MILTA. In my climate, usually garlic is pretty much complete its life cycle by the middle of July. I allow the plants to stay in the ground until about 1/3 of the entire plants leaves have browned. Sometimes I get too busy and they stay in the ground a little longer though, hee, hee. When this process of growth has stopped, the plants will not mature any more, if they stay in the ground too long, the bulbs begin to slightly dry out and that is not what you want. Listen to what I say further before you wonder what I mean, hee, hee.
When the tops are 1/3 browned, then I pull then up and let them dry in the sun for half a day. In a really hot climate, I would think shade may be better, or they could get sunburned badly. After this drying for half a day has been complete, I then take the garlic and make bunches, I hang them to complete the curing process. The bulbs are allowed to hang, the tops being tied together. I do this in my outside greenhouse that has only a roof, it can be done anywhere though, a dark room, anywhere where they can finish curing.
The leaves act as wicks and draw the rest of the EXCESS moisture out of the bulbs, as is done with onions and they will then keep for a long time. My garlic usually keeps well near into the next season of harvest, not as juicy as it was at the beginning, but still completely edible.
Garlic can also be spread out to finish curing, laying flat, but I believe that hanging is the best method, as the wicky thing happens (like my lingo? hee, hee).
That is the scoop on garlic.
Last year I had a terrible harvest of garlic. I had planted say, 500 cloves and of those maybe I was able to have about 50 that were good, but they were good. We had the most coolest and dampest summer that I can remember and they just did not do well.
Now I see that hundreds of the garlics that I must have missed in my harvest last year are sprouting up now, they are about 3 inches tall and lookin' mighty fine. I also planted about 200, so garlic is popping up everywhere now. Garlic is a funny thing. I think that once you have it you have it for your life of the gardens. There are always ones that you miss and they will show their pretty little heads the following spring, as I am not witnessing.
If you have any more questions about the garlic, ask me, I could help more, I may have omitted some information, but I don't think so. Have the most beautiful and best of this great day, Cindi