When to harvest garlic – the best time to pick your garlic bulbs

Monty Don shows how to 'easily' store elephant garlic

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Garlic is a kitchen cupboard staple, it may be native to Serbia but it is grown and enjoyed around the world today. This versatile crop is related to onions and leaks but this little herb packs far more of a punch as its cloves carry vast amounts of flavour. Sure to jazz up any recipe why not grow this herb at home?

Garlic is a relatively easy herb to grow at home and homegrown garlic tastes unlike anything you would buy in your local supermarket.

Any budding gardener will have some garlic growing in their allotment but when should you harvest these bulbs?

When to harvest garlic

Garlic is normally ready for you to harvest in early summer but the exact timings will depend on when you planted your bulbs.

If you planted your garlic in the Autumn they should be will be ready to harvest in June and July.

Whilst spring-planted garlic bulbs will be ready slightly later.

An easy way to tell when your bulbs are ready is to pay close attention to their leaves.

When the leaves of your plants have started to change colour to yellow and when they start to wither your bulbs should be ready to harvest.

How to harvest garlic

Once you have established your garlic has matured enough simply loosen the bulbs from the soil with a trowel.

Make sure you avoid cutting the bulbs with your trowel as you try to get them out of the ground.

If you cut your garlic this will decrease its shelf life, so be gentle when you extract your bulbs from the ground.

Avoid leaving your bulbs in the ground for too long after the leaves have faded.

As your bulbs could re-sprout if left for too long or they’re more likely to rot when stored.

How to store your bulbs

Once you have harvested your bulbs make sure you leave them somewhere warm and dry to dry out a bit.

Simply brush off any soil once it’s dried before you store your bulbs.

With careful storage, garlic bulbs can keep for up to three months allowing you to have ample garlic gloves through the autumn and early winter.

Light and damp conditions are garlic’s worst enemy, these conditions will easily allow mould to grow on your bulbs.

To keep your bulbs in the best condition possible keep them at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation.

A wire basket in an airy cupboard or pantry would be perfect for your bulbs.

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