Storage of garlic bulbs: how to store garlic for next year

Garlic can be found in almost every kitchen on the planet. This popularity has led more and more people to grow their own bulbs. This raises the question of how to store garlic for next year’s harvest.

Save garlic for next year

Garlic is native to Central Asia, but it has been cultivated in Mediterranean countries for more than 5,000 years. The ancient Greeks and Romans appreciated garlic, and it is reported that gladiators ate the bulb before battle. Egyptian slaves are said to have consumed the bulb to gain the strength to build the Great Pyramids.

Garlic is one of the 700 species of the onion family or Allium, of which there are three specific types: soft-collar garlic ( Allium sativum ), hard-collar garlic ( Allium ophioscorodon ) and elephant garlic ( Allium ampeloprasum ).

Garlic is a perennial plant, but it is usually grown as an annual. It is a relatively easy plant to cultivate as long as it is exposed to the sun and its soil is well drained and well modified. Your garlic will be ready for harvest in mid to late summer.

Leave the bulbs in the soil as long as possible to reach their maximum size, but not too long for the cloves to start separating, which has a negative impact on the storage of garlic bulbs. Wait until the foliage dies and begins to brown, then carefully lift the bulbs from the ground, being careful not to cut them. Fresh bulbs bruise easily, which can promote infection and affect the storage of garlic bulbs, effectively reducing their shelf life.

Storage of garlic bulbs

When storing garlic bulbs, cut the garlic stems one cm above the bulb. To keep the garlic broth for the next year, the bulbs must first be dried. Drying the bulbs is simply a matter of drying the garlic in a dry, warm, dark and airy place for a few weeks. Choose your largest bulbs when you keep the garlic stock for next year’s planting.

It is essential to dry the garlic bulbs well to preserve the garlic for planting. If you cure outdoors, the bulbs can cause sunburn and poorly ventilated areas can promote disease and mold. Hanging the bulbs from the stems in a dark, airy space is one of the best methods. Healing will take ten to fourteen days. Bulbs heal successfully when the neck has shrunk, the center of the stem has hardened and the outer skin is dry and crunchy.

Adequate storage is also essential to maintain stocks of garlic for sowing. While garlic can be stored for a short time at room temperature between 68 and 86 degrees F. (20-30 C.), the bulbs will begin to degrade, soften and shrivel. For long term storage, garlic should be stored at a temperature between 30 and 32 degrees F. (-1 to 0 C.) in well-ventilated containers and will keep for six to eight months.

However, if the storage of garlic is strictly for planting, the bulbs must be stored at 50 degrees F. (10 C.) at a relative humidity of 65-70 %. If the bulb is stored between 3 and 10°C, inactivity will be easily broken and lead to side shoots (witches’ broom) and premature ripening. Storage above 65 degrees F. (18 C.) will result in late ripening and delayed budding.

Make sure you plant only garlic seeds that have been properly stored and watch for garlic nematodes. This nematode causes swollen, twisted leaves with cracked and mottled bulbs and weakens the plants. When storing and conserving garlic stocks from year to year, plant only healthy, unspotted seed bulbs for best results.

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