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How To Harvest Garlic In Raised Beds

>15 May 2012
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Remember when I was wondering if you can plant store-bought garlic as seed? Well, I harvested my garlic about a week ago, and it was a great success! I thought you might enjoy a short impromptu video of me demonstrating the harvesting process…


If you remember, I planted this garlic from store-bought cloves.

Here is my bed ready to be harvested. The leaves have begun to yellow. You don’t want to wait until the leaves have all died back before you harvest, or your garlic cloves will begin to separate, and the head won’t be a nice, tight bulb.

You can brush the dirt aside to see how big the head is on your bulb before you pull it up.When you harvest, be sure to use a tool to help you pry up the head so that you don’t break the stem. You’ll need the stem intact so that you can string the garlic up to dry.

I was very pleased with the size of my finished garlic!! Most were the same size as the bulbs I purchased from the store for my seed.

I ended up harvesting 101 good sized heads, and a handful of smaller bulbs. Pretty darn good if you ask me, considering I started out with only nine heads for seed!

We’ve hung them to dry in our workshop for several weeks. To prepare them, all we did was gently brush the dirt from the bulbs and strung them up in bunches of five. DO NOT wash the bulbs before hanging, as this could encourage mold.

After they’ve dried well enough, I’ll braid them for storage. That’ll be another post. (Update: Oops! Looks like you’re supposed to braid your garlic BEFORE you dry it. Guess I’ll show you how to do that next time around!)


Are you a pro at harvesting garlic? Have any tips to share??

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  • Dana said:

    Sweet!! I planted some store bought garlic as well and its growing nicely!! Can’t wait till harvest time!!!


  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen said:

    Wow…look at all that garlic! My grandpa said garlic is one of the easiest things to grow…maybe I’ll try it someday.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    It really is Denise! This is definitely my favorite crop to grow, simply for the ease of it!

  • Michelle said:

    Okay this may be a silly question but what part of the store bought garlic do you plant?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    The link was in the text, but here you go again :) This will explain the whole process! http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2011/10/how-to-plant-garlic/

  • Michelle said:

    Lol. I see it now. Please excuse my pregnant fog. I have been a real ditz lately. : )

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Yay for babies!!! Congratulations, Michelle!! That is super exciting :)

  • Michelle said:

    Thanks! We are super excited!

  • daisy said:

    I’m gonna have to check out that tutorial on planting and check my area for the best time to plant. Congrats! What a great harvest!

  • Emily said:

    A very timely post for me. Our garlic is HUGE and I was beginning to wonder about how and when to harvest it. We are in zone 5 but with our warm winter, everything is about 1 month ahead of schedule.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s great, Emily!! I hope you have a wonderful harvest!! I’m curious what kind of garlic you chose to plant.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    For us, Zone 7, we can plant in early Spring or Fall.

  • Sandra said:

    I also started mine from store bought several years ago. Keep some of the bigger heads for planting next seasons crop.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Definitely, Sandra!! I plan on keeping myself going from here :)

  • Debbie@ouroldhomestead.blogpspot.com said:

    What a fantastic crop you harvested!

  • Bodhi said:

    Very cool! Thank you for sharing!

  • LindaG said:

    That is fantastic! Congratulations on your wonderful harvest!

  • Laurie B said:

    Kendra, wonderfully helpful post – thank you!!! This goes perfect with the Rosemary Garlic potato recipe I posted yesterday – thanks a bunch!! Can’t wait to try it!

  • monique said:

    I planted garlic this year for the first time. It’s not time to harvest, but thanks for the step-by-step instructions. I’m anxious to see how it turns out. I don’t think the onions are doing much, so, hopefully, the garlic will make up for it.

  • Sara said:

    Wow… I’m just… wow! So impressed! That’s really really cool. Excited to see your tutorial on braiding and storage. Congratulations on your awesome harvest!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thanks, Sara!! I. LOVE. GARLIC. ;)

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    Up here in MI we are a little bit behind you, I am looking forward to seeing what my garlic will do! :)

  • Chuck and Mary Ann said:

    Hi Kendra,
    Thanks so much for this Information on growing garlic! My husband and I have a couple questions: regarding the raised bed, how deep is it? Also we live in Terre Haute, Indiana, which has typical Midwest weather-very cold in the winter (except for this past winter) and very hot and humid in the summer. What is your opinion as to when to plant? We have read different information. Thanks so much!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Chuck and Mary Ann!

    The soil in our raised bed is only about five inches deep. It doesn’t have a bottom on it though, so the roots grew into the ground below- which is red clay. We are in the southeast, and also have mildly cold winters and very hot, humid summers. I planted in Fall and it worked out great for us. I’d say do it in early Fall. Never hurts to experiment until you find out what works best for you ;) Blessings!

  • Jamie said:

    We’ve grown garlic professionally for more then 15 years. In zone 5 we plant the middle of October and usually harvest around the 4th of July, give or take. A good rule of thumb is when there are 4-5 layers of peel left over the cloves then they are ready to harvest. Any earlier and they just weren’t completely filled out. Any later and you risk having the head fall apart when you harvest. The garlic in the store is more then likely a soft neck garlic (necessary for braiding). There are many types of garlic available with the soft necks being the mildest but also the longest storing.

  • carrie said:

    I planted garlic a few years ago and my heads are like extremely tiny like not even the size of a dime. I have left it in the grow hoping it would get bigger in time but not

  • Hope said:

    Hi Kendra, Just braid the garlic like you would french braid your girls hair. I love your site. Come visit us on facebook-Miracle Farm Homestead.Blessings

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