This is hard neck garlic which means this process started last fall in 2020, when we planted out the biggest garlic bulbs into Kitchen Garden Plot 3, and then bedded them down with a thick layer of straw over top.
Being a Zone 5 gardener(here in ontario canada) we are going to get some heavy duty winter weather including frost heaves and if you want your garlic to stay put and not get shifted around and thawed an then frozen again in the spring.. you need a good cover..
Now I know that you can do leaves if you really need to do but the gold standard is clean long cut straw (make sure it came from a crop that was not sprayed end of season to kill the crop for even drying) as there are way to many reports of this causing issues in garden use.. lucky the farmer I buy from is to cheap to spay any more then he has to, if he can get away with it, he will only spray 2x max for a field.. (I have to admit to being happy about this)
Then its a wait game..
Wait the winter
Wait the spring
Wait for the scapes to form and be cut back and off.. So many ways to use Garlic Scapes, here is a list of the top 5 ways I love to use them
Then you are waiting for brown leaf edges on the bottom 3rd of the plant itself.. you want to ideally pick when you are seeing die backo nthe bottom three leaves, time to pull and dry them for future use..
The small ones are better off being processed quickly, I made them into dried garlic bits that can be used in soups/stews and or ground into spice blends or powder as needed.
This springs weather has a hot spell and that meant that our garlic came out fast and that we ended up harvesting it a few weeks earlier then normal, so the best bulbs will need to hold for use as seed garlic to be planted in late sept to start the cycle over again.