Garlic is one of those things where timing is everything, and the harvest period can span from late spring through late summer, depending on the weather and the variety of garlic grown. But since the bulbs are all underground, how can you really tell when your garlic is ripe for the pickin’? The answer is It’s all in the leaves.

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Garlic bulbs, remain below ground during development. The trick of knowing when to harvest garlic is looking at how many leaves are left on the plant. Each leaf above ground indicates a layer of protective paper wrapped around the bulb. A garlic plant with 10 green leaves, for example, will have 10 layers of bulb wrappers. While there’s no standard number of leaves that garlic should have, a reliable harvest indicator is when half the leaves have died off, and half are still green. The leaves start to die off from the bottom up.

How Do You Pick Garlic From the Store?

So regardless of when you buy it, try to pick the freshest head possible.It should feel firm and not hollow or dehydrated. Pick the bulb up and give it a light squeeze to be sure none of the outside cloves are too soft or dry. Try to select bulbs that don’t have the sprouts forming it is an indicator that the garlic is old.

How to Store Picked Garlic?

Keeping your garlic cool and dry is imperative, so avoid moisture and do not refrigerate it. Moisture can cause the cloves to develop mold and therefore rot. You can leave it on your counter or keep it in a paper bag in a dark cabinet.

For more Information on how to pick garlic visit us at the 8th Annual Toronto Garlic Festival on Sunday, September 16, 2018, 9am to 5pm at Artscape Wychwood Barns – 601 Christie Street at St Clair Ave West, Toronto. Admission is only $5!