Last October I planted soft neck garlic bulbs (no scapes for me) and have really ignored them, except to weed, until now. Uncured garlic bulbs are tender and easy to damage. Instinct tells you to pull up the bulb by the leaves but this could bruise the bulbs or break the stems, which you need to hang your bulbs to cure. I use a pitch fork to gently remove the bulbs from the earth.
Once all the bulbs are harvested, I tie them into groups of ten or so and hang them in my garage. My soil is sandy loam and will easily brush off the bulbs when they are dry so I hang them 'as is"! My garage is a good place for curing because the bulbs are out of direct sunlight and we keep the door open so they get good air circulation. Some people lay them out flat in one layer on their porches. Depending on the amount of humidity, curing could take anywhere from three to eight weeks.They are done when the plants are completely dry and brown.
If you plan on braiding your garlic, do that before the leaves are completely brown as that is when they will be easiest to weave. Once cured, you can cut off the roots and the leaves, if not weaving, and brush off the dirt. Save the best looking heads to plant for next year's crop and keep the rest in a cold, dry, dark spot.
I have not done this, but apparently you can freeze whole unpeeled cloves. I think I will try this this year!
How do you cure your garlic and where do you store it once cured? I'm trying to decide on the best spot.
See you in the garden,
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