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Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,246


I've been gardening for years but only just got into fruit & veg so need to ask a bit of a silly question.

This year my kind neighbour gave me a few onion & garlic sets & seed potatoes which he had left over. They were put in in March & are now all romping away. The potatoes are in a couple of purpose made bags & the compost has been up to the top for a few weeks & the foliage is about 2' above this.

Silly question is... how do I know when to harvest? Do I have to lift the plants to find out if they're ready or are there some tell tale signs with the foliage? 

Thank you.

Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down


  • NetherfieldNetherfield Posts: 120

    Depends on the variety, first earlies take up to 12 weeks,second earlies 12 to 16 weeks, maincrop can be left until the haulm starts to die back.

    Are there any flowers forming,not all earlies produce flowers but if the do it's usually a sign that the tubers have formed, they need plenty of water in the latter weeks.

    You can try having a feel around to see whats down there,remove a few of the bigger ones and leave the smaller ones to grow on a bit.

  • meganzqnmeganzqn Posts: 10

    garlic is normally planted in autumn as it needs a period of cold to trigger clove formation and is in the ground for up to 9 months. it is ready to harvest when all but the top 5-6 leaves have turned brown (each leaf is a bulb wrapper and the bulbs keep better with more wrappers). If the leaves on your garlic are starting to die down, gently scrape the dirt away from around a bulb to see whether it is ready to lift.  You may only get rounds this year - undifferentiated bulbs.  If you were given hardneck garlic, that's usually ready to lift when the scapes unfurl.

  • Crazy CatCrazy Cat Posts: 41


    The garlic might be the tricky one- meganzqn was spot on when she said garlic needs a period of cold to trigger clove formation.

    If you put them in during march then they might be okay as we had a very cold and late spring (we had snow in march where we are). The late cold spring may have been enough to trigger them.

    If the top are yellowing/browning then I would gently fork up a few and have a look. Try to do this on a sunny dry day and garlic tends to keep better if you leave the root on.


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