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Garlic: Organic Production


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  • 1. Garlic: Organic Production A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Janet Bachmann, Garlic is a cool-season crop grown in most regions ofupdated by the U.S. This publication addresses most aspects ofTammy Hinman, organic garlic production, including seed sources,NCAT Agriculture organic fertility management, pest managementSpecialists and harvesting and storage. Marketing and eco-© 2008 NCAT nomic considerations, including enterprise budgets for organic garlic production, are also addressed in this publication. A resource and reference section follows the publication.ContentsIntroduction ..................... 1 Introduction COrganic Production ....... 2 ultivated garlic, Allium sativum, is aSeed Sources.................... 2 member of the lily family. It may beSoil Fertility ...................... 3 divided into two subspecies: AlliumPlanting.............................. 4 ophioscorodon (bolting or hard-neck cultivars)Seed Stocks ...................... 5 and Allium sativum (non-bolting or soft-neckIrrigation ............................ 6 cultivars). Allium ophioscorodon producesLabor ................................... 6 elongated flower stalks, often referred to asPest Management.......... 6 scapes, and flower-like bulbils at the top ofInsects ................................ 7 the stalk. Soft-neck garlic does not produceDiseases ............................. 8 bulbils except in times of stress. While bothNematodes ..................... 11 bulbils and individual cloves can be propa-Weeds ............................... 11 gated vegetatively, bulbils take longer—upHarvest and Storage ... 12 to two seasons—to produce mature bulbs,Marketing and and require special care because the youngEconomics....................... 14 plants are very small and fragile. Hard-neck cultivars like Rocambole andFurther Resources ........ 16 Porcelain usually do better in colder cli-References ...................... 17 Elephant Garlic mates. The cloves are larger and easierAppendix 1: Even though elephant garlic, Allium ampelo- to peel. A few of these variety names areFarmer Profile ................ 19 prasum, is not considered a true garlic, we will Spanish Roja, German Red, Carpath-Appendix 2: .................... 22 address its production in this publication. Closely ian, and Music.Sample Garlic Budgets related to the leek, elephant garlic produces a very large bulb of cloves with a mild garlic flavor Soft-neck garlic cultivars (Silverskin or Arti- (Engeland, 1991). choke) are not recommended for northern climates. Numerous strains exist, having Elephant garlic usually is grown the same way as a hard-neck/ bolting garlic, except that these big been selected over the years by the vari-ATTRA—National Sustainable bulbs are planted farther apart. It is a specialty for ous companies that produce them for dehy-Agriculture Information Serviceis managed by the National Cen- people who want a milder garlic or who need a dration, or by growers producing them forter for Appropriate Technology larger clove due to reduced dexterity or arthri- the fresh market. Mechanized farms grow(NCAT) and is funded under agrant from the United States tis. This allium is much less productive (an in:out and develop cultivars of soft-neck garlicDepartment of Agriculture’s Rural ratio of 1:3) than true garlics and must be sold at because the planting process can be mech-Business-Cooperative Service. a higher price. Also the plant is less winter hardy anized. Since they dont produce a scapeVisit the NCAT Web site (www. than all common garlic cultivars and the (flower stalk), the cloves can be plantedphp) for more informa- will not keep as long, so it is not recommended intion on our sustainable climates with very cold winters. (Gough, 1999) upside down. Topsetting (hard-neck) garlicagriculture projects. cloves must be set upright. There are fewer
  • 2. cultivars of soft-neck garlic, compared to clarify this. See “Genetic Diversity of topsetting. The varieties California Early Garlic” by Stern and Volk for more infor- and California Late comprise 90 percent mation on this project. It wasnt until 2003 of the soft-neck types grown commercially. that Dr. Gayle Volk of the USDA Agricul- tural Service ran DNA analysis on several Organic Garlic Production large garlic collections and determined that there are 10 separate garlic types. Growers Garlic is well adapted for production in throughout the U.S. are now participating in most parts of the temperate U.S. Yield and a national project by growing each of these quality vary with climate, region, altitude, cultivars in different regions to determine soil and pH, cultural practices, and vari- which varieties perform well under their ety of garlic. The term "biological elastic- growing conditions, and to come up with ity" describes garlics ability to acclimatize descriptors to publicize these types of garlic to these factors over time. That is, the same to their customers (Stern and Volk, 2007). variety can look, taste, or produce differ- While many producers are concerned with ently depending on its geography, altitude, yields, other factors such as consistency, etc. No one practice is best suited for every growth characteristics, and market prefer- situation. You will want to talk with other ence are equally important. David advisesRelated ATTRA garlic growers in your area and experimentPublications that growers experiment to find which with different cultural practices and vari- varieties work best in their particularOrganic Allium eties to discover the best combination for climates and soils.Production your operation. We do not recommend buying garlic forOverview of Organic Certain considerations and practices in planting from the produce section of a gro-Crop Production garlic production will be the same for both cery store. It has often been treated to pre-Sources of Organic organic growers and conventional growers vent sprouting and is not grown regionally.Fertilizers and within a given region. For instance, siteAmendments selection and planting techniques are simi- You can find garlic planting stock at theSustainable Soil lar for both conventional and organic garlic following sources.Management culture. Information on these topics is avail- able through the Cooperative Extension 1) Local farmers at farmers markets or road- Service, the garlic growers associations, side and farm stands. Select only large, disease-free bulbs for planting. and common vegetable and herb texts, bulletins, and trade magazines. See the 2) Garlic Seed Foundation list, sent on request Further Resources section for a list if you furnish a stamped self-addressed of these. Accordingly, this publication envelope. See “Further Resources” section below for contact information. focuses primarily on organic management practices for pests, diseases, and weeds, 3) Other seed-saver organizations, such as and fertility, and seed sources specific for Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure organic production. Seed Exchange, and Native Seed Search. See “Further Resources." Seed Sources 4) Commercial seed catalogs. Although garlic is listed in many com- 5) Internet. mercial seed catalogs, "Buy local!" is the advice from David Stern of the Garlic Seed Many farmers will initially source their gar- Foundation. (Stern, 2001) If you buy from lic seed from one of the sources listed above out of state, it will take a couple of years and then sell only what they do not intend to for the garlic to acclimatize itself, due to plant for the following season. This assures the biological elasticity mentioned above. that the garlic seed will become adapted to David says there is an ongoing debate their particular climatic and soil conditions. about varieties, and recent research with Other growers prefer to purchase new seed a northeastern SARE project is working to every year, as they are able to obtain highPage 2 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 3. prices for their garlic and it is much cheaper on organic fertility management in veg-to just buy the seed. etable crops see the ATTRA Publication Sustainable Soil Management.The USDA National Organic Programrequires Certified Organic planting stock. Since garlic is a high-value crop and a heavy feeder, it deserves your best ground. USDA National Organic Program Rule It needs full sun and a full range of avail- able nutrients. A pH of 6.8 to 7.2 is ideal; § 205.204 Seeds and planting stock practice many nutrients are tied up in soils that are standard. more alkaline or more acidic than this. (a) The producer must use organically grown Garlic will grow in almost any well-drained, seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: friable (easily crumbled in the hand) Except, That, soil, preferably with high organic matter Tips for (1) Non-organically produced, untreated seeds content. High organic matter aids in soil purchasing and planting stock may be used to produce an water-holding capacity and drainage. If pos- garlic seed: organic crop when an equivalent organically sible, begin soil preparation the year before produced variety is not commercially available, planting. In his book Growing Great Garlic, • Find a local source, Except, That, organically produced seed must so that your garlic be used for the production of edible sprouts; Ron Engeland recommends building up the does not have to go soil over a period of 1-2 years using ani- through a 2-3 year (2) Non-organically produced seeds and plant- mal and green manures before the garlic is period of adaption to ing stock that have been treated with a sub- planted (Engeland, 1991). See the ATTRA your climate. stance included on the National List of syn- thetic substances allowed for use in organic publication Overview of Cover Crops and • Buy your seed from a crop production may be used to produce an Green Manures for information on building reputable source—ask organic crop when an equivalent organically soils with cover crops. other garlic growers produced or untreated variety is not commer- where they get cially available; Provide additional nitrogen, if needed, their seed. through supplemental use of organic fertil- (5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock izers. Nitrogen can be applied in the fall • Do not purchase treated with prohibited substances may be at planting if a slow-release fertilizer such your garlic seed used to produce an organic crop when the from a store, as is it application of the materials is a requirement as soybean meal is used. Avoid applying has most likely been of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations. any form of soluble nitrogen fertilizer in sprayed with an anti- the fall to prevent contamination of ground sprouting agent. water as well as loss of nitrogen to leaching. Do not apply nitrogen when the bulbs are • Carefully inspectFor regional sources of organic garlic seed your garlic seed forsee ATTRAs Organic Seed Suppliers data- beginning to enlarge, since it will encour- disease. If there is anybase, available on our Web site, www.attra. age excessive leaf growth and reduce bulb sign of disease, If you do not have Internet access, size. Another way to add fertility is to side- not plant it. Once youcall 1-800-346-9140 for a printed list. dress with compost after leaf emergence introduce certain dis- in the fall, then apply fertilizer again in eases to the soil, it canSoil Fertility the spring. Avoid fertilizing beyond May, be very difficult to get since high nitrogen levels at this stage may rid of them.We recommend getting a soil test before you actually decrease bulb size. Some organicbegin field preparation. Request recommen- growers apply foliar sprays of liquid fi shdations for nutrient requirements for onions and seaweed fertilizer, several times in thewhen you send a soil sample to a soil-test- spring (Rosen et al., 1999); (The Garlicing laboratory. Many soil testing laborato- Store, 2006).ries only include the conventional NPK rec-ommendations. See the ATTRA publication If foliar feeding is used to supply nutrients,IP105, Alternative Soil Testing Laboratories, it should be done prior to the 4th or 5thfor a listing of laboratories that include leaf stage. A good surfactant (or spreader-information on organic matter, humus, min- sticker) is essential to hold the solution oneral analysis, and alternative fertility rec- the garlics waxy leaves. There are a lim-ommendations. For additional information ited number of spreader-stickers that ATTRA Page 3
  • 4. approved by the National Organic Program. If you are certified organic, see the OMRI list of approved products or check with your certification agency to ensure that you are using a permissible product. When to Plant Fall/early winter planting is recommended in all parts of the U.S. A cold period is required in order for the mother bulb to split into cloves. The bolting cultivars of garlic require a cold period to trigger cellular divi- These popped cloves are free of defects and ready to sion. For spring planting, which is not rec- plant. Photo courtesy of Hood River Garlic. ommended, the bulbs need to be refriger- ated at 40°F for 40 days. By planting garlic creamy white without any discolorations. in the fall, the plants obtain significant root Discard anything that appears diseased,I growth before the ground freezes. Then in small, soft, damaged, or discolored. This is f the garlic is the spring the plant focuses its energy on time-consuming, but important. planted too late sprouting, leaf growth, and ultimately bulb Crack each bulb into individual cloves in the fall to development. If the garlic is planted too late (referred to as “popping”). Plant cloves withobtain significant in the fall to obtain significant root growth, the root end down. Where winters are mild, this will ultimately detract from bulb size theroot growth, this will plant cloves one inch deep; where winters following summer. Fall-planted garlic growsultimately detract are severe, put them two to four inches rapidly when the weather warms in spring.from bulb size the deep. In general, plant the biggest and best Bulb growth in garlic, like many alliums, cloves from the best bulbs. They will gener-following summer. is dependent on the lengthening of the day ate the biggest bulbs. This will also build and the accumulation of degree days (heat up bigger seed stock over time. Keith Stew- units). In northern latitudes, most growers art of Keith’s Farm plants the medium to plant garlic in October before the ground large bulbs, refraining from the largest. “It freezes. This gives the plant time to make should also be said that planting the biggest good root development but not enough time cloves does not necessarily assure the best to make leaf growth. Where winter sets in garlic, in terms of fl avor and hardiness.” earlier, growers are recommended to plant (Gough, 1999) garlic two to three weeks after the fi rst frost Mulch is used frequently in organic gar- (below 32°F) (Rosen et al., 1999). Where lic production. It helps improve winter winters are milder, garlic can be planted as survival, suppress weeds, conserve soil late as mid-December. In some parts of Cal- moisture, and prevent soil erosion. It can ifornia, it can be planted as late as Febru- also increase yields by keeping the soil ary or March. We recommend talking with cooler. Garlic quits growing when the soil local producers and your county Coopera- temperature increases to above 90°F. David tive Extension to determine the best time to Stern establishes a winter cover crop/ mulch plant garlic in your region. on his New York state farm by planting oats in late August or early September. The How to Plant oats are six inches tall when he plants gar- Garlic is propagated vegetatively from the lic. He uses a disc-furrower on a tool bar clove. One clove produces one bulb. The behind his tractor to cut slices through the size of both the clove and the bulb is an oats. Garlic is set into the furrows. The oats important consideration when selecting continue to grow until killed by winter frost planting stock. Grade your garlic for both (Stern, 2001). This system works well in size and quality. Bulbs should be firm areas with deep freezes, however, in milder without soft spots or defects and the cloves climates, the oats will become a problem thePage 4 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 5. Raised beds at Hood River Garlic farm. Photo courtesy of Hood River Garlic. Clove spacing of 6 inches by 12 inches is best, except for some varieties of the Por- celain cultivars and elephant garlic, whichGarlic can also be mulched with clean straw or otherorganic material immediately after planting in cli- require a spacing of 12 inches by 12 inchesmates with very hard frosts. If you live in warmer to produce the largest bulbs.areas, it is good to mulch after the ground gets cold,so that the cloves will experience their required chill-ing vernalization period. Photo courtesy of Hood Seed StalksRiver Garlic. Hard-neck varieties put up a tall, woody, round, flowering stalk, or scape, that growssubsequent spring if they are not winter- bulbils at the top. If the plant is allowed tokilled. The oats go from a living mulch in put its energy into these bulbils, the bulbthe field to a dead mulch in the winter, when forming below the groundthe erosion potential is strong. No “living- can be 1/3 smaller than if themulch” crop combinations have been iden- scape is removed. Many farm-tified that do not compromise yields in gar- ers cut the scapes when theylic (Stern 2007). are young and tender, to eat or sell them. They can be usedThe garlic will have no trouble pushing for pickles, pesto, or stir-fry.through an inch or more of mulch. Mulch “Depending on the plantingis typically used by operations without density, 300 – 800 pounds ofmechanical harvest, as it will make harvest- scapes per acre can be har-ing by machine difficult or impossible. vested, which sell for betweenGarlic is often planted in raised beds for $1.00 and $3.00 per pound,”ease of digging, good soil drainage, and says Stern. He advises cuttingreduction of soil compaction. Hood River or snapping off the scapes onGarlic uses a bed maker that is attached a sunny day so that the woundto their tractor. Terry Browne Hixson, co- will heal/ dry quickly. If youowner of Hood River Garlic, claims that are not selling the scapes,“the most vital piece of equipment that we they should still be removed Many farmers cut the scapes when they areown is our John Deer Tractor. Without the from the field as a sanitary young and tender, to eat or sell them.tractor, tiller and raised-bed maker our measure to lessen the poten- Photo courtesy of MaryJanesFarm,crop yields could not be so successful.” tial for disease. ATTRA Page 5
  • 6. Irrigation Garlic needs a continuous supply of mois- "When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, ture when it is actively growing. If the we inherit their work." —Carl Huffaker, Biological ground is dry, one inch of rainfall per week Control Pioneer, UC Berkeley or the equivalent in irrigation is needed for Maintaining and increasing biological diversity best garlic growth. Drip or trickle irrigation of the farm system is a primary strategy of cul- is recommended. If you are using mulch, tural control. Decreased biodiversity tends to lay the drip irrigation lines after planting result in agroecosystems that are unstable and prone to recurrent pest outbreaks and many and before mulching in the fall. Stop irri- other problems. Systems high in biodiversity gating at least two weeks prior to harvest. tend to be more dynamically stable. The variety of organisms provides more checks and bal- Labor ances on each other, which helps prevent one species from overwhelming the system and Labor needs vary seasonally. David Stern becoming a pest. notes that 20 to 25 "human interventions" are needed between the time he starts Factors influencing the health and biodiver- and the time he sells bulbs (Stern, 2001). sity of soils include the amount of soil organicM matter, soil pH, nutrient balance, moisture, ost pests Planting and harvest are critical times. and parent material of the soil. Healthy soils that If you do not use mulch, hand cultivation with a diverse community of organisms sup- attack should also be a consideration in labor. port plant health and nutrition better than You should keep this in mind if you are soils deficient in organic matter and low inonions will also considering expansion of your garlic plant- species diversity.attack garlic. These ing. If you double your acreage, you will Research has shown that excess nutrients asinclude onion thrips, also double the time spent on each process, well as relative nutrient balance in soils willonion maggots, such as cracking the "seed" bulbs into affect insect pest response to plants. Imbal-grasshoppers, and cloves, digging, bunching, and cleaning. ances in the soil can make a plant more attrac-gophers. Storage space needs are also doubled. Mr. tive to insect pests, less able to recover from Stern cautions that a garlic grower makes pest damage, or more susceptible to second- ary infections by plant pathogens. Soils rich in a large investment in this crop: tasks must organic matter tend to suppress plant patho- be done on time or the crop and the invest- gens. In addition, it is estimated that 75 percent ment will be lost. of all insect pests spend part of their life cycle in the soil, and many of their natural enemies If you are planning to significantly expand occur there as well. Overall, a healthy soil with your acreage, mechanizing the planting and a diversity of beneficial organisms and high harvesting can alleviate some of the labor organic matter helps maintain pest popula- requirements associated with the expan- tions below their economic thresholds. sion. Erme, a Dutch company, manufactures For more information on ecological pest man- bulb planters. A typical 12-row planter can agement, see the ATTRA publications, Biointen- plant 25 acres of bulbs in a day. There are sive Integrated Pest Management and Farmscap- also 3-, 4-, and 8-row configured planters ing to Enhance Biological Control. (Dutch Valley Growers, 2006). Erme also manufactures single-row garlic harvesters. Most pests that attack onions will also Pest Management attack garlic. These include onion thrips, Healthy soil builds healthy plants and is a onion maggots, grasshoppers, and gophers. foundation of ecological pest management. Diseases are caused by a number of fungi, Practices such as crop rotation and the cre- bacteria, nematodes, and viruses. Learn- ation of habitat for beneficial organisms ing to identify the symptoms is the fi rst work to manage pests by increasing the bio- step in management. Growing Great Garlic logical diversity on the farm. The following (Engeland, 1991) has a section on pests is an excerpt from the ATTRA publication and diseases that gives good descriptions Biointensive Integrated Pest Management. and management techniques. Two otherPage 6 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 7. excellent resources are Compendium ofOnion and Garlic Diseases (Schwartz andMohan, 2007) and Integrated Pest Manage-ment for Onions (Hoffman, et al., 1996). TheCooperative Extension Service can also helpin pest identification. Once you identify apest, refer to ATTRA’s Biorationals: Ecologi-cal Pest Management Database as a source ofinformation on different control mechanismsfor the pests that are listed below.Soil solarization is a process that uses heatfrom the sun for controlling many soil-borneplant pathogens, weeds, and nematodes.Basically, when clean-tilled soil is coveredwith clear plastic for several weeks during Thrips nymphs and adults rasp the leaves and other plant tissue to encourage thethe hottest part of the summer, solar heat release of sap, which is then consumed. When damage is severe, the entire plantbuilds up under the plastic, killing many may wilt and die (Davidson and Lyon, 1987). Photos courtesy of seeds and disease-causing organisms.This timing corresponds particularly well onion thrips. Adult female predatory mitesas a pre-planting technique for fall-planted (Neoseiulus) consume from 1 to 10 younggarlic. The bulletin Soil Solarization: A thrips per day and have a 30-day life-Non-Chemical Method for Controlling Diseases span. They can also survive on pollen andand Pests gives more specific details and is other spider mites in the absence of thrips.available from the University of Califor- Repeat applications of predators must benia Department of Agriculture and Natural made to establish a 1:2 ratio of predatorsResources. Information on how to obtain this to prey. Neoseiulus attacks fi rst instar (veryis available under Further Resources. young) thrips only and does not move long distances from where it is first placed. TheyTerry Browne Hixson from Hood RiverOrganic Garlic suggests scouting as a pest are most often applied in small piles at themanagement tool. Her partner Eric spends base of plants, or in paper bags. Usually,countless hours out in his fields, especially a small hole is made in the bag, and mitesduring the summer months, when he spends move out of the bag slowly.many hours daily inspecting the crops. Carol Glenister of IPM Laboratories in Locke, New York, has researched the use ofInsects predatory mites for control of onion thripsOnion thrips begin to migrate when weeds in the field. She says the results were notin surrounding fields begin to dry up. Mon- encouraging (Glenister, 2006). Thrips areitoring thrips with hot pink sticky traps hard to control through biological con-should start before this migration begins. trols because of their mobility and num-Since adults and nymphs will inhabit weedy bers. They migrate in large numbers (inareas surrounding the field, keep these the billions) from neighboring areas thatareas weed-free to reduce thrips infesta- are drying up, and the mites fi nd it diffi-tions. After the crop is harvested, the tops cult to prey on them all at once. Glenistershould be raked together and burned to suggests that release of beneficial insects isreduce overwintering populations. not the answer, but ensuring natural habi-Several species of lady beetles, as well as tats, and providing crop diversity would bethe minute pirate bug, are predators of more effective. Habitat enhancement foronion thrips (Davidson and Lyon, 1987). natural predators and parasites is discussedThe predatory mites Amblyseius cucumeris in the ATTRA publication Farmscaping toand A. barkeri are also reported to attack Enhance Biological ATTRA Page 7
  • 8. There are several "least-toxic," or biora- material has microscopic sharp edges that tional, pesticides that may reduce thrips pierce soft bodies and causes them to dehy- populations. According to Dr. Richard drate. Apply after a light rain for better Lindquist, entomologist at Ohio State Uni- effectiveness (Coviello, 2007). versity, a mixture of M-Pede® (insecticidal Good cultural practices are essential in soap) and SunSpray Ultra-Fine Spray Oil® controlled western flower thrips—a closely controlling this pest. Start by rotating your related thrips species—in a greenhouse trial crops. Dont plant garlic in the same place (Lindquist, 2001). Sunspray is no longer two years in a row. Once the pests breeding available from the manufacturer; however cycle is broken by planting its host (garlic Safe-T-Side horticultural oil may be an apt and onions) in a different spot, you can use substitute. a floating row cover to keep the fl ies from laying eggs on your fresh plants (Rodale Neem oil, a botanical pesticide extracted Press, 2006). Use the cover immediately from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, after planting cloves, and insure it extends has shown good control of a variety of agri- at least six inches beyond each side of the cultural pests. Dr. Lindquist indicates that planted bed. Remove and destroy garlic it provided control of flower thrips in the debris at the end of the season (Davis et greenhouse after a series of four weekly al., 2007). applications. (Note: Neem is not a good rescue treatment, but works as an insect Bulb mites and leafminers can also be sig- growth regulator and should be applied nificant garlic pests in California. Bulb early in the crop cycle.) Before spraying a mites damage bulbs by penetrating the new biorational pesticide, always check with outer layer of tissue and allowing rotting your certifier to confi rm that the product is organisms to gain entry. This pest is most approved for organic production. damaging when plant growth is slowed by cool, wet weather. Bulb mites can reduce plant stands, stunt plant growth, and pro- Onion Maggot mote rot of bulbs in storage. (Coviello, Beneficial nematodes have shown to be 2007). Management includes rotating garlic effective with onion maggots. Steinernema and onions with other crops, avoiding rapid carposporae and Steinernema feltiae are rotation of garlic into areas with high resi- the most effective species for maggot con- due, and insisting on clean garlic seed. Hot trol, with the latter water treatment of seed garlic before plant- being more tolerant of ing may reduce mite infestation. cool soil. For the most effective nematode bio- Damage by leafminers in garlic is of little logical control, spray concern unless populations become so high in the morning and as to prematurely kill foliage. Close proxim- evening and keep soil ity to crops such as lettuce, celery, or spin- moist. Beneficials such ach will increase the potential for damage as ground and rove bee- by leafminers in garlic. Natural enemies, tles, birds, and braco- especially parasitic wasps, are effective at nid wasps prey on all managing leafminer populations. life stages of the maggot (Davis et al., 2007). DiseasesOnion Maggots, Delia antigua, will also becomea pest on garlic. Adults of Delia species are small Diatomaceous ear th Most garlic diseases are either soil- or seed-gray flies that are somewhat smaller than house spread around early borne and usually can be controlled withflies. When at rest, they keep their wings folded transplants has also proper rotation and by planting disease-freeone over the other. Larvae are creamy white, shown effectiveness in seed. Certain cultural practices can help tolegless maggots about 0.4 inch (10 mm) long(Coviello, 2007). Photo courtesy of J. Ogrodnick, treating the maggots. reduce the incidence of diseases in garlic.Cornell University; NYSAES. The fine fossilized shell Crop rotations away from other species ofPage 8 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 9. alliums and from fields with a history of dis-ease problems are recommended. Sanitationis another important aspect of disease con-trol. If you see any yellowing or misshapenleaves in the field, they should be removedand destroyed. Culls and diseased foliageshould also be removed and either burnedor buried away from the field after harvest.Purchasing disease-free stock is essential inavoiding disease problems.The most common diseases in garlicinclude:White RotSclerotium cepivorum is a major disease Foliar Symptoms of Fusarium show yellowing and/or browning (necrosis) of leaves beginning at tips. The discoloration will move toward the base of the leaf, whichof commercial garlic grown in Califor- will eventually wither and die. Photo from and the Pacific Northwest. The organ-ism is most active when the temperature iscool (less than 75°F). In northern climatesit usually attacks in the spring. Symptomsinclude premature yellowing and dying ofolder leaves, stunting, and leaf tipburn, Fusarium sp. in garlicfollowed by destruction of the root system, head. Photo copyrightshoot dieback, and rotting of the bulb. Con- held by Melodie Putnam,trol by rotating out of allium crops for many Oregon State University.years (white rot has been known to persistin soil for 10 years), destroying infectedtissue, and planting disease-free seed stock(Coviello, 2007). Spraying garlic extract inthe absence of the allium crop may stim-ulate the fungal mycelium to grow andexhaust itself several weeks before planting is much slower and death of the plant may(soil temperature needs to be between 60 not occur. In the field, affected plants mayand 70°F) resulting in a successful subse- show reduced emergence, yellowing and/orquent garlic crop. Apply the garlic extract browning (necrosis) of leaves beginning atin 10 to 150 gallons of water per acre. tips. The discoloration will move toward theUse of this product before planting causes base of the leaf, which will eventually withersclerotia in soil to germinate and die before and die. (Jepson, 2006) Bulbs infected withthe crop is planted (Jepson, 2006). Fusarium may decay further in storage. This disease is controlled by proper cropFusarium (Basal or Bottom Rot) rotation with non-susceptible crops for four years, removal of infected plants, and plant-Fusarium oxysporum and F. cepae are the ing disease-free seed (Coviello, 2007).causal organisms of this fungus, whichis present in all soils and is usually con-sidered a secondary invader because it Botrytisattacks plants that have been weakened by Symptoms of Botrytis include water-soakedinsects, mechanical damage, or other dis- stems, which is why the disease is ofteneases. It is the most common disease found called "neckrot." In severe infections,on planting stock. Fusarium is most active the bulbs may rot. In mild infections, theat high temperatures. Symptoms are simi- disease may not be noticed during the sea-lar to white rot, except disease progression son, but may attack the bulb during ATTRA Page 9
  • 10. touching the bulb and avoid bruising or wounding stored bulbs. Prevent the disease by planting clean stock. Rust Puccinia allii, also called Puccinia porri, is the fungus that causes rust. Until recently, this fungus was considered to be of minor importance in garlic production. However, outbreaks in California in the late 1990s reduced crop yields by up to 75 percent in some fields. Initial symptoms occur on the foliage and stem as small white flecks that develop into orange spots (spores) or pustules. The bulbs become shrunken and deformed. Heavily infected plants may turn yellow and die. Conditions favorable for dis-Botrytis squamosa is a fungus that attacks garlic leaves following periods ofwarm, wet weather as well as bulbs in storage. Photo courtesy of M. D. Wu and G. ease development include high humidity, lowQ. Li. Copyright The American Phytopathological Society. light, and low rainfall and a temperature between 45 degrees and 55°F (Schwartz and Mohan, 2007). Disease incidence is highest in stressed plants. To reduce infection poten- tial, use healthy seed in well-drained soil. Post-harvest Botrytis Rotate with non-allium crops. neck rot in garlic cloves. Photo courtesy of the WSU IMPACT Center. Other Diseases Bacterial soft rots are characterized by soft- ening and water soaking of one or more of the inner fleshy scales of the bulb. Affected tissue is yellow initially, turning brown as the (Schwartz and Mohan, 2007). Control this disease progresses lengthwise in the bulb. disease by promoting air movement through The neck of infected bulbs may be soft when the field so that foliage does not remain pressed. These organisms generally appear wet. Rapid drying during harvest, followed just before or at the time of harvest or in by good aeration during storage, will also storage. This organism is more common in minimize the problem. Use disease-free onion than in garlic. Wounds and senescent planting stock. leaves are the means by which bacteria gain entrance into the bulb. It is spread through Penicillium Molds direct contact with water. Avoid overhead irrigation once garlic begins to bulb. Penicillium is both a field and storage disease. Plants from infected cloves planted Black mold is first evident at the top or sides in the fall will often emerge in the spring, of the bulb where disease or injury has turn yellow, and then die. A blue-green caused an opening in the skin. The fungus color is observed on cloves in soil and in develops between dry, dead outer scales storage, thus its common name, “Blue and the first inner fleshy scales of the bulb. Mold.” (Schwartz and Mohan, 2007) When Invaded scales initially become water soaked. conditions are optimum for rapid garlic Under dry conditions diseased scales dry bulb emergence, the plant may outgrow the and shrivel, and black masses of spores are disease. Air-borne spores spread the dis- visible between outer scales. Gentle handling ease. If a bulb is infected, do not use the of the bulbs post-harvest is a preventive mea- cloves for planting stock. Wash hands after sure for this disease. (Davis et al., 2007)Page 10 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 11. Nematodes if possible. This helps eradicate the bulb or stem nematode fromDitylenchus dipsaci is a stem and bulb spe- loose (cracked) cloves but not fromcies of nematode. Plant parasitic nematodes intact bulbs.are microscopic roundworms that live in soiland plant tissue and feed on plants by punc-turing and sucking the cell contents with a Virusesneedlelike mouthpart called a stylet. The There has been a high incidence of multi-stem and bulb nematode lives within the ple viruses found in garlic fields in Canadaplant, feeding in stems, leaves, and bulbs and throughout the United States in recent(Westerdahl, 2007). The only known hosts years. However, there are only rare situa-for the garlic strain belong to the onion fam- tions where these have had economic con-ily: garlic, onion, leek, and chive (Ocamb, sequences. The most obvious symptoms are2007). The stem and bulb nematode pen- “radical abnormal leaf expression, such asetrates the germinating clove and destroys extreme curling, stunting, swollen veins andtissue as it moves through, seeking food. unusual protrusions.” (Brunt et al., 1996)Nematodes suck the cell contents and their If your garlic crop shows these symptoms,salivary secretions cause the cells to col- it may grow out of it, but will still have thelapse. Root knot nematodes can cause stunt- virus. It is important not to use seed froming and reduce a stand of garlic. Stubby root that crop for the following year.nematode causes stunting of plants.Plants infested with the stem and bulb nem- Weedsatode have distorted and bloated tissue with Good weed control is essential in garlica spongy appearance; the plants are stunted production. Alliums are slow-growing, shal- low-rooted crops that can suffer severe yieldwith shortened and thickened leaves, often loss from weed competition (Smith et al.,with brown or yellowish spots. In the field, 2007). Planted in the fall and harvested intop growth will yellow and ripen prema- the mid-summer of the next year, garlic willturely. The whole bulb may separate from be in the ground nine months. It is there-the basal plate. fore vulnerable to competition from winterManagement options include: and summer annual weeds. Weed competi- tion, even early in the growth of the crop, • Eradicate volunteer garlic plants can reduce yields. In addition to reducing from fields having a history of stem yield and quality, weeds also interfere with and bulb nematode. mechanical harvesting equipment. • Avoid other hosts of the nematode in your rotation if possible. To reduce reintroduction and spread of this pest, it is necessary to implement a three-year crop rotation with a non-host crop and to bury or burn infested or contaminated seed and plant debris. • Plant only nematode-free cloves. • Soak cloves at 100°F for 30 min- utes in water containing 0.1 percent surfactant; then soak at 120°F for 20 minutes in the same Hood River Garlic Farm uses a smother cover-crop of buckwheat in the summer, kind of solution. Cool cloves in tap before the garlic is planted. Buckwheat is easily broken down and its large cotyle- water for 10 to 20 minutes before dons (first leaves) and fast growing habit are quite effective at smothering summer drying for 2 hours at 100°F, or plant weeds. Photo courtesy of Hood River ATTRA Page 11
  • 12. If possible, advance field preparation with minimal to no control on grasses, how- a weed-suppressing cover crop such as ever. Test plots sprayed from both sides of rye or sorghum-sudan grass can signifi- the row had virtually no broadleaf weeds cantly reduce weeds as well as build up soil at the end of the trial. There was no dif- organic matter. Mulching new plantings has ference in plant size, maturity date, qual- already been mentioned as a way to control ity, yield, bulb size, appearance, or keeping weeds. If mulch is used, it should be thick ability between the test plots and the con- enough to last until harvest. Avoid spent trol plots. Despite the unusually cold and hay and inspect straw for weed seeds. If wet spring during which this trial was con- mulch is used, garlic will have to be dug by ducted (which impacted the ability to make hand rather than machine harvested. Gar- timely applications), they found that there lic can also follow any well-cultivated crop, was a 94 percent reduction in labor (associ- like carrots. ated with weed management) by using vin- egar rather than in-row weeding. (Forsburg, Cultivation is another method of weed con- 2004) It is important to use a mask and trol. If the soil is not mulched, various types gloves when handling and spraying acetic of cultivators or tillers can be used to con- acid-based herbicides, as they can be caus-G trol weeds between rows and wheel tracks auging the tic to your skin and lungs. on the sides of the beds. The weeds within right time the plant rows may be removed by hand cul- to harvest is tivation. David Stern has adapted his tractor Harvest and Storagevery important. Gar- equipment for cultivation with small discs Gauging the right time to harvest is verylic will double in size that throw dirt between the plants. The gar- important. Garlic will double in size during lic leaves are not covered, but small weeds its last stage of growth. If dug too soon, theduring its last stage are eliminated. cloves will not have grown to their maxi-of growth. mum size. If bulbs are dug too late, they Flame weeding works with garlic, as well may have begun to split apart in the soil. as with onions. At six commercial organic David Stern often begins harvesting when farms in Europe, flaming was tried on the leaf tips start to brown. Ron Engeland onions before the four-leaf stage and also uses the number of green leaves left on later in their development (Desvaux and Ott, the plant to judge if the bulb is ready for 1988). Flaming the younger plants resulted harvest. On an average, he harvests when in damage to the onions. However, fl am- about six plant leaves are still green (Enge- ing at a later stage was successful, though land, 1991). Some growers harvest when too much heat damaged the onions. Flam- plants are 40 percent browned and 60 per- ing also works best with more mature gar- cent green. Mr. Stern notes that leaf condi- lic plants, particularly with the Porcelain tions cannot always be an accurate indica- cultivars, because they have vertical leaf tor that it is time to harvest. Browning of structure. Field conditions such as uneven leaves may be the result of drought, dam- ground, inconsistent tractor speed, or high age, or disease. He recommends digging winds can affect the degree of success with some plants up to determine the correct this technique. For small-scale plantings, time to harvest (Stern, 2001). The outer backpack flamers from construction supply skin should be tight, the bulbs fully devel- outlets should work well. The ATTRA Pub- oped and well formed. Mr. Stern recom- lication Flame Weeding for Vegetable Crops mends digging sooner rather than later. If has more detail on this form of cultivation. garlic becomes too mature before harvest, A SARE farm-based research grant in 2003 the cloves will begin to crack apart while studied the affects of acetic acid (vinegar- still in the ground. However, if the garlic based) herbicide for control of broadleaf is pulled at a slightly immature stage, the leaves and grasses in garlic. The outcomes leaves, which serve as wrappers for the demonstrated that 10 percent acetic acid vin- cloves, will continue to translocate nutri- egar was very useful in controlling broadleaf ents to the cloves, making the crop easier to weeds in the test plots. The vinegar provided prepare for sale.Page 12 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 13. a bunch of six to eight bulbs in one hand and spraying them with the garden hose while rotating his wrist so that all sides are washed. He then lays the garlic—not bunched—on racks in the greenhouse and off the ground to dry overnight. The plants are bunched the next day, and stay bunched until he is ready to braid. David Stern digs in the morning and cleans in the afternoon, taking careSome growers harvest when plants are 40 percent not to dig more than he can cleanbrowned and 60 percent green. Photo courtesy of that day. Cull any diseased bulbsHood River Garlic. right away. • Large bulbs are saved for plantingIn small-scale plantings, garlic can be dug stock. These should not be washed,with a garden fork. For larger acreages, sev- but hung in a covered barn oreral tools are available for undercutting and shed to dry. Fans may be used toharvesting garlic. Bed lifters, potato dig- increase air movement in wet years.gers, or subsoilers can be used to loosen (California is the only place wheregarlic from the soil. (These will not work if garlic is dried in the field. Growersheavy mulch remains.) Erme, a small farm commonly lay the bulbs in the fieldimplement manufacturer from France, has for a few days to dry, covering thesingle- and double-row garlic harvesters and bulbs of one row with the leaves ofbinders. The companys contact information the next to prevent direct exposureis listed below under Further Resources. to sunlight.)The Garlic Seed Foundation can also provide Before garlic is stored, it must be properlyinformation on building your own harvesting cured or dried. According to David Stern,equipment, or referrals to manufacturers. the garlic needs to cure/dry for at least 10After mechanical digging, the garlic still to 14 days. The neck cells constrict andneeds to be removed from the field by hand. hold the juice in the bulb. He suggests thisField grading should be done immediately be done with the stem and roots still on, butto remove any damaged or diseased plants, there are many theories on this which cana standard practice for disease prevention. vary by region and year. After a couple of weeks they may be clipped off, leaving ¼Sort garlic into three categories: to ½ inch of the stem and roots. When the • Small bulbs can be cleaned for sale outer skins are dry and crispy, the garlic is or your own kitchen. ready for storage or sale. It can be stored in clean onion bags. Garlic will lose up to 20 • Medium-sized bulbs are cleaned in percent of its weight in the curing process. preparation for sale. One harvesting Hood River Garlic Farm debate involves whether or not to According to the publication Commercial cures their garlic by wash bulbs. Ron Engeland states in Storage of Fruits and Vegetables, garlic will hanging it in bunches in Growing Great Garlic that he doesnt keep for 6 to 7 months if it is stored at 32° their barn after the har- vest. Photo courtesy of want to invite mold and decay that F and at 65 to 70 percent relative humid- Hood River Garlic. might result from having wet bulbs ity (Hardenburg et al., 1986). It is impor- as a result of washing, and bulbs tant to keep temperature and humidity con- grown in light soils with lots of stant. High humidity will keep the bulbs humus clean up fairly easily. Garlic from dehydrating. A walk-in cooler should grown in heavier soils is more diffi- make a suitable storage facility; however cult to clean. David Sterns method many farms shut their coolers down in the for cleaning garlic begins by holding winter. Also, any variation or fluctuation ATTRA Page 13
  • 14. these conditions will initiate sprouting. This The cost of seed cloves plus the hand labor can make it difficult to store garlic for long for planting and harvest makes the initial periods of time without sprout inhibitors. A investment for garlic production high in 25-watt light bulb and a thermostat can be comparison to some other vegetable crops. used to provide heat when needed. A fan Additional costs include land preparation will keep air circulating. Most farmers sell and installing an irrigation system. The their garlic as a fresh crop at farmers’ mar- enterprise budgets in Appendix 2 will kets; very few sell over the winter, because help growers gauge what their costs and of the difficulty associated with sprout pre- returns will be. Garlic returns are very vention (Stern, 2007). dependent on how the crop is marketed. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Stored garlic should be checked monthly. Extension bulletin on garlic production Penicillium, or white or blue mold, is a post- suggests that wholesale marketing of well- harvest disease that may show up in stored managed garlic at prices from $2.00 to garlic. The fungus will sporulate and spread $4.00 per pound could easily return (net) within the confi ned conditions of storage. from $1,400 to $3,200 per acre (see Table For more on prevention of Penicillium see 1). An acre of well managed conventional the Disease section of this publication. or organic garlic that is direct marketed at prime locations by the producer (perhaps Marketing and Economics in braids and other forms) could return in U.S. garlic production has doubled over excess of $5,000 per acre (CES, 2006). each of the last two decades. No other veg- In producing value-added products such as etable, including high flyers like onions, braids, labor needs to be accounted for in broccoli, and carrots, has exhibited such your enterprise budget. strong sustained growth. (Lucie and Lin, Of the total garlic harvested in the U.S., 75 2000). Despite this sustained growth, percent is sold wholesale for dehydration; there has been significant global compe- however, garlic is an excellent crop to direct tition, mostly from the People’s Repub- market as a local specialty (Boriss, 2006). lic of China. As of 2004, China was the It can be sold in a number of forms for a dominant source of imported garlic in the number of uses. Some fresh-market options United States, despite the imposition of a for garlic include wholesale markets, farm- hefty duty tax against fresh Chinese garlic ers’ markets, and roadside stands. Sales imports imposed in 1994. Prior to imposi- to local retail markets, such as supermar- tion of the anti-dumping duties China was a kets and specialty produce and health food major exporter of garlic to the United States stores, are also an option. (Boriss, 2006), which had a significant impact on U.S. growers. International com- Retail garlic prices vary considerably. petition should be a serious consideration Supermarkets generally sell garlic at around for farmers considering developing larger $2.00 per pound, while some natural foods international markets for their garlic. grocers sell garlic for as high as $4 to $5 Table 1. Net Returns for five different yields and prices of garlic Yield (lbs./ acre) Price ($/lb.) 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 $0.80 ($5,815) ($5,313) ($4,810) ($4,308) ($3,805) $1.60 ($4,215) (2,913) (1,610) (308) 995 $2.40 ($2,615) (513) 1,590 3,692 5,795 $3.20 ($1,015) 1,887 4,790 7,692 10,595 $4.00 $585 4,287 7,990 11,692 15,395 Taken from: Garlic Production (Thomas Ford, et al., 2006). Penn State Agriculture Alternatives.Page 14 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 15. per pound. Direct market prices can go as B u l bs w i th l e a v e shigh as $1.00 per bulb for specialty vari- at tached may beeties. At the wholesale level, garlic is nor- braided, with or withoutmally traded as 5-, 22-, and 30-pound dried flowers or herbs,boxes, and 3-pound ropes and braids. To and sold as ornamentalview recent information on organic garlic edibles. Instructions forwholesale prices see the New Farm Organic making garlic braids arePrice Index. This information is available available in the informa-under Further Resources below. tional pamphlet titled How to Make a GarlicIn addition to the whole bulbs, garlic can Braid, by Diane Tren-be sold in a number of additional forms: haile, listed below underGarlic greens are the leaves of the tender, Further Resources.immature garlic plant grown from small Many farmers sell garlicwhole bulbs planted four inches apart in for planting stock. Plant-the fall. They are harvested at ground level, ing stock can be sold tobunched (2" across at base), banded, and gardeners, local farm- Braiding garlic can help increase the value of yourrinsed. The leaves need to be tender, and ers, and through the garlic crop. Photo by Yuki Yanagimoto, courtesyapproximately 8-10" tall. New leaves will Internet or mail order. of up to two additional times. Harvest Terry Browne Hixson,season is approximately late March to late from Hood River Garlic, describes theirApril in most temperate climates. In warmer decision to grow organic garlic for plantingclimates this may be earlier. You can cre- stock. “Seed was not our original goal. Ourate a value-added product by making garlic goal was to just grow garlic. But after yearsgreens pesto. of experience and hard work, we startedGarlic scapes (or flower stalks) should be growing garlic of superior quality. Our mar-cut from the plant when tender, curled, kets are people who want to buy premiumand no longer than 16" total and/or 1/4" quality, certified organic seed garlic. Wein diameter. Harvesting in mid-day sun are low-volume, high-quality seed grow-is a good cultural practice. They should ers. We love to grow our garlic and prac-be rinsed, drained, bagged, and refrig- tice good stewardship for the land. Thereerated. These are living vegetable matter are easier and less expensive ways to growand must not dry out or mold. Monitor- garlic, however, we choose to grow organi-ing in storage is necessary, and yellowing cally and promote sustainable agriculturescapes must be removed. to help our planet.” They mainly sell their garlic via the Internet, and use advertise-Garlic Scallions are immature plants. They ments in selected magazines.can be grown from small cloves planted ineither fall or spring. They should be har- Terry also suggests a Garlic of the Monthvested when the plant is 12" above ground club for those who are direct marketing.and 14" total. The entire plant is dug, outer “The Garlic of the Month Club has been aleaf or two peeled down and off, and rinsed great market for us. It’s a great gift idea forclean. The roots should be left on and free anyone who loves to cook, as well as theof dirt. Pack the “scallions” for market in kitchen gardener.”banded bunches of 6 with 12 bunches per Garlic festivals provide an excellent opportu-poly bag or waxed and lined box. No bul- nity to market and increase consumer aware-bing at the base is acceptable, since this ness. Almost every state has a garlic festival,will be tough and inedible. No scallion check out the Garlic Seed Foundation Webshould be less than 3/8" in diameter. site to find one near your ATTRA Page 15
  • 16. Further Resources including history, varieties, soil and fertility, planting, mulching, cultivation, pests, scape removal, harvestingOrganizations and handling, and markets. Available from the Garlic Seed Foundation for $3.00 (free with membership).Garlic Seed FoundationDavid Stern, Director The Garlic Press. Newsletter of the GarlicRose Valley Farm Seed Foundation.P.O. Box 149 Covers tours, festivals and other events, trial plantingRose, NY 14542-0149 results, drying and production information, equipment,315-587-9787 and other Created in 1984 over a love of garlic potluck suppers, Growing for Market. Edited by Lynn Byczynski. the Garlic Seed Foundation has grown to an interna- P.O. Box 3747 tional organization of over 1,000 members, primarily Lawrence, KS 66046 centered in the Northeast U.S. Objectives have been to 785-748-0605, 800-307-8949 educate, promote, and have some fun. GSF acts as a clearinghouse for information and research data. Its Since 1992 this informative and practical monthly newsletter, The Garlic Press, is published about four magazine has published the experience of the nations times per year. Yearly membership fee is $15.00 and direct-market farmers. All the articles are written by includes a copy of Garlic, a cooperative report written farmers, farmers market managers, and others directly by Cornell University and the GSF. Also available from involved in the business of growing and selling local the Foundation are a number of reports, fact sheets, food and flowers. Available in print and online. videos, books, a garlic bibliography, and an annual Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for listing of available planting stock. Mr. Stern is willing Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers. 1991. By Ron to accept calls with specific questions. L. Engeland. Filaree Farms, Okanogan, WA. 226 p.The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) ISBN # 0-9630850-1-8. Available Filaree Farms CES in many states has bulletins on conventional, 182 Conconully Hwy.and occasionally on organic, production of horticultural Okanogan, WA 98840crops. To find the Cooperative Extension Office closest to 509-422-6940you go to their Web site and click on your state. If you E-mail: info@filareefarm.comare unable to access the Internet, call the ATTRA infor- www.filareefarm.commation line at 1-800-346-9140 and we will provide this This book covers the history and evolution of garlic,information for you. site and soil preparation, harvest, curing, and stor- age. It tells which strains to plant, when and how toPublications plant, when to fertilize (and when not to fertilize), whenCompendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases and Pests. to prune flower stalks, when to harvest, plus how to2007. Edited by H. F. Schwartz and S. K. Mohan. store, market and process the crop. The author providesAPS Press, St. Paul, MN. updated information on varieties in a 1995 supplement. A comprehensive compendium on garlic and onion How to Make A Garlic Braid. 1995. diseases. By Diane Trenhaile. Clove Publications, Inc.Diseases of Vegetable Crops. 1952. By John C. Available from Filaree Farms, above.Walker. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, NY. 529 p. This 12-page booklet, complete with clear photographsLibrary of Congress card # 51-12826. and drawings and detailed instructions, leads the Contains a 37-page chapter on allium diseases. Suggests reader step-by-step through the braiding process. many organically acceptable cultural control options. Onion, Garlic, Leeks, and Shallots. 1986. By ArdenGarlic. Report # 387. 1990. By Roger Kline and the Sherf and Alan MacNab. p. 432-470. In: VegetableGarlic Seed Foundation. Cornell University and the Diseases and Their Control. 2nd ed. John Wiley andGarlic Seed Foundation, Rose, NY. 10 p. Sons, New York, NY. Covers a broad range of garlic production information Chapter covers life cycle and control options forPage 16 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 17. bacterial soft rots, onion smut, downy mildew, white References rot and a number of other allium diseases.Onions and Leeks. 1992. By R.W. Straub and B. Boriss, Haylee. January 2006. Commodity Profi le:Emmett. p. 235-249. In: McKinlay, Roderick G. (ed.). Garlic. Agriculture Marketing Resource Center.Vegetable Crop Pests. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, ISBN # 0-8493-7729-3. Brunt, A., K. Crabtree, M. Dallwitz, A. Gibbs, and Chapter covers life cycles and management options for L. Watson (1996). Viruses of Plants: Descriptions and thrips, moths, flies and nematode pests of onions, leeks Lists from the VIDE Database. 1484 pp. C.A.B. and other alliums. International, U.K.Soil Solarization: A Non-Pesticide Method for Cooperative Extension Service (CES). 2006 (revised).Controlling Diseases, Nematodes, and Weeds. 1997. Garlic and Elephant Garlic. University of KentuckyBy G.S. Pullman et al. Leaflet 21377. Cooperative Cooperative Extension. New Crops Opportunities Center.Extension Service, University of California. 13 p. for $5.00 postage paid from:ANR Publications Coviello, R. L. Updated 2007. UC IPM PestUniversity of California Management Guidelines: Onion and Garlic—Insects6701 San Pablo Avenue section. UC ANR Publication 3453. Statewide IPMOakland, CA 94608-1239 Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources,510-642-2431 University of California. OtherVegetables/3453.aspx Davidson, Ralph H. and William F. Lyon. 1987.Regional publications Insect Pests of Farm, Garden, and Orchard. 7th ed.Garlic. 1995. Ronald Voss. University of California John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY. p. 305.Small Farm Center. Davis, R.M. et al. Updated 2007. UC IPM PestGarlic and Elephant Garlic. 2006. University of Management Guidelines: Onion and Garlic—DiseasesKentucky Cooperative Extension. New Crops section. UC ANR Publication 3453. Statewide IPMOpportunities Center. Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources,introsheets/garlic.pdf University of California. Production. 2006. Thomas Ford et al. OtherVegetables/3453.aspxPenn State Agriculture Alternatives. Desvaux, R. and P. Ott. 1988. Introduction of thermicThe Pennsylvania State University. weed control in southeastern France. In: Patricia Allen and Debra Van Dusen (eds.) Perspectives on Agroecol-Equipment ogy and Sustainable Agricultural Systems: Proceed-Erme Farm Machinery ings of the 6th International Scientific ConferenceDutch Valley Growers, Inc of IFOAM. University of California AgroecologyE-Mail : Program, Santa Cruz, CA.4067 E. 4000 N. Rd. Dutch Valley Growers. 2006. Planting Equipment.Bourbonnais, IL 60914 Dutch Valley Growers, Inc. Downloaded Sept. Garlic Pricing Engeland, Ron L. 1991. Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and SmallThe New Farm Organic Price Index Farmers. Filaree Farms, Okanogan, WA. 226 p. ISBN# 0-9630850-1-8. An online tool that helps you price competitively. The tool tracks selected prices from the fruit, vegetable, Ford, Thomas et al. 2006. Garlic Production. herbs and grain sectors, comparing organic prices to Penn State Agriculture Alternatives. conventional prices in markets across the country. The Pennsylvania State ATTRA Page 17
  • 18. Forsburg, Fred. 2004. Vinegar as an Organic Pullman, G. S., et al. Rev. 1997. Soil Solarization:Herbicide in Garlic. Sustainable Agriculture Research A Non-pesticide Method for Controlling Diseases,and Education Grant Report # FNE03-461. Nematodes, and Weeds. Leaflet 21377. Cooperative Extension Service, University of California.The Garlic Store. 2006. How to Grow Garlic.Downloaded August 2006. Rodale Press, Editors. 2006. Organic Gardening A-Z:index.cgi/howto.html#FERTILIZING Onion Maggots. Rodale Press Inc. 2006. www.,7518,s1-2-9-728,00.htmlGlenister, Carol. IPM Laboratories, Inc., Locke, NY.E-mail: Rosen, Carl et al. 1999. Growing Garlic in Minnesota.Telephone Conversation, November 2006. University of Minnesota Extension service. Regents the University of Minnesota.Gough, Robert. 1999. Growing Garlic in Montana. Schwartz, H. F. and S. K. Mohan (editors). 2007.Montana State University Extension Service. Compendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases and Pests.Publication# MT 9904 Agriculture. APS Press, St. Paul, MN.Hardenburg, Robert E., Alley E. Watada, and Chien Smith, R. et al. 2007. UC IPM Pest ManagementYi Wang. 1986 (revised April 2004). The Commercial Guidelines: Onion and Garlic. UC ANR PublicationStorage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery 3453 Weeds. University of California.Stocks. USDA Handbook No. 66. p. 59. Stern, David. Director, The Garlic Seed Foundation.Hoffman, Michael P. et al. 1996. Integrated Pest Personal Communication. 2001.Management for Onions. Cornell Cooperative Stern, David. 2007. Director, The Garlic SeedExtension Publication. 78 p. Foundation. Telephone Conversation, January 2007.Jepson, Susan B. 2006. Fusarium rot of garlic bulbs. Stern, David and Gayle Volk. Big News for Garlic.OSU Plant Clinic. Oregon State University Extension Press page. Downloaded Sept. 2007.Service., Richard. OARDC-Entomology; Stern, David and Gayle Volk. 2005. GeneticThorne Hall, 1680 Madison Avenue Diversity of Garlic. USDA Agricultural ResearchWooster, OH 44691. 330-263-3724. Personal Service. 2001. publications.htm?seq_no_115=174490Lucie, Gary and Biing-Hwan Lin. June-July 2000. Stewart, Keith. 2006. Its a Long Road to a Tomato:Garlic: Flavor of the Ages. Agricultural Outlook. Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City forUSDA Economic Research Service. Available at: the (Not So) Simple Life. Marlowe & Company, York, NY.ao272e.pdf Westerdahl, B.B. 2007. UC IPM Pest ManagementOcamb, Cynthia, Ed. 2007. Garlic Nematodes (Stem and Guidelines: Onion and Garlic: Nematodes.bulb). Oregon State University Extension Online Guide to University of California ANR Publication #3453.Plant Disease Control. Oregon State University. 18 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 19. Appendix 1 :Farmer Profile: Keith Stewart, Keith’s FarmA Garlic Affair: How the On our farm we grow Rocambole, a variety of hard-neck garlic that arrived in my hands“Stinking Rose” Became a seventeen years ago through good fortuneMajor Crop on One Farm and the generosity of a neighbor. AndyBy Keith Stewart Burigo, an old Italian American who livesExcerpted with permission from Keith down the road from us, befriended my wife,Stewart’s book, It’s a Long Road to a Tomato Flavia (also of Italian ancestry), while she was out on one of her landscape-paintingOf the approximately 100 varieties of vege- excursions. After Mr. Burigo learned that Itable and herbs we grow on our farm, garlic was running an organic farm, he presentedreigns as the sovereign queen. I would give my wife with a brown paper bag contain-up the 99 others, albeit reluctantly, before ing about 30 bulbs of garlic and suggestedI would give up my garlic. Garlic is our big- to her that I try to grow them. He told hergest crop and the one that has brought us the original planting stock came from Cal-major press coverage, both in New York abria, Italy, and that it had entered the U.S.City and nationally. Finally and, perhaps many years earlier in the pocket of a friend,most endearingly, garlic is the crop that unbeknownst to customs officials. Everbrings in the most cash. since then he had given it pride of place inMost growers of garlic, be they weekend dab- his extensive and well tended garden.blers or for-profit players like myself, soon …I sold a few dozen bulbs at my farmer’slearn that they have entered into a relation- market stand. The following week almostship with a plant that will not be easily cast every customer who had purchased oneoff. Garlic’s attributes are such that, once came back smiling, asking for more. Itsmitten by the garlic bug, many growers occurred to me then that I might be onto adevelop a lifelong attachment. Often, our pas- good thing. I didn’t sell any more garlic thatsion for Allium sativum goes well beyond its year and was reluctant even to give an occa-wondrous culinary, medicinal and curative sional bulb to my wife. Instead, I squirreledproperties. For me, it is the plant itself that away the 100-odd bulbs that were left. Thatis most remarkable: its stately appearance in fall I divided them into about 800 clovesthe field, its fascinating life cycle and growth and planted them with great care.habit, its hardiness, its ancient lineage, theway it comports itself in this world. The following year we sold a few hundred at market, again to rave reviews, and saved theThe Northeast, with its cold winters, is rest for planting. I continued like that for asuited to growing the hard-neck garlic, a while, parceling out my trove in quite par-different subspecies that is closer to the simonious fashion, but within a few years Ioriginal wild garlic from south-central had built up planting stock of 20,000 clovesAsia and not as domesticated as the soft- and an eager pool of customers. I was readyneck varieties. Hard-neck garlic (some- to do some serious business.times called topset garlic) has larger clovesthat radiate out from a hard central stem. With each subsequent year, aided by good press (on TV, radio, and in print media), theThey peel easily and their flavor, while it demand for our garlic has increased. Andranges widely from one hard-neck variety each year, to keep pace with this demand, Ito another, is often outstanding. Hard-neck have allotted more acreage and labor to thegarlic is more demanding to grow than soft- cultivation of this exceptional plant.neck. It tends to yield less per acre, andoften has a shorter shelf life, but among real Now we are planting approximately 50,000garlic lovers, it is the only stuff to eat. cloves—each and every one by hand. ATTRA Page 19
  • 20. may be that we have reached a natural ceil- oriented correctly, so that its fi rst shoot in ing in garlic production, if not in terms of the spring will head toward the sun, not how much we can sell at market, then in the earth’s molten core. The smallest cloves terms of the resources we have available are planted more closely (they receive the to grow the stuff. These days I often feel three-inch spacing) and will be dug up and overwhelmed by the vast sea of garlic grow- sold as green garlic in the early summer. ing in my fields and the substantial effort The entire plant is sold, leaves and all, to required to plant it, mulch it, weed it, water the surprise and bemusement of newer cus- it, harvest it, cure it, grade it, and sell it. tomers. The larger cloves receive five or six But I still dearly love my garlic and regard inches of spacing and will be allowed to it more than ever as the plant that defined grow to maturity. the essence of our farm. After planting is completed (it usually takes Growing 50,000 garlic plants on a small, two to three weeks), the cloves are mulched diversified, organic farm is no small task. It a few inches thick with 100-odd tons of well- must be approached in a highly organized, aged bedding material from a nearby horse almost military fashion. At each stage, tim- farm. Through the winter, they rest in the ing is critical. First, we select the planting cold ground, nursing their store of energy, stock—some 8 or 9,000 of our best bulbs awaiting the transformation to come. For a from the summer harvest. We prefer large farmer it is a good thing to know that the bulbs, but not the very biggest—these have garlic is in the ground, that the next gen- a high proportion of split cloves that grow eration of this most special plant is waiting two or three small plants instead of one under the snow to be born. large one. The fi rst green shoots break ground in late In early October we look for a warm and March or early April, and that’s when I comfortable spot and sit down to sepa- know for sure that I’m back in the garlic rate the chosen bulbs into their constitu- business. By mid-April all the plants should ent cloves. This phase of garlic planting is be up. May and June are the months of known as “garlic popping.” We grade the intensive weeding, much of which is done cloves into several categories (tiny, small, by hand. If the rains fail, water will have to medium, large, questionable, and “bad be provided via irrigation. stuff”) depending on their size and quality. The garlic carries on its above-ground The few cloves that are soft, moldy, dam- growth rapidly until the summer solstice, aged, or exhibit even the slightest sign of when the longest day of the year is reached. disease go straight into the “bad stuff” box As the days begin to shorten, the plant and are later burned in a 55-gallon drum. slows down its photosynthetic processes and I regard it as imperative that our planting begins to focus on its underground parts— stock be clean and well-screened. The whole the energy captured in the leaves is directed process usually takes two weeks and is quite downward to form the new bulb. taxing on the hands, especially the thumbs. By the time all the cloves are “popped” and Toward the end of June our garlic sends up ready to plant, my helpers are wondering if a flower stalk, though it’s more correctly our workers’ compensation insurance covers referred to as a false flower stalk, since gar- thumb replacement surgery. (It does not.) lic rarely, if ever, reproduces sexually (via the coming together of male and female Next, I use a tractor to cut furrows 18 parts), like most other plants do. Instead, inches apart in well-rested ground. We then its strategy for self-perpetuation relies on set about on our hands and knees, plant- clonal division: each new bulb is a clone of ing the cloves one at a time at a spacing of an earlier bulb, going all the way back, you three to six inches. Each clove is pushed might say, to an ancient mother bulb from a few inches into the soil and must be some distant time and place.Page 20 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 21. The false flower stalk of our Rocambole be cut off without the risk of bacteria enter-garlic, if left on the plant, can grow two ing the bulbs. Once the leaves are removedto three feet high. It goes through some (this is typically carried out over severalwonderful loops and whorls and eventu- weeks), the bulbs are graded accordingally straightens up and swells at the top to to size and quality. The largest bulbs areform a capsule that contains several minia- usually sold fi rst. They are prized by ourture bulbs of garlic known as bulbils. Most customers but do not store quite as well asgrowers believe that early removal of the the smaller and medium-sized bulbs. If allfalse flower stalk—the scape or top, as it is goes according to plan, by December weoften called—will lead to a larger bulb. We are taking our last bulbs to market (with thesubscribe to this belief, too, but we usually exception, of course, of a personal stash)leave some tops on anyway, since they make and our customers are stocking up for thesuch a sight in the field and can present a winter. Meanwhile, dormant in the frozenstunning arrangement in a vase. ground, the next generation of garlic isThe growth of the false flower stalk, the waiting to fulfi ll its ancient destiny and, atdevelopment of the capsule, and the for- the same time, keep its promise to help amation of the bulbils are all part of what small farm stay afloat. It’s not a bad deal,makes hard-neck garlic such an extraordi- on both sides.nary plant. Visually, the tops are striking.They are also excellent to eat.We harvest our garlic when about half the A few years back Andy Burigo, gardenerleaves have turned brown, usually over a extraordinaire and father of our garlic,two-week period from the last week of July died at age 86. In his later years, he andto the fi rst week of August. This calls for his wife Ida visited our farm once a yearmajor effort on the part of all hands present or so to have coffee with Flavia and eval-and generates a copious amount of human uate the condition of my crops. On theirsweat. A tractor with cultivator tines loosens last visit—by which time I had transformedthe soil on either side of the bulbs so that his original gift into some 35,000 healthymost of them can be pulled by hand, with- plants glistening in the morning sun—Andyout additional digging. But the numbers are called my wife over to him, saying that hegreat, the sun is hot, and the total harvested had something for her. With a sober look inplant weight, along with a little residual soil his eyes, he reached out and pressed intoaround the roots, is several tons. her hand a half-dozen newly minted pen- nies. “See what your husband can do withWith their leafy tops still attached, the bulbs these,” he said, and broke into his custom-are hung in clusters of 10 or 12 in every ary twinkle-eyed laughter.available space in the barn and tractor orimplement sheds. Strategically placed fans At his well-attended funeral on a Saturdayassist in the curing process. Access into morning, while I was selling garlic in Newthese large enclaves of hanging plant mat- York City, Flavia reached in to her handbagter is severely limited, and everywhere the and took out a very large bulb I had givenair is redolent with the smell of fresh garlic. her the night before. Quietly she made herIf the weather is not too humid, within a way through the crowd of mourners andmonth the stems of the plants will be suffi- placed the bulb on Andys coffin just beforeciently dry and hard that the leafy tops can it was lowered into the ATTRA Page 21
  • 22. Appendix 2Sample Garlic Budget 1:Excerpted from: Ford, T. et al. 2006. Agricultural Alternatives: Garlic Production. The Pennsylvania StateUniversity. Page 4. Table 2. Sample Garlic Budget. Summary of estimated costs and returns per acre. Quantity or Number of YourItems Operations Units Price Total EstimateVariable costsSeeding costs: Seed (cloves, including freight) 1,000 lbs $4.90 $4,900.00 _____________ Lime 2 tons $25.00 $50.00 _____________ Nitrogen 75 lbs $0.38 $28.50 _____________ Phosphorus 138 lbs $0.32 $44.16 _____________ Potassium 138 lbs $0.23 $31.74 _____________ Planting labor 20 hrs $10.00 $200.00 _____________Herbicides: Buctril 4EC 0.25 pint $13.34 $3.34 _____________ Gramoxone Extra 0.375 gallon $33.92 $12.72 _____________Harvesting: Harvest labor 40 hrs $10.00 $400.00 _____________ Grading and packaging (*) 200 bags $0.95 $190.00 _____________ Hauling (*) 4,000 lbs $0.15 $600.00 _____________Machinery: Machinery rental (mulch layer) 1 day $40.00 $40.00 _____________ Diesel fuel 10.573 gallon $2.00 $21.15 _____________ Tractor repairs and maint. 1 acre $6.30 $6.30 _____________ Implement repairs and maint. 1 acre $7.62 $7.62 _____________Other variable expenses: Plastic mulch 1 acre $250.00 $250.00 _____________ Drip irrigation (tape and labor) 1 acre $330.00 $330.00 _____________Interest expense: Operating interest $217.27 _____________Total variable costs $7,332.79 _____________Fixed costs Tractors 1 acre $12.75 $12.75 _____________ Implements 1 acre $14.76 $14.76 _____________ Drip irrigation system 1 acre $500.00 $500.00 _____________ Land charge 1 acre $150.00 $150.00 _____________Total fixed costs $677.51 _____________Total Costs $8,010.30 _____________* Based on 4,000 lbs/A productionIt is customary for producers to keep enough cloves for replanting for the following season.This should be factored into subsequent budgets.Page 22 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 23. Sample Garlic Budget 2:Excerpted from: Klonsky, K. et al. (no date) Cultural Practices and Sample Costs for Organic Vegetable Pro-duction in the Central Coast of California. University of California Vegetable Research and Information Center. Table 3a. Costs to Produce Organic ATTRA Page 23
  • 24. Table 3a continuedPage 24 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 25. Table 3b. Operating Inputs Costs to Produce Organic ATTRA Page 25
  • 26. Table 3c. Monthly Cash Costs to Produce Organic GarlicPage 26 ATTRA Garlic: Organic Production
  • 27. ATTRA Page 27
  • 28. Garlic: Organic Production By Janet Bachmann and Tammy Hinman NCAT Agriculture Specialists © 2008 NCAT Karen VanEpen, Editor Amy Smith, Production This publication is available on the Web at: or IP320 Slot 163 Version 040708Page 28 ATTRA