When to pick garlic?

Planted the garlic end of last summer in central NY.
Just picked one and it looks very nice except that the stem is still green and big diameter.
Usually we wait until the stems die down but when we then pick them the outer skins have cracked and do not look good. But the stems are dry and easy to twist closed.
How can I tell if I should pick the garlic?
Thank
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Frank wrote:

mine in last October in Poughkeepsie (zone 5b), NY and pulled them the first week of this month. Not sure why yours would be so far behind but <shrug>.
--
Steve

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Are the outer skins cracked or smooth like in the stores?
thanks

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Frank wrote:

Mine were smooth
--
Steve

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Thanks for the info

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We are just in the process of harvesting our garlic. The system that works for us is to harvest the garlic when many of the lower leaves have turned brown but, when there are still 4 or 5 green leaves left at the top of the plant. Each of these top green leaves translates to one layer of the wrapper around the bulb. If you wait until all the leaves have turned brown there will be no protective wrappers and the cloves will all be exposed. In this condition the bulbs will store very poorly. Another point, when you are harvesting your garlic, don't leave the bulbs out in the sun for more than a few minutes. Store them in a shaded area with lots of ventilation.
Ross. Southern Ontario, Canada. AgCanada Zone 5b 43 17' 28.63" North 80 13' 28.55" West To email, remove the "obvious" from my address.
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That make a lot of sense. I'd say most or ours match that criteria but the stems are not at all dry and 1/2 inch in diameter. Is it still OK to pick. Will the stems dry and shrink after picking or will the garlic rot through them?
Thanks

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After you dig up your garlic, leave all the roots, stems and leaves intact. Tie them into bundles of about 10 plants each and hang them in a shaded airy place with good ventilation. They will take at least three weeks to cure properly. After that you can trim off the roots and cut off the stems. Store the cured garlic in mesh onion bags, indoors in a cool dry area. DO NOT store in the refrigerator as this will make them sprout.
Ross Southern Ontario, Canada. AgCanada Zone 5b 43 17' 28.63" North 80 13' 28.55" West To email, remove the "obvious" from my address.
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