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Any tips for looking after garlic in its final weeks? I know you shouldn't overwater in case the bulbs rot but presumably they also need water to swell? how often are garlic growers watering them?

also, when do people find you can typically harvest? Mine are still pretty green, although lower leaves are def yellowing and going brown. A few have flopped but I think my youngest son is to blame there...

the elephant garlic (leeks!) have just grown scapes which I snipped off. Does that mean they're not too far off..?


I dug 2 up the other week, 1 hard neck and 1 elephant, neither were ready yet. I'm thinking of trying again in a week. Usually since I plant in October they are ready mid June, but this year the weather has been pretty weird. Mine get watered along with everything else in the veg bed.

hollie hock

First time growing garlic. there's definatley some yellowing leaves at the bottom but greener at the top. I'm thinking that when all the leave are yellow then that's the time to harvest?

mine went in at the start of november... I guess I was hoping they'd be ready some time in June as I'd quite like the raised bed they're taking up for other crops!

artjak, how swollen were those bulbs you dug up, out of interest?


Rainwater Fanatic

Hi Bf206

This is a pretty good resource for all things garlic including tips on when to harvest. It is different depending on whether you have hard or softneck varieties.

They say that hardneck varieties are ready when the leaves start to change colour, and softneck is when they start to lay on the ground.

I bought my  bulbs from them this year and the results (so far) have been far better than anything I have managed to produce in the past. Hopefully the same will be true when I get around to harvesting. 





I've had good results with ones over the years from that Isle of Wight garlic farm too.

Last year they were so bad though that I didn't bother re-planting any of my solent wight, I wish I had now, as the elephant garlic I did keep a few cloves of are doing very well this year. 

I'd say they're a good few weeks, if not a month behind though.



Rainwater Fanatic

Lokelani, That is interesting. This year I have grown Albigensian Wight, Iberian Wight, Early Purple WIght and Solent Wight. Out of all of them the Solent White is the definitely the weakest performer for me.


Bf206, the bulbs were swollen but not separated into cloves, just had a look at them; flower buds starting to develop at tops, nipped them off to stop energy going to flowers. Planted a mix of Isle of Wight (new) cloves and my own 'seed' taken from last years crop The new ones got off to a flying start, but now they are all looking the same.

Hollie H, I have always found that the best way is to dig one up and see, if it is not ready, you can still cook with it


Just dug one up, cloves starting to form, needs another 2/3 weeks I think.

hollie hock

Thanks artjak, I was thinking the same just based on what others have been saying. When you dig them up to check can you just replant them if there not ready?  Can't really remember when they when in, maybe February.They take a while don't they

I dug one up as my 2 year old had rampaged nearby and bent the stem anyway. i'm pretty sure it was from one of the small inner cloves (which i'm never sure whether to bother planting). anyway, the result is a pretty small bulb - but definitely a bulb at least! - about the width of a 2p piece.

i think for the rest i'm going to wait another few weeks, don't think will do too much harm.


I haven't looked yet. I was going to wait until they show more signs of dying back then have a peek

My outer leaves are just starting to yellow - any idea how to tell if you have hardneck or softneck? The cloves I bought just said 'garlic'.


Mine have got rust, but don't look too upset by it. Bottom leaves are just turning, so I'll leave it a bit longer before I excavate.


So if they start to produce flowers, chop them off? My elephant are all trying to out do my allium, but I can chop them off should I?



Book M, it doesn't matter if you have hard or soft neck untill you try to plait them to get that 'continental' look. Hard neck does not plait, the clue is in the name. Have you tried growing elephant garlic? It is very rewarding and mild in flavour, great for roasting.

Hollie H, I plant garlic in late September/ early October.

Thanks Artjak! I may have to try elephant garlic, it's my first year with the room to grow veg properly. I'd just heard that the signs of doneness were different for the two types. The lower leaves have been yellowing/browning for a week or so now, may have to check soon!


Even if the one you dig up to have a look at isn't ready, you can still use it; 'green' garlic is highly prized by chefs.

Down here in Bath the garlic growers on my allotment all agree that we are about a month behind normal harvest timings and you should leave them in for another 4 weeks, especially if it stays dry and the risk of rot off is low.  

figrat - My garlic developed rust last year, it didn't seen to affect the harvest, the bulbs may have been a little smaller but they've stored well and I still have some bulbs left. Don't plant garlic/onions/leeks in the same spot next year but I'm sure you already knew that.

My garlics beginning to bolt, advise welcome.