The Precise Time to Harvest

If scientists, accountants, and bakers appreciate precision and predictability, they should avoid farming. Farming is the great “It Depends.” In our experience, farmers tend to be ready to share their experience, knowledge, and wisdom. But if we ask them what we should do, they will inevitably respond, “It depends. It depends on your soil, what you planted, when you planted, your weather zone, the weather this year, the weather this season, the weather this week.”

There are some things that we can predict. In our weather zone, we plant our garlic in October. Our scapes curl in late June. About 4 weeks after we remove the scapes, we should harvest. But a shift in a week here and a week there can mean the difference in harvesting July 11 or July 24 this year.

There are also a few other important signs we look for such as when the leaves start yellowing (harvest when there are 4-6 green leaves left), when the garlic bulb has shoulders, and by the size of the bulb. Oh, and then there is the rain – don’t harvest wet garlic.

So we have a few guidelines at 5 Sisters Organics: The weather is in charge, and the garlic will tell us. As much as we would love to schedule and coordinate and decide and plan, we harvest when the garlic and the weather tell us its time to harvest. We think that will be next weekend, July 18, so stay tuned for Family Harvest Weekend 2020!

Author: Joan Vaughn

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