After harvesting my garlic, is there any trick to preserving
what I want to replant in the fall. Usually it get all dried
out and dies on me by then. Put it in the refrigerator?
I stored the garlic I grew in the garden in a bowl on the table ...
after properly curing it (strung and hung for a couple of months IIRC) .
It stayed good enough to use (or plant) for close to 2 years . BTW , I
planted cloves from some Walmart garlic , came out swell . Use the
biggest cloves for the biggest bulbs .
You'd think that Walmart would carry the substandard stuff,
but I am not finding that to be the case. Even their green
And they sell the same brand (Bonnie) from the same truck of
potted plants as does everyone else at 1/2 the price.
Maybe Wal Mart could not find a Chinese supplier?
After garlic is harvested it needs to be cured. In curing
the energy from the leaves goes into the bulbs as they dry.
Uhhh. I harvest them when the leaves die off.
Remove any chunks of dirt from the roots, being careful not
to bruise the garlic. Leave the roots on as they have a
moderating effect on the drying rate.
I have been removing the roots. Ooops.
If you have a small amount you can spread the plants out where
they are protected from the sun and rain and there is good
Wire rack in teh garage. Lots of air circulates through it in
the summer and it is usually dark
We hang the plants - about 25 to 40 to a string in bunches
of 3 to 6.
No leaves left to tie up.
spring bulbs will send out roots the
previous season as soon as they can get
going. if it is dry they will wait for
here they may start actively growing
any chance they get in the winter but
even if they don't when the spring comes
around and the warmer weather and some
rains they'll come up and start growing.
you mention that you are waiting for
all the leaves to die back before lifting
the garlic, but you shouldn't let it go
that long as the tunics (wrappings around
the bulb) may not be in the best condition
if you wait that long. you should instead
lift it when about half the leaves are
going brown and finish curing it above
my garlic here isn't even close to being
done yet, not much sun and too much rain
i don't think there are scapes yet or they
may just now be starting to form.
in the clay here i have to lift them
or the tunics get discolored.
i have however, many places where garlic
just grows and i don't touch it at all.
so in case my main plantings go bad i have
a backup source to start over again. it's
also what i did up and eat when i want
some green garlic.
About 1/5 of the leaves have started to die out. I will
check at 1/2!
They already went to scapes, which I am currently munching on.
Is scaping any indicator?
How about onions? Wait for the leave to all die or half die?
if you have enough bulbs growing you can pull one
when about 1/3 of the leaves are turning and then
see how it looks. i think there is some variability
within garlics that some may finish sooner than
others and such. once you get some experience then
i've made the mistake of letting it go too long
and that affects how well it cures and stores.
i try to get onions out of the ground after a
lot of the leaves have fallen over. again it can
be dependent upon what variety. some need a good
cure to store well so i want them out of the
gardens and cured well before it gets too cool or
wet in the fall. most are done when it gets hot
and dry here so that can be ok. other onions do
not store well so you want to eat them before
they'll go bad.
for flowers the next season leave a few of the
smaller onions so they can grow again. :) then
you'll have all the seeds you want.
Do you wash off the dirt, which can be prodigious, or
just wipe them?
On the seeds, do you just cut the heads off when the seeds
start to harden?
How do you store the seeds?
And when do you plant the seeds?
i try to stop watering them a week before lifting.
most of the dirt can come off with a little bit of
shaking what is left is mostly on the roots so i leave
that alone to dry and then cut it off later when the
bulb has cured. i cut it a bit away from the bulb so
i don't bruise the bulb with the cutters. at this time
i also remove the one outer layer of tunic which might
have some dirt on it so that it is now cleaned up and
so it won't drop dirt where i store them.
this is for both onions and garlic at the point where
they've been cured/dried.
if i don't want the seeds to spread around i'll cut
the tops off and dry them fully in box tops so i can
harvest and give away the seeds.
cool dry location. they are not good for long
otherwise. i haven't tried freezing them yet nor do
i plan on it.
they should be viable immediately. so if you want
to start some for the next season you can plant them
outside where you want them right before your next
fall rains happen. some should start up and then the
cold will stop them and the small bulbs will be in
place and ready to go for the following spring.
if you want to have starts ready for the following
spring you can do them inside. i've not done that
here. i just plant a long row or two of seeds in
the early spring and thin them as needed. the larger
bulbs that form are eaten. the smaller bulbs i left
to grow and flower.
this year i have only one kind of onion flowering
now as the patch i'd had planted with onions before
i finally got cleared so now there is only the bunching
onions which have yellow flowers. my chives are done
and Mom cuts those back hard to keep them from spreading
the large sweet onions we plant are done from starts
that the greenhouse does. we put them in hard clay
this year so i'm not sure they'll do all that great.
the garlic i grow here is acclimated to the clay
enough that no matter where i grow it it seems to do
ok. the wetter summers and clay can make a challenge
for harvesting, if the ground is wet i'll just wash
the bulbs off when lifted since they are already
wet. then i dry them well to get ready for storage.
garlic doesn't get exposed to the sun when curing.
onions can take a bit more light and heat to cure so
i'm not as careful with them.
...re onion seeds...
for regular onions i cut the heads off and put
them in cardboard box tops or flats to finish drying
in only one layer so they won't get fungi and i also
turn them once in a while to make sure they're getting
evenly dried out. i know it is time when i see the
first seeds start to show (when the seed pods start
to crack open and you see the black seeds in them).
this is the first time i've got bunching onions
to grow here and i'm not sure the seed heads are
the same for these as regular onions yet. they're
still flowering and covered with bees. :)
chives i have grown before and those are a bit
different than regular onions in that the seeds
seem pretty quick to fall.
for the bunching onions the only reason i have them
growing now is that a friend mailed me some of his
plants. i am never planning on growing any from seeds
because these plants will divide easily and keep
growing even after eating some of them i expect to
have plenty of divisions to do a whole line of them
for the next round.
the seeds from the bunching onions i'll give away
at the seed swap - that's the only reason i'm
harvesting them and drying them out when they're
ready. i'll know in a week or two if they are more
like chives or regular onions or what.
so far i'm pretty impressed by how well they've
grown and the deer, rabbits, etc. have been leaving
when i've tried to grow bunching onions from seeds
in the past i've not had very good luck, but i always
direct sow seeds in the garden and they could have
been too old of seeds anyways.
i've had reasonably good enough luck with the fresh
onion seeds i've harvested myself here. i threw away
several ounces of seeds last year because i could not
use it all and nobody wanted it. by throwing away i
mean feeding to the worms as i don't throw much away
here if i can help it. all organic matter is welcome. :)