How Do I Harvest and Store Hardneck Garlic?

“I planted garlic bulbs for the first time and chose the hardneck variety ‘Music’. I understand that they will be fully mature around the first of August. Where is a good place to cure the bulbs for the duration? I live in a USDA Hardiness Zone 6 area.” Question from Belinda of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Answer: I have actually grown ‘Music’ garlic with great success. It’s a hardneck garlic, which means it has hard “necks” above the bulbs that keep them from being braided, unlike softneck garlic. Hardnecks are also more cold hardy and have fewer, larger cloves than softnecks. ‘Music’ is also a porcelain garlic, which means thin, white, satiny skins surround the extra-large cloves.

Time to maturity depends on the garlic variety and growing location. ‘Music’ is an early to midseason variety. In Indiana, I would expect it to be ready for harvest sometime in July.

In spring, your garlic plants will emerge and leaf up. By summer, each will have tall, upright, oniony leaves and produce a heron-shaped stem and bud; remove the stems and bulbs as they appear, or they’ll deplete the cloves below of energy. But, don’t throw them the stems away. They taste great stir-fried or sautéed.

Dig up the garlic bulbs when the leaves have declined significantly and start to turn brown. Wipe the bulbs clean of dirt, and hang them to dry for a week or two. ‘Music’ is an unusually good keeper for a hardneck. Count on its bulbs to keep for up to several months, if properly stored in a cool, dark place. (Click here for more tips on how to grow garlic.)

Enjoy your fresh garlic next season!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

Leave a Reply

Content Disclaimer:

This site may contain content (including images and articles) as well as advice, opinions and statements presented by third parties. Sun Gro does not review these materials for accuracy or reliability and does not endorse the advice, opinions, or statements that may be contained in them. Sun Gro also does not review the materials to determine if they infringe the copyright or other rights of others. These materials are available only for informational purposes and are presented “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. Reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement or other information is at your own risk. In no event shall Sun Gro Horticulture Distribution, Inc. or any of its affiliates be liable to you for any inaccuracy, error, omission, fact, infringement and the like, resulting from your use of these materials, regardless of cause, or for any damages resulting there from.