mattie g
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Harvesting garlic after rain

I mentioned in this thread a couple weeks ago (https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =4&t=53212) that my bed of Inchelium Red had been trampled and was wondering whether I should pull them or not after the "damage" done. Thanks to the feedback I got, I left them in the ground, and they haven't shown any obvious signs of distress.

That comes to my question for today: Is it OK to harvest garlic after a good rain?

In checking my Inchelium Red on Friday afternoon, I figured I'd harvest it this past weekend, since it showed all the signs of being ready to be pulled. Being the weather geek that I am, I checked the forecast guidance and determined I should be able to pull it on Saturday morning, what with a 40% chance of showers and storms that day. Lo and behold, we instead got about 1.5" of rain that started just as I woke up. Needeless to say, I didn't pull them whn I had intended.

So...what's the "rule" on harvesting garlic after a good rain? We've had a pretty wet spring/early summer so far, and while the soil is quite damp, it's not waterlogged, even after the dumping on Saturday. With high humidity and a chance of storms over the next couple days, is it better to pull them from the damp ground now, or should I wait to see if it dries out a bit and then pull it? I'm in no rush, but I don't want to leave the garlic in the ground too long and chance them becoming more usceptible to rot later on if i can help it.

gumbo2176
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

It is best to harvest garlic when the ground is dry. Matter of fact, just about everything I've read about it says to hold back watering so the bulbs won't be wet and this will allow them to dry quicker and have less chance of mold building up in the bulbs while drying.

mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

I understand the ideal situation is to harvest when it's dry, but given the circumstances, which is the bigger risk: Harvesting from the currently damp ground or taking a gamble that we'll have enough dry weather in the next few days to allow it to dry out? My concern about the latter is that the bulbs may end up being in the damp ground for a long time if we do get some more rain.

gumbo2176
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

Yeah, you have a dilemma going on. Do you take it out now while the soil is damp or wait for it to dry hoping no more rain comes.

My elephant garlic was picked when the soil was dry and it dried well. My red chesnok wasn't mature enough at that time so I let it remain in the raised bed where I have it planted. Frequent rains of a couple days a week for a couple weeks on end and that was enough for the heads to start to rot due to too much dampness that started root rot.

What does the weatherman say is in the forecast? Not that I put much faith into their predictions, but it is a base to go by.

As for harvesting, how are the bulbs doing? Are there individual cloves that have matured or are they still developing and looking more like a small onion bulb with little definition of cloves?

mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

You've got it exactly right, gumbo. It really is a dilemma. Pull them when they're damp or possibly pull them when they've been damper for longer while ready to be harvested?

The forecast is for a 40% chance of showers and storms the next couple days, followed by a day or so of clearing, then a chance of more showers and storms. So far today it's been partly to mostly sunny and warm, but quite humid - no storms yet, but there are some out to our west right now.

A quick look at a few bulbs shows that they're in pretty good shape and are pretty well bulbed up. They're laying nearly flat on the ground now and the tops have started to brown. I'm fairly certain that they're ready to come up now, but how long can I wait? :?

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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

I'm having the same issues. I was thinking of going around halway lifting them out if the ground with garden/spade fork. That may help them to dry out quicker between rainfalls....
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mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

Good idea, apple. I don't have a garden fork, but it's easy enough to go around with a trowel and do much the same thing. If we get more rain today, I may give that a whirl. If we don't, I'll check them when I get home from work and make a gametime decision on whether to harvest them or not.

mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

I decided to leave them in the ground for now. Looking a little closer, they're not crying to be harvested, and they might benefit (or at least won't be harmed) from another week in the ground - the bulbs are decently sized and look pretty strong at this point. I did pull back the hardwood mulch that has been around them since early spring - that should go quite a ways to help dry out the ground a little. I did the same to my Music bed.

More to come...

mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

Well...I just couldn't help myself. :P After looking at the forecast and other weather guidance today, I decided I might as well get them out of the ground. We're looking at the chance of multiple inches of rain over the next week, so that made my decision for me when all was said and done. And, upon harvesting, I think I made the right decision.

See this post (https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 60#p305860) for pics. Not too shabby for my first real go 'round at growing garlic!

Lorri
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

For two years in a row I've had to harvest my hard-neck garlic in wet/soaked conditions. It did fine and stored very well-9 months. I made sure to hang it for a long time to get it all dried out. I put mine on strings and let them air dry for at least a week and half. I used any damaged ones first and I got zero mold on the others. Good luck, :D

mattie g
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

Thanks, Lorri.

Being in the shed with a fan blowing on them, I'm expecting them to dry out pretty well despite the high humidity. I don't think the individual cloves will be big enough to use as seed garlic this fall, so I'll have plenty on hand to cook with!

btrowe1
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Re: Harvesting garlic after rain

Like to post something to this thread so as not to start another, 1st time garlic grower and its growing well? I would guess? over 2' tall and very sturdy, the scapes came and I waited for the 1 and a 1/2 turns then cut them.I'm trying to hold off on the watering but mother nature seems to want to water us every day here in the NE. Here's my question my garlic is now turning brown from the bottom, 1st outer leaves, I guess this is how garlic goes, Not like onions which go from top down, but from bottom up is this correct??

If so I wait till 3 or 4 are brown a bit up then pull??



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