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Harvesting and using Garlic for KNF

Updated: Jun 28


harvesting and using garlic for KNF
Harvested Garlic

Harvesting garlic at the right time and using proper techniques ensures the best quality and storage life. Fresh garlic is best for use in Korean Natural Farming, KNF. This is a step-by-step guide to harvesting garlic.




Monitor Leaf Condition

Garlic is usually ready to harvest when the lower leaves start to turn yellow and brown while the upper leaves remain green, typically in midsummer.


Signs of Dieback

The ideal time to harvest is when about a third to a half of the leaves have died back. Harvesting too early will result in small bulbs. Harvesting too late can result in bulbs that have split and will not store well.




Stop Watering

Do not water for 1-2 weeks before you plan to harvest. This will help dry out the soil and make harvesting easier.


Loosen the Soil

Use a garden fork or spade to gently loosen the soil around the garlic plants. It is best to harvest garlic with leaves, bulbs, and roots intact. Be careful not to damage the bulbs.


Lift the Bulbs

Carefully lift the garlic plants out of the soil by their stems, taking care not to bruise or cut the bulbs.


Clean the Bulbs

Brush off any excess soil from the bulbs, but do not wash them. Washing can introduce moisture and promote rot.




The allicin content of raw, fresh garlic is the highest, resulting in the highest medicinal qualities.


For KNF, fresh garlic is best since the purpose is to capture the medicinal qualities, so drying and curing are not necessary. Ferment fresh garlic for OHN, Oriental Herbal Nutrient tonic, as soon after harvest as possible.


Remember to keep some fresh garlic in the kitchen.  




Leave the Tops and Roots On

Do not remove the tops or roots because they help the bulbs to cure properly.


Cure in a Dry, Shady Area

Hang the garlic plants in bundles or spread them out on screens in a dry, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Curing typically takes 2-4 weeks.



Tie bundles of 5-10 plants together and hang them in a dry, airy place.


Laying Out

Lay the plants out in a single layer on a screen or rack, ensuring good air circulation.



After the garlic is cured, clean the bulbs again. Remove any remaining soil, trim the roots, and cut the stems about 3cm (1 inch) above the bulbs. The stems can be left intact and braided for hanging.


Separate any damaged or smaller bulbs for immediate use, as they won’t store as well as the larger, intact ones.




Garlic should be stored in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Ideal storage conditions are 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F) and low humidity.


Do not store garlic in the refrigerator, as the cold and moisture can encourage sprouting.


Garlic can be stored in mesh bags, paper bags, or a well-ventilated basket. Avoid plastic bags, which can trap moisture and cause rot.





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