I’m wondering if it can be picked 2-4 weeks early and still store as well, or is long-term storage compromised if you don’t pick it exactly at the right time? I realize the bulbs will be smaller.
I think as long as the cloves have formed and differentiated, you can harvest it. But I’m not sure.
It’s kind of like a pomegranate. Pomegranates are supposed to be harvested when they are blocky and have edges, not when perfectly round (at least the ones I worked with were supposed to). So if you harvest garlic that is perfectly round, it’s unlikely to differentiate into cloves. But if it has formed cloves already, with some drying it should be alright.
I’m a southern garlic grower though and far from the expert on this. I’d recommend seeing what others say.