Get The Most Out of Your Garlic from Backyard Eats

Harvesting Garlic

Harvest Garlic Scapes
  • In spring (April/May), a central flower stalk appears. This is called the scape, and it’s a tasty early product of hardneck garlic.
  • After the scape has begun to curl over the top of the plant, grasp it where it emerges from the central whorl of leaves
  • Snap or cut the scape off
  • Timely scape removal redirects the plant’s resources to the bulb below ground
Harvest Garlic Bulbs
  • Begin harvest when roughly half the leaves have died back and turned brown

  • Grasp the stem near the base of the plant and pull the entire plant out of the soil

  • If necessary, gently loosen the soil around the bulb
  • Do not dig garlic out with a shovel, as this can inadvertently damage the bulbs

  • Pro Tip: don’t harvest garlic just after its rained, as the wet soil will make the garlic harder to pull

  • Late June – mid-July

Growing Garlic

Garlic is widely used as a flavoring ingredient in many cuisines around the world. It has a pungent and spicy taste, with a strong and distinctive aroma. Garlic is typically used as a seasoning or ingredient, and can be added to dishes either whole, minced, or chopped. It can be used to add depth of flavor to a range of dishes, including soups, stews, curries, marinades, and sauces. It also pairs well with a variety of other ingredients, including onions, tomatoes, and herbs.

Varieties of Garlic:

Garlic ‘German Extra Hardy’ | Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic varieties offer an intense flavor and an early “bonus” harvest in the form of a scape or flower stalk. Elephant garlic is not actually garlic but a member of the onion family.


Storing Garlic

Scape Storage: Store scapes in a bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. They can be kept in a glass with water (and look pretty neat!) for a few days if the water is changed daily.


Garlic Bulb Storage: Garlic can be used fresh (uncured), but won’t store for longer than a couple weeks. Cured  garlic can be stored in a cool, dark, dry place for 4-6 months.


Curing Garlic:

  • Curing garlic lets garlic cloves air out their water content. Once garlic cloves are dry enough for long-term storage, the protective outer laters will turn papery and the cloves can be split apart.

Note: don’t wash garlic before your cure it, as this adds unwanted moisture


  • Store freshly harvested garlic in a hot, dry, dark, and well-ventilated place for a few weeks, using fans to increase air circulation if humidity is especially high.
      • Don’t pile bulbs on top of each other: this prevents air circulation
      • Direct sunlight can also sunburn your garlic
  • Once cured, trim off the roots to 1/4″ and the neck (stem) to 1-3″, then store in cool, dry, dark conditions: ideally 32-41 ℉, 65 –70% humidity. Hardneck garlic (the type we grow) will last 4-6 months if cured properly.

Cooking With Garlic

  1. Garlic Roasted Potatoes: Toss diced potatoes with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until golden and crispy for a flavorful and comforting side dish.
  2. Garlic Shrimp: Sauté shrimp in a pan with minced garlic, butter, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs like parsley or cilantro. Serve over rice or with crusty bread for a quick and tasty seafood dish.
  3. Garlic Butter Green Beans: Sauté trimmed green beans in a pan with minced garlic and butter until they are crisp-tender. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a simple and flavorful side dish.
  4. Garlic Bread: Spread a mixture of minced garlic, butter, and herbs like parsley onto slices of bread. Toast in the oven until golden and fragrant. Serve as a delicious accompaniment to pasta dishes or soups.
  5. Garlic and Herb Marinade: Combine minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and a variety of herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Use the marinade to marinate chicken, beef, or vegetables for added flavor before grilling or roasting.

Try These Garlic Recipes:

Want To Learn More?

At Backyard Eats, we’re passionate about helping our clients discover and share the magic of homegrown good. Our Harvest Guides will teach you everything you need to know to harvest, store, and cook with fresh produce right from your own backyard! Our Harvest Toolkit Directory includes a list of all our step-by-step guides. Click below to give them a try!