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Jun 13, 2009 03:09 AM

growing garlic

I planted hard necked garlic last year. The plants have developed scapes which I will pick today. The leaves on the plants are starting to yellow. It's mid-June in NH, zone 5, is this the right time for this to be happening? Or is something wrong with my plants?

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  1. This seems about right based on experience in Chicago, which is a bit farther south in zone 5. The older leaves turn yellow earlier than the newer leaves. The bulbs are still developing but can be used for delicious fresh garlic if you are willing to sacrifice some size. Fresh garlic is reason enough for me to grow some garlic in my limited space.

    1. I've just harvested a good crop of garlic that I planted in November last year. The lower leaves had yellowed yet the bulbs hadn't flowered which I was sure was supposed to happen. I'm in the SF Bay Area, z9 and I was expecting to harvest it later in August or September. The garlic is huge, perfectly formed, wonderfully fragrant and totally delicious.

      1. Sounds like you're right on schedule. I'm in zone 5, too (Central IL) and I wait until the leaves have fallen over to pull my garlic---probably in 2-3 weeks. Can't wait---my stash from last year is almost gone!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Anne

          Pull some to use as fresh garlic. It is to dried garlic as knob onions are to dried onions, milder with a fresher flavor. Fresh unripe garlic is one of those things you need to grow yourself but is a delight to use.

          1. re: Anne

            How do you cure your garlic after harvesting? This is my first year growing garlic -- all seems well so far. I harvested and ate my scapes -- absolutely amazing!

            1. re: hungry100

              I use a garden fork to help loosen the soil around the bulbs, then "pull" them. Shake off as much dirt as you can. Then lay them out, tops and all, in a single layer on a old window screen propped up with a few bricks---or use your compost screen as I do. Leave them outside in DRY weather out of direct sun for a few days. Once they develop their papery skins, clean off as much of the dirt as you can. Store in a cool, DRY place inside. I hang mine in a mesh bag in my basement.

          2. The Garlic Store's website explains how to grow, harvest, and cure garlic here:

            I have both purchased their garlic bulbs and followed their growing advice and was pleased with the results.

            1 Reply
            1. re: OldSchool

              That is a really good site. My garlic's in north central MA (zone 4-5), we usually harvest around the third week in July. Initially we harvested later, when the leaves fell over, but the paper was too thin. Sounds like you're on schedule. (Actually we're pulling some now just for current use.)