Here at WeeBee Farms the garlic is late due to a cooler than usual Late Winter and Spring. July 1st is usually the magic day, but not this year. As of July 5th we have just picked the softnecks, and a couple other types, but a lot of it won't be harvested til July 10th or later.
So how can you tell when it's ready?
The general rule of thumb is to pick when half the leaves are brown, but 40% brown is actually ideal, for longer storage of your garlic. (Each leaf represents one layer of wrapper on the bulb). The trick is to make sure to count the leaves at the bottom that have already dried up and may have fallen off.
|3 brown leaves at the bottom|
See the photo of this garlic with 3 dried up leaves at the bottom.
Smaller garlic dries up faster so gets picked earlier. If yours is still all green and has big thick stems, it may turn out to be huge! We have some huge garlic here too.
You may gain a bit more size by leaving your garlic in the ground longer, but I've found that it also gains considerable size on the drying racks if you leave the stems on while they dry.
If you leave it in the ground too long the wrappers will deteriorate and your garlic won't store long and may start to spread open.
|Picked these softnecks already|
Softneck garlics will start to fall over if you wait too long, so I pick those earlier. This Inchelium Red softneck is long-storing and I want to keep it that way! I picked it with 3 brown leaves, 2 yellow leaves and 4 green leaves.
Watering before harvest- We generally don't water much in the week before harvest so the soil won't be too wet. If the soil is very hard and dry we water lightly a couple of days before harvest unless significant rain is predicted.
A special note- the "Turban" garlics mature 2-3 weeks earlier and were fully ripe and harvested on June 16th.
All in all it is a fantastic garlic year at WeeBee Farms, and we are SO grateful. We will be back at the Boulder Farmers Markt selling garlic soon. And we'll be in Longmont in September for a market too, so Stay Tuned!
|To be picked tomorrow|