The two of us were both surprised at the number of scapes waiting for us when we got to the garlic patch yesterday. We both expected maybe 20 or 30, not the hundreds we found. Good thing - we sold every last one from the previous picking - we had none for ourselves. Problem solved.
We could both observe the gradual yellowing of the garlic stalks: signs that the bulb is getting ready to be harvested. Visual cues are never 100% on the mark, though. Sometimes you just have to dig one of the guys up - and then eat it of course!
Generally, you want about 2/3 of the plant to be yellowing before you harvest, since you want maximum bulb growth. But too much growth, and the cloves start to seperate from the head, creating more surface area for molds and fungus, and leading to a decreased shelf life. These "split" garlic heads taste just as good as the fimer whole heads, but they just don't last as long, so figuring out the right time for harvest really does become important. And with 12 different varieties, each with a different maturation point, well, we're gonna have some work to do. Wish us luck!