before winter, or the freshly delivered manure pile that we need to spread to be ahead of next spring’s game.

August is also wedding time. My co-farmer Fred got married last Saturday – the second wedding I’ve attended this summer. And of course, there’s typing up these blog posts. I need a strong little dose of intention to get them from my roaming brain to the computer screen. And I almost forgot canning, freezing and putting food by.

August is the time of year where we make priorities and try not to compromise anything by letting too much slide.

One task that comes near the top of the list is bringing the garlic in on time.


We started harvested on July 20th (4 days earlier than usual) and finished on August 2nd (6 days early). I usually stretch the harvest out to catch each garlic strain at it’s perfect maturity period. This year they all seemed ready at once and I wasn’t always sure what to pull first. We had a nice period of sunny weather that gave us a bit of flexibility and just as the forecast turned rainy we brought the last bulbs in.

We’ve broken up the harvest into a number of jobs.

One person loosens the garlic plants with the broadfork.

Most of the team pulls the plants from the ground …

and lays them down gently in piles of five.

One person puts three piles of five together and ties them up with baler twine.

On the left: 3 piles of five. On the right: a tied bunch of fifteen plants.

We pile up our trusty wagon and drive it to the barn.

We bring the garlic inside and place the bunches on the ground prior to hanging them up.

The bunches are hooked on nails on the walls. Each nail holds four bunches in addition to a blue a string that holds another 4 bunches.

Then the garlic cleaning race begins!

8 thoughts on “Garlic Harvest is Over

  1. We were considering buying a few new varieties of garlic from a local farmer for planting and they told my wife that it would need to be “treated” first. I was wondering if you could tell me what that means? Your garlic looks amazing.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the question.

      I wonder if what your local farmer meant by “treating” would be curing. To store well, garlic (just like onions, squash and potatoes) needs to be cured. This is a process where the stem dries down slowly and seals the neck of the bulb. This keeps disease out and traps all the garlic juices inside. (In potatoes and squash, curing involves the skin getting harder and any small wounds healing.)

      It takes at least 2-4 weeks from harvest for garlic to be adequately cured. It depends a lot on weather conditions and temperature – hot and dry being optimal. I check to see whether the garlic is ready for further processing by cutting a few bulb from their stems. If the stems are moist or green inside then the garlic isn’t cured and needs more curing time.

      Uncured garlic will often store for a couple months but won’t store into next spring. Garlic for planting doesn’t need to be cured. However, uncured garlic might not always make it in top shape till planting time.

      Well, that’s my take on what “treating” garlic means.

  2. Great blog Dan! I don’t know how you have time to blog, but I sure am happy about it! see you next tuesday at the pick up
    Gen (with the twins…we get your CSA basket)

    1. Hi Eli,

      I don’t mind if you use my photos as long as you credit me and that you aren’t generating profit from them.

      Thanks for asking,

      1. I will credit your bolg under each photo. I am not generating profit. My blog is free and has no adds. Everything I write is free for download from my website.

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