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Garlic has been one of the most important spices and foods for humans since ancient times. The numerous ingredients not only provide the characteristic taste and smell, but also have a positive effect on the body. If you grow Allium sativum in your garden, harvest is possible within the first two years. The exact timing is important to get the desired aroma and also to get a bigger yield, which should be dried afterwards.


First or second year?

One of the most important aspects of harvesting the spice plant is the harvest period. You can harvest the garlic in either the first or second year after cultivation, giving you different results in flavor and shelf life. The following comparison shows the differences between the two service lives:

First year

These garlic bulbs are distinct smaller and milder in the aroma. They don't lend themselves very well to drying, so they should fresh be used. Despite the mild, not so sharp aroma, they have a much more intense taste with a less penetrating garlic smell. Do not be surprised: annual garlic can have many green spots. The annual is particularly suitable for frying or for numerous sauces.

second year

The two-year-olds are clear in comparison more durable, but no longer as intense in taste. That is why they are clear greater and have one sharper Flavor that is particularly good for Spice up suitable. These tubers are only rarely green. Because they've already been through one winter, they have a lot long durability, which is noticeable when drying.

As you can see, you should not think about harvesting garlic until the second year, when you plan to dry the bulbs. Although you could pull Allium sativum out of the ground in the first year, the garlic bulbs would rot due to their freshness. However, you should not leave the tubers for longer than two years, otherwise they will ripen for too long and rot in the ground. They usually do not survive a second winter.

tip: In addition to the service life, the cloves used are also important for the crop yield. The larger this is, the larger the final size of garlic you can harvest.


The right time to harvest depends on when you planted your garlic. We're talking about either Winter or spring garlic. Of these two, winter garlic ripens earlier and can be harvested from around July. The spring garlic, on the other hand, is a few weeks later. In addition to these well-known harvest dates, there are other signs that point to the right harvest time:

  • withered foliage
  • Garlic cloves are visible

Based on these properties, you can immediately see when the tubers should be taken out of the ground. As soon as you discover withered leaves, you shouldn't hesitate too long, otherwise the upper parts of the plant may die off and the tubers will soon follow.

tip: Be sure to hope for little rain in July. The drier the month, the larger the harvest, as the plants prefer warmth and lots of sun.


Harvesting garlic cloves is easy and can be done in a matter of moments. Even if you have planted an extremely large bed, it will not take you long to get the tubers out of the ground. Allium sativum requires no tools, but if you don't want to dig in the ground with your hands, you should use a small digging shovel. Proceed as follows when harvesting:

  • Loosen soil around bulbs
  • alternatively use a digging shovel
  • grasp the withered foliage with a firm grip
  • Pull a tuber out of the ground with a jerk

With healthy plants, the upper part should not break off, since even the withered foliage is extremely robust. After harvesting, find a dry, covered place and store the tubers there for a few days. Storage allows the tubers to mature to produce as much flavor as possible and to facilitate drying.

tip: If you want to intensify the aroma of your garlic cloves, you should remove the flowers as soon as possible. The reason: they permanently rob the tuber of nutrients that are important for the aroma and size of the tuber.


As soon as you have brought in your harvest, it is time to dry the tubers. This allows the garlic bulbs to be stored for a long time and used over a long period of time without them rotting. There is three drying methods, with which you can effectively prepare your harvest for storage. After that, store the dried garlic at cool temperatures.

drying methods

A traditional method is to hang the tubers up to allow them to air dry. Use one of the following variants for this:

1. Lichen

Traditionally, garlic plants are braided into a "braid" over their foliage. If you can braid, simply take three plants and connect them into a braid. Then hang them over the braid. The tubers remain there until they have dried.

2. lay out

Simply cut back the foliage to a height of five to ten centimeters. Then lay them out in a dry room. The drying time is highly dependent on the size of the tubers.

3. Oven

The oven is a classic way of preserving spices, fruit and even nuts. For this reason, the oven is a good choice for the tubers. Proceed as follows:

  • wash the tubers
  • then peel
  • Halve the tubers
  • lay out on baking sheets
  • leave in the oven at 70 °C for four hours
  • keep the door open a crack
  • this allows the air to circulate

The halved bulbs are dry when they look brittle when you touch them. If this is not the case after a period of four hours, reduce the temperature to 65 °C and continue to wait.

tip: You can also use the dehydrator instead of an oven. To do this, wash, peel and cut the garlic into fine slices, place them on the grids and dry them for a few hours at 70 °C.

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