If any of you are like me, you are getting excited about your first garlic harvest. Your scapes have curled and looped, and maybe you have even broken off a few and roasted them up for dinner (we have and man were they delicious!).
And now you may be feeling nervous about the right time to pull your bulbs from the ground (or you may be very confident because you have done this before, and if you are please comment and give us newbies some tips!).
A little internet research and questioning of my sister (who’s partner is an organic farmer!) have led me to these answers I am about to share with you:
1. According to http://www.gardenbetty.com- the trick is in the leaves. When half of the leaves have died off (browned) and the other half remain green, it is time. She also cautions, “It’s a good idea to lightly dig into the soil around the bulb (taking care not to damage any of the wrappers or cloves) and check its size without digging the whole thing up. If the bulb looks small, pat the soil back down and wait a few days before you check again. If the bulb looks substantial, the wrappers tight, and the cloves well-formed, it’s ready to be pulled.”
Read more: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2011/07/the-trick-of-knowing-when-to-harvest-garlic/#ixzz2WsDgBTmu
2. Another site https://www.garlicfarm.ca/garlic-harvesting-pospisil.htm tells us to stop watering around the 1st of July and after the scapes have been broken off so that the bulbs can mature.
3. The organic farmer (partner of my sister) says water one last time right about now with liquid fertilizer (sounds intimidating to me!) and harvest a month later. So I did a little research on organic liquid fertilizer and found this advice from an LA blogger: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-make-your-own-organic-liquid-fertilizer/
And for those of us who are a bit lazier (I venture to put myself in this category) Urban Harvest Toronto sells Worm Castings Tea (http://www.uharvest.ca/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=26&products_id=306). You mix it with 4 litres of water and it can be used to substitute watering twice a month to improve yields in our containers (not just the size of our garlic bulbs).
Personally, as always, I still feel a little ambivalent about adding a new element into my gardening routine, but I am thinking about trying it……