This week I finished harvesting my garlic. I harvested half of it (New York White and Susanville softneck, plus some hardneck varieties I saved from past years) two weeks ago (July 2). July 10, I pulled the giant cloves of German Extra Hardy and Duganski hardneck varieties. A fantastic harvest!
I have enjoyed reading a book called "The Complete Book of Garlic" by Ted Meredith to learn about when to harvest garlic. Its a very informative book that the published sent to me to review.
The ideal seems to be to harvest garlic when 5 green leaves remain and the rest are brown. I mostly did this, but still several were more mature and some less.
As the book describes, since garlic leaves start at the base of the bulb, they are also the bulb wrappers. A green leaf means an intact wrapper, and a brown leaf means that wrapper has degraded. If there are no green leaves left, the bulb has no wrapper and the cloves are exposed and will not store well. Too many green leaves and the bulb has not reached full size and flavor (but is still great to eat as green garlic).
There's also a nice comment earlier on my blog from Patrick about harvesting garlic. He says, "Garlic can be pulled and eaten almost anytime! I start in the spring, when it's the size of spring onions and keep harvesting every few weeks. When it's too young to harvest the roots, you can harvest the greens. In this way you have fresh garlic almost all year round."
I am also excited about the extra space I have in my garden now that the garlic is pulled. I planted a bunch of seeds yesterday: soybeans, several lettuce variates, mixed greens and broccoli. I will need to start thinking about where to plant next years crop of garlic, but it will not go in the same spot. Maybe in the corn or squash bed when they are finished.