When To Harvest Hardneck Garlic (A Gardener’s Guide)

The first step in harvesting garlic is to dry it.

Softneck garlic should be dry for at least two weeks. To tell when garlic is ready, look for wrinkled skins and wiry roots.

When harvesting hardneck garlic, cut the stems a few inches above the head, then brush off the dirt.

When harvesting braided softneck garlic, trim the roots to about one inch below the head.

Hardneck garlic

Harvesting hardneck garlic is an important process for ensuring quality garlic.

Harvesting can be best done when the bottom three or four leaves have begun to brown and are drooping to the ground.

This is about a month before the bulb reaches full maturity. If harvested too early, the garlic bulb will be smaller than normal and the cloves will pop out of their protective wrappers.

Hardneck garlic produces a bulbil body at the center of the leaf whorl. Leaving this bulbil body on the plant reduces the size of the eventual bulb by 48%, according to a University of Maine study.

However, this won’t interfere with in-season growth or the storage life of the harvested bulb. Harvesting the bulbil body before the scape develops can help the plant produces a larger bulb.

After harvesting hardneck garlic, place it in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat.

The hardneck garlic bulbs should be allowed to dry for at least three or four weeks before being stored. During this time, the bulbs should not be washed and left intact.

Hardneck garlic varieties require a cold snap in order to germinate. If your climate is dry, planting garlic during the fall is recommended.

Once planted, water the plant only when needed, and you should stop watering your garlic completely once it starts to yellow. To know if your garlic is ready for harvesting, look for yellow tips.

This is a sign that it’s time to harvest. Once the tips have yellowed, harvesting is an easy process.

The time to harvest hardneck garlic depends on the variety, soil, and weather conditions. While some varieties are ready for harvesting in early spring, others are ready to be harvested in mid-July. Some varieties can even be harvested in May.

For fall planted garlic harvesting is usually delayed by a few weeks. In fall, harvesting is usually done in early September or October. There are several varieties of softneck garlic that are ready as early as May.

After harvesting, the garlic should be stored in a cool dark area. The optimum storage temperature is about 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It should not be stored in plastic bags or mesh bags.

Braiding softneck garlic

If you want to braid your garlic but are unsure when to start, you can always try braiding softneck garlic.

The leaves are flexible, so they can be braided several times. The more times you braid, the easier it is to do. Braided softneck garlic will last up to 6 months.

Softneck garlic should be cured for three to five weeks before braiding. Be sure to remove any twigs or leaves from the stems before braiding.

You may also want to cut off the bulbs’ roots if they are very long, as they may interfere with the drying process.

You should dry the garlic in a cool, dark place. Afterwards, prepare the bulbs by gently rubbing off the outer layer of dirt and trimming the roots. This will help prevent the garlic braids from falling apart.

After preparing the braid, lay the garlic out with the leaves facing toward you. Start with the largest and smallest bulbs. When braiding, try to place two bulbs across each other. Then, add a bulb in the middle of the left and right stalks.

You can also braid garlic in a trio. You can braid three bulbs on a single braid. Be sure to cut any extra twine that comes from the braiding process.

Traditionally, garlic was stored in braids, which allowed them to dry and retain their freshness longer. Braiding garlic also prevents them from becoming moldy, which increases the shelf life of the bulbs.

Many ancient cultures used braiding techniques. Today, it is largely a decorative practice and helps to store the garlic in a more convenient manner.

Braided garlic can be used interchangeably with traditional garlic. However, fresh braided garlic should be used from the top of the braid. This will keep the braid intact. The braids last up to two years. This is a great ornamental option, although it cannot be guaranteed for food preparation.

Planting softneck garlic

Planting softneck garlic is an excellent choice for warmer climates. Unlike hardneck garlic, softneck varieties can tolerate more dying leaves before harvest.

They also have a more durable wrapper. Some growers choose to wait until half the garlic plants fall over before harvesting. This practice increases the garlic’s shelf life.

To harvest garlic, cut off the tops and roots, and let it dry for two weeks. Remove any remaining dirt and papery skin. Then, separate the cloves into 10 to 12 bundles. Tie the bundle securely with twine. When the stems dry, the heads will have no dirt.

Softneck garlic has a soft stem and many cloves in one head. Unlike hardneck garlic, softneck garlic isn’t covered with floral stems but instead develops a single row of cloves wrapped in a papery sheath. Unlike hardneck garlic, softneck varieties don’t develop flower stalks, making them ideal for braiding garlic.

Once you’ve harvested the heads of other garlic varieties, you can plant bulbils of the hardneck type. The garlic bulbils will take about two years to mature.

You can place them in shallow soil in the fall, planting them 1/2 inches deep, about 2 inches apart. The next year, you can plant the bulbils in the spring. As long as you check them periodically, you should be able to harvest the garlic in the fall or early spring.

During the growing season, you can apply nitrogen-based fertilizer to the bed. This helps the plants withstand cold weather and protects them from frost heaves.

A thick layer of mulch is also a great way to prevent winter weeds. In addition, it protects the garlic from harsh conditions. You should keep the mulch in place to discourage critters from destroying the crops.

Harvesting garlic depends on the number of dying leaves on the plant. The lower leaves of the plant should be brown and papery.

This signal that the garlic is ready for harvesting. If you wait too long, the cloves may burst out of the skin, making them susceptible to disease. Also, if you wait too long, the bulbs may be susceptible to mold, reducing their shelf life.

Harvesting softneck garlic

Harvesting softneck garlic is very similar to harvesting hardneck garlic. First, loosen the soil around the garlic’s neck with a garden fork.

Then, carefully pull it by the neck. While harvesting, be careful not to puncture the garlic head – a punctured head will not store well. To store the harvested garlic, place it between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the garlic heads have been removed, braid the stalks to store them in a cool, dark, dry place.

Harvesting softneck garlic is easier than harvesting hardneck varieties. Because softneck garlic grows with more cloves per bulb, it’s easier to handle and store.

Its stalk is flexible, allowing it to be braided, and it keeps its flavor longer than hardneck garlic. Once the bulb is mature, it will keep for up to nine months.

Softneck garlic takes about 90 days to mature. It is usually grown in groups of four to five cloves. Once the garlic is mature, it will have a yellow stem, which means it’s ready for harvesting.

Softneck garlic is usually harvested after summer is over. You can also save the bulbs for winter use. It is a good choice for colder climates, as it doesn’t require as much care as hardneck varieties.

Harvesting softneck garlic is similar to harvesting hardneck garlic, and curing and storage is similar.

Softneck garlic is easy to store, and the stems are braided to keep it neatly together. You should also take note of when the garlic starts to grow. Harvesting garlic in late fall and early winter will allow you to store it for nine to twelve months.


After harvesting softneck garlic, you should allow it to dry out for two weeks. Its skin should be wrinkled and the roots should be wiry. Cut the stems and roots close to the head and remove dirt before storing them.

Then, you can braid the cloves and store them in a dark, cool place with adequate air circulation.

Harvesting softneck garlic is a simple process. The greens are braided, and the soft surface of the braid prevents bruising of the bulbs. If the flowers are dry enough, add them to the braids as well.

Be sure to leave some space for the flowers to dry before harvesting. Once the bulbs have cured, they can be trimmed off any leaves.