If you planted garlic in the fall, and watched the scapes grow from the ground and finally mature, there will come a point when it’s time to harvest, which is about mid-summer. The plant starts to signal readiness when its leaves begin to turn yellow, then brown. Keep checking on the garlic plant until the leaves closest to the ground have turned brown. Don’t attempt to pull the garlic straight from the ground; you may snap off the leaves which will be necessary for the final step in harvesting. Using a hori hori knife, gently loosen the dirt around the plant, taking care not to stab the bulb underground, and then gently pull it from the soil.
Once you have your garlic in hand, it is not quite ready to eat. It must go through a curing process first. Each clove is surrounded my many sheets of “paper” which need time to dry in order to easily remove for cooking the garlic clove. Curing also helps garlic have a longer storage life. Gather a handful of garlic plants and tie them together with twine. Hang the bunches in a dark and dry place with good air circulation like a garage or shed. Allow the bunches to dry for six to eight weeks. When ready, store your garlic in a cardboard box lined with newspaper in a cool, dark place like a basement. It is such a luxury to have an endless supply of garlic through the winter, especially in a house where most recipes begin with olive oil and garlic in a pan!