[Market-farming] Re: Garlic curing

Alliums garlicgrower at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 1 09:36:45 EDT 2004

Emily wrote:

>Sorry if I just missed someone addressing this in the past few emails, but 
>I'm harvesting garlic for  the first time- can someone give me a very 
>detailed rundown of their process for curing it?

Get this book:

Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small 
L. Engelland   ISBN: 0963085018

Read it with a highlighter -- Engelland knows his stuff (even more than me! 
;-D), but he gets wordy and poetic at times, so without a highlighter, it's 
a bear to reference items quickly.

Meanwhile, here are Darrell Merrell's tips:


>I have what I've harvested so far spread out on a greenhouse table in my 
>barn with the door open and fans on.

As long as it's out of the sun, you're probably okay.  Since I don't have a 
barn to hang it from, I use racks for better airflow.

>I don't intend to braid the tops, so can I cut the roots and tops off in 
>the field before drying?

If you cut off the roots, it won't dry properly.  If you cut off the tops, 
you'll lose all the nutrients in the leaves.  Leave the whole plant to 
cure, then trim.

>I was planning on spreading the garlic out on greenhouse tables I moved 
>into my barn, can I layer it or will that impeed the process?

Airflow is *everything* in curing -- I would not layer the plants.

>I have a lot so I think I will hang some too, is there a right way to do 

If you've got a barn, I'd hang the plants -- they just get better airflow 
that way.  Check out Darrell's tips and other folks can chime in here on 
how they hang their plants.

>Is that a reason to keep the tops on so I can tie them up?

During the curing process, all the nutrients in the leaves go down into the 
bulb. Lose the tops, lose those nutrients.  Plus, you'd probably get neck rot.

>Or can I throw the fresh bulbs in a mesh bag and hang the whole bag?

Bad airflow.  Don't do this until the garlic is completely cured.

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460 
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