Garlic should be harvested when the foliage begins to dry. In Iowa, garlic is typically harvested in August. Using a garden fork or shovel, carefully dig the bulbs with the foliage still attached. Dry the garlic in a warm, well-ventilated location for 3 to 4 weeks. Place the garlic on an elevated wire screen or slotted tray to promote drying. When properly cured, cut off the dry foliage 1/2 to 1 inch above the bulbs. Also, trim off the roots and brush off any loose soil. Place the bulbs in a mesh bag and store in a cool (32 to 40 F), dry (60 to 70% relative humidity) location. Properly cured and stored garlic should keep for 6 to 7 months.
An alternate way to store garlic is to braid the foliage together immediately after harvest, dry, then hang the braided garlic in a cool, dry location.
This article originally appeared in the July 27, 2001 issue, p. 96.
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