Choosing, Growing, Using and Selling Garlic for Small-Scale Growers in Ontario

Jim Dyer

March 2004

Prepared for: Seeds of Diversity Canada (SoDC)

In fulfilment of the terms of the project: “Introducing Heritage Seed Growers in Ontario to Garlic Cultivation as a Heritage Crop”; Project number 642.

Funding support for this project came from the CanAdapt Small Projects Initiative, a joint program of Ontario Agri-Food Industry and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.


Seeds of Diversity Canada (SoDC) recognizes garlic as a valuable genetic resource. Even though garlic cannot produce true seeds, a diversity of distinct strains enjoys at least informal recognition from growers. In keeping with SoDC’s mission, the best way to protect this diversity is through promotion of garlic as a viable garden crop for small-scale growers. Much more has been written about the cooking and medicinal aspects than the cultivation of garlic, perhaps because it is easy to grow and its food value is so great. While these health benefits will be described in Appendix A, the main focus of this paper is on growing garlic. The target audience is anyone with an interest in gardening, either for home-use or profit, but whose acquaintance with garlic may not go far beyond its use in cooking. The aim is for more people to grow it. To this end, the opening text introduces garlic’s history, habits, close relatives and varieties. Although a few products that can be made for sale are briefly described in Appendix B (‘Value added’), this is not a cook book.

While a consensus was evident among the many gardening sources that touch briefly on garlic, a few key experts were heavily relied upon. Ron Engeland’s “Growing Great Garlic” is the most complete discussion of garlic as a commercial crop. But unfortunately it relates to growing conditions of the north-west USA. For Ontario, the experience built up by two growers, Paul Pospisil and Ted Maczka, has been extensively tapped into here. Paul’s experience has largely been packaged in ‘the Garlic Newsletter’, while Ted contributed a half-day of discussions with the author. Both have been regular presenters at numerous garlic festivals. The OMAFRA factsheet on garlic provided a useful starting point, particularly for diseases. Much of the context is prescriptive since space does not permit exploration of all the reasoning behind each practice.

Table of contents

Preface …………………………………………………………………………..…1

Introduction …………………………………………………………………….…3

What is Garlic? ……………………………………………………………………3

Garlic history: ………………………………………………………….….3

How the garlic plant grows: ……………………………………………....3

Relatives of garlic: ………………………………………………………...4

Know your Garlic Varieties ……………………………………………………....5

How to Grow Garlic ………………………………………………………….……7

Seed bed preparation: ……………………………………………….…….8

Soil Fertility: ………………………………………………………….……8

When to plant: ……………………………………………………….…….8

Over-wintering your crop: ………………………………………………..8

Planting: ……………………………………………………………………9

Selecting planting stalk: ……………………………………………….…10

Getting better yields: ………………………………………………….….10

Irrigation: …………………………………………………………………11

Pests and diseases: ………………………………………………………..11

Leek moth: ………………………………………………………………...12

Harvesting: …………………………………………………………….…..12

Curing and storing: …………………………………………………….…13

Getting your Garlic to Market …………………………………………….……..14

Summary …………………………………………………………………….…….15

References …………………………………………………………………………15

Appendix A: Health Benefits of Garlic ………………………………………….18

What garlic does: …………………………………………………………18

Biochemistry and constituents: …………………………………….…….19

Appendix B: Value added …………………………………………………….…..20

Home made products: ……………………………………………….……20

Garlic braids: ……………………………………………………….……..21

Appendix C: Garlic Growers' Registry ………………………………………….22


Garlic is the only easily-stored, living herb [13] and is both a food and a medicine [11]. In southern Europe and Asia it is used as a cooking herb in most dishes [12]. Compared to commercial drugs, it is safe, inexpensive and readily available [11]. In spite of our long historical association with garlic, the persistent odour (body and breath) has relegated it to the vegetable of the peasant (stinking rose), particularly in Northern Europe and England [28]. But that is changing. Garlic production in the USA quadrupled between 1970 and 1995, with 90% being grown in California [13,28]. Garlic is now a viable alternative for many tobacco growers in Ontario [31].

Canada is an ideal climate for growing high quality garlic [17,28], partly because northern-grown garlic produces fewer and larger cloves [21]. But garlic can be grown in most climates, in a wide variety of soils and has few pests [11]. Although it is easy to grow [11], home-plantings don’t always result in large bulbs [4]. For that reason, this text will guide new growers in understanding, growing and selling this amazing herb based on Ontario growing conditions. If your garden is a hobby, growing garlic provides a fresh supply that will benefit your health [5]. Since understanding those benefits is valuable both growers and consumers, they will also be presented in Appendix A.

What is Garlic?

Garlic history: The origin of the English name was ‘gar leek’, derived from Anglo-Saxon meaning ‘spear leek’ [11,13]. Garlic probably originated in Central Asia near Mongolia or Afghanistan [9,11,28,30]. It spread to Eastern Europe and East Asia with very early human migrations, covering an area roughly duplicating the overland trade route from China to the Mediterranean [9].

Garlic bulbs were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen, placing them in Egyptian history about 3,300 years ago [28]. They were part of the diet of the Hebrew slaves who built the pyramids [10,18,28] and were mentioned in the bible and the Odyssey [18]. From Egypt, they spread to the Middle East and throughout the Roman Empire [18,30]. The ancient Chinese took it as a guard against plagues [34]. The Crusaders brought it back to France [30]. Garlic first came to North America with the Spanish [13]. Albert Schweitzer treated many diseases with garlic [18]. During both World Wars it earned the nick-name “Russian penicillin” for the contribution of garlic poultices to dressing wounds and treating infections, particularly gangrene [18,28]. Prior to World War Two, garlic was the most frequently used medicinal plant in Germany [13].

How the garlic plant grows: The plant is larger than onion, growing two to four feet with purple-white flowers on top [10,11]. The root, or compound bulb, weighs typically six ounces and encapsulates between four and 15 cloves, or sometimes more [31]. Each clove is wrapped in a paper skin formed by two leaves [12,15,33] and weighs about a tenth of an ounce [11]. The same skins wrap the bulb [15]. Cloves are actually modified thickened leaves and each clove is technically a bulb [2,9].

The scape is a simple smooth round stem that grows from the last single leaf, coils at the tip and produces an umbel of small white infertile flowers [5,15]. The true stem, however, stays below the bulb in the ground and is small and flat [9]. Like the onion flower stalk, the scape is solid, not hollow [31]. The bulbils produced by the mushroom-like umbel vary in size and number [2,5]. A crop of bulbs from bulbils takes two years since the full life cycle is biennial [2,6,11]. By mid-summer each bulbil produces a small plant (one foot or less), resembling young wheat or rye, with only four leaves, and a small round, onion-like bulb (called a round) with no divisions [5,16]. Fall-planted rounds will grow like a clove to produce a normal bulb next year [5]. Both cloves and bulbils are vegetative reproductive organs, or clones, rather than true seeds [2,5].

Since garlic has never been known to produce fertile seeds [31], cross-pollinating (genetic exchange) to derive new varieties in the classic plant breeding sense is not possible [2,21,25]. Mutation is the only way that the many reported varieties could have come into being. But garlic can false-mutate, fooling many growers into thinking they have a new strain, only to discover that the desirable features don’t repeat the next season [3,25]. True mutations are actually quite rare, but in view of garlic’s long history of migration with mankind, numerous regional strains evolved solely by this process [9].

Relatives of garlic: Common or clove garlic (Allium sativum) shares many growing characteristics and food qualities with other alliums [15]. They are all in the lily (Liliaceae) family [10,30]. Being monocots [31], all members of this family have similar leaves with parallel venation [33] and resemble corn plants when newly emerged [5]. The compound bulb is unique to garlic, however [9,12]. Other domesticated Alliums include Shallots, Onion, Scallions, Leek and Chives [4,28]. Wild garlic (A. longicuspis) is recognized as a separate species from domestic garlic, although it is the wild ancestor of clove garlic [9,20]. A species of garlic (Allium vineale L.) grows as a perennial weed in Ontario [31].

Know your Garlic Varieties

The number of garlic varieties or strains in the world is considered to range from 30 to 600 [1,9,16,20,21,28]. They are named in common, rather than scientific, terms [3]. Modern garlic is best described as having two sub-species: softneck (sativum) and its ancestor, hardneck (ophioscorodon) garlic, also called top setting, or Ophio garlic [9]. All garlic strains fit into five varietal groups (as follows), including two softneck and three hardneck. [2,9,17,21,22]. Some softnecks, however, seem to include throw-backs that produce scapes under stress [20,21].


  1. Porcelain (Continental): includes Romanian Red, Georgia Fire, Prussian White Zemo and German White, along with Music and F3 (described below); stores 8-9 months; produces satiny white bulbs with 4-5 huge rounded cloves; yield 4:1

  2. Purple Stripe: includes Red Rezan, Siberian and Czech Broadleaf; stores 5-6 months; displays bright purple streaks/blotches on wrappers; yield 8:1

  3. Rocambole: includes Spanish Roja, French, Czech Red and Carpathian; stores 4-6 months; is the largest group among the hardneck; bulbs are blotchy purple with brown clove wrappers; yield 7:1

Softneck (no yield ratios reported)

  1. Artichoke (Italian Reds): (Asiatic is hardneck version); stores 9-10 months; bulbs reddish white and large with multiple layers of plump cloves and thick skins

  2. Silverskin: (Creole is hardneck version in cold climates); bulbs silvery paper white with several layers of cloves [22].

Only hardneck varieties consistently produce bulbuls, while softneck (non-bolting) garlic bulbs have outer rings of larger cloves that enclose clusters of smaller, sliver-like cloves [2,5]. Hardneck garlic usually has just one layer of cloves since the plant resources from the inner cloves are transported to the top in hardneck garlic [5,16]. The outer skin of top setting garlic is streaked with purple, and inner sheathing may be from purple to mauvish tan [5]. Hardneck garlic requires a cold winter for high vigour and quality [9].

Rocambole, also called Serpent garlic, or German Red, was considered by some botany experts to be a separate species (Allium scorodoprasum) [1,5,9], although now all garlic varieties have been put in one species [12]. Rocambole performs best in cold climates but requires fertile soil [9]. Some Rocambole, including Roja (and some other hardneck types), typically have brown to reddish cloves in blotchy purple wrappers and a coiled scape [20]. Porcelain is a very tall plant with large, tight, paper-white, shiny cloves, and includes Ontario’s Music strain [20,21]. Porcelain yields higher than Rocambole [21]. Purple stripe is also known as Asiatic [9], but in this discussion the name ‘Asiatic’ refers to a sub-variety of the softneck Artichoke that has reverted to hardneck features [22].

The name ‘Artichoke’ has been used to describe all softnecks and ‘Rocambole’ to describe all hardnecks in other sources [3,5,29]. Silverskin can have few or many cloves, and can vary in colour from all white, tan or purple tinged, and rarely if ever produces scapes [20]. Artichoke produces 12 to 14 cloves, and is the most common softneck in North America [9,21]. Silverskin, also called Mild French, or Italian (the latter term has become misleading) and is a good keeper, but doesn’t like cold [9,21]. Softneck garlic evolved from hardneck garlic before recorded history [9].

While top setting garlic contributes only a small part of commercially-grown garlic [5], these garlics are generally better suited to Ontario’s colder climate [21]. They are easier to peel and have a subtle difference in taste (semi-wild) that sets them apart as ‘garlic’ rather than just hot [5,9]. A number of strains have proven themselves in Ontario:

How to Grow Garlic

Planting and cultivating garlic is very close to growing other alliums [6,12,15]. While this paper is not exclusively organic, top-quality garlic production lends itself to organic practices [1,27], at least on a small-scale. The fundamentals of organic garlic production growing include composting with organic waste, mulching, managing soil to keep it healthy, controlling weeds and insects with natural ways like rotation, hand-weeding and tillage, instead of with pesticides [27]. Garlic should return eight to 12 times the cloves planted [1]. There are four common reasons why Ontario growers may only harvest small bulbs [23].

  1. using the wrong seed cloves,

  2. planting in spring instead of fall,

  3. planting into poorly prepared soil,

  4. lack of water.

Seed bed preparation: The site for your garlic plot needs full sun and a water supply for irrigating [22] with well-drained, rich, sandy or sandy loam soils [10,17,21,22,34]. But almost any soil can be used if amended with lots of manure, or if it has high organic matter with micro-organisms [10,17,22]. Highly organic soil retains moisture and nutrients and is friable, which gives growing bulbs room to expand [2,10,20].

Soil preparation should start one year ahead [9,27]. Soil pH should be kept at 6.0 to 7.5 [20,22]. The soil should be well tilled (plowed or roto-tilled) [21], then tramped down again after planting [5]. Sub-soil tilling can be done with a single chisel plow to 18 inches run between the rows to loosen and aerate the soil [5]. For finer textures, raised beds promote better drainage and earlier thawing [1,22]. The soil can be built up by working in compost, animal manure, green manure and legumes [1,9,22,27]. Animal manure should be pre-composted [9]. Buckwheat is a useful green manure in rotation with garlic because it reaches a full cover in six weeks and can be grown between mid-summer harvesting and fall [5,9,21]. Green manures also function as fertility indicators, since their poor performance would be less costly than a poor garlic crop [9].

Soil Fertility: Garlic is a heavy user of nitrogen, requiring 70 to 125 kg/ha [2,4,6]. Nitrogen should be applied once at fall planting and at three week intervals after growth starts again in spring, with the last application four to six weeks before harvest [2,5], or at 2, 4 and 6 leaf stages [21]. The most important application is in early spring [9]. Chemical fertilizer can be applied by foliar spray a day or two after a rain or irrigation [9,27]. Maintaining good soil humus will ensure that nitrogen is not leached out [9]. Since it is a root crop, garlic demands potassium but needs less phosphorous than other vegetables [4]. Wood ashes for potassium, bone meal for phosphorous and blood meal for nitrogen all make good organic fertilizers [9,17,22]. Well rotted compost can make up needed nitrogen [4,33]. Manure should be applied between rows, not side-dressed since cloves will rot if manure is too close [6,9,17].

When to plant: Most garlic is winter-hardy [10] and is best grown in Ontario as a winter annual [2]. Yields for spring-planted garlic are only two thirds of fall-planted garlic and have only half the leaf area, which is highly correlated with bulb diameter [31]. Spring-planting must be done five weeks before the last frost, to get the mid-summer solar energy [6,11,12]. Hardneck varieties need cold before the bulbs can form and would require refrigeration if spring-planted [2]. The best time to plant is two to three weeks before freeze-up [6,17] to ensure the month of temperatures just above freezing (0-10oC) and the three or four months of dormancy that it needs before summer growth [1,9]. Earlier fall planting can sometimes raise yields [20], but planting too late in fall does not give roots enough time to start growing [9].

Over-wintering your crop: Although fall-planted cloves may send up two to four leaves, they only need to sprout and start some roots before winter [2,21]. Fall-planted garlic can withstand late snow or frost in spring [4,5]. Bulb and clove sizes depend on earlier vegetative growth and a period of cold, below 18oC, to break their dormancy [4,20,21]. The scape and bulb segregation (budding) develop only after a cold treatment of 5oC for eight weeks [20,31].

A good snow cover is usually essential to prevent frost penetration and winter-kill [2,17]. The main weather hazard in Ontario is winter freeze-thaw, usually during the January thaw [21,22]. Winter-kill only happens if both the clove and roots freeze [9]. Some post-emergence snow won’t hurt garlic [17]. In Ontario fall-planted cloves should be well covered with mulch, such as four to six inches of clean straw (thicker mulching further north), to protect it from freezing and fluctuating low temperatures [4,6,17,19,21]. Mulching sooner can cause mold [19] or before the first frost will allow mice to take shelter under it [21]. Old mulch can be worked into the soil [27].

Planting: Cloves should be planted one to two inches deep (from soil surface to tip), three to six inches apart and in rows from eight to 16 inches apart [1,2,10,33]. Planting can be a little deeper further north (near Ottawa) because of greater frost-penetration [21,33]. A recommended guideline is to plant Porcelain strains at six inch spacing and other types at four inches [22]. Another rough guide is that a half pound of seed cloves should plant a 100 foot row [10]. Seeding can be a bit heavier in case of injury [5] or if the soil is very fertile [9]. Wider row spacing allows easier weeding and more sun penetration, whereas rows two feet or more, may be needed for machine harvesting [19]. A Canadian company, BDK Fabrication (240 Argyle St., Delhi, ON, N4B 2W8), supplies a mechanized planter for garlic and shallots [20].

Planting more densely, both within rows and between rows, can increase yields, although cost of planting also increases [34]. But planting closer within rows reduces bulb sizes slightly [34] so yield ratios may go down. Even though garlic will still emerge if not planted upright [5], the cloves should be planted base down for better yields [6,16,17,22]. Since cloves should also be pushed to the bottom of the hole and the soil pressed in to avoid air pockets, hand-planting is more effective [9,16,19,22]. A properly-spaced pattern of holes can be quickly created by making a board with rows of dowels protruding downward, to be pressed into the seed bed by standing on it [19]. For your own seed, bulbs must be cracked, or popped, by hand just before planting and never tossed or dropped so that cloves are not damaged or bruised [2,5,9,21,22]. Planting cloves should have as much skin left on as possible [17]. Damaged or un-healthy cloves must never be planted because they may carry diseases, including white rot, basal rot and nematodes [16,20,22].

Popping cloves, the critical step before planting, was described in “Growing Great Garlic” [9]. For hardneck bulbs, start by running a thumbnail around the woody stem just above the cloves. Then twist the stem to loosen the cloves and break the outer wrappers. Applying thumb pressure downward and outward from the stem will sluff off cloves. A successfully popped clove will have a dark, crusty, dry base (portion of the true stem) and be fully wrapped. Without these, the plant won’t start with a full root system and will be prone to infection. Suspicious looking bulbs should be disposed of without being popped when handling seed cloves. Softneck bulbs are harder to pop because there is no stem to twist, there are more layers of cloves and more total cloves. But the principle is the same.

Selecting planting stock: Seed quality is next to good cultural practices in importance [26]. Varieties are region and soil-specific, so varieties not adapted to the climate won’t grow successfully in Ontario [4,23]. Varieties adapted to mild climates and then grown in cold climates often do not perform well and usually develop a very "hot" flavor [29]. Ordering seed from far-away seed companies usually fails because they often send varieties adapted to lower latitudes that do not exploit longer photoperiods or tolerate cold [4,20,21]. Since there is no standardization, some garlic seed producers will rename particular varieties, leading to more confusion [29]. A grocery store is not a good place to find garlic for planting [4,12,23] because these bulbs are stored for food use, as well as imported from other climates [21].

Canadian growers should save part of their own bulbs for seed to ensure they will survive the northern winter [1,26]. New growers should search for strains that have been proven in Ontario, and their region [25] and remember that some suppliers (perhaps through wishful thinking) may promote strains whose only unique feature is their name [3]. To get to know garlic, try a few strains from the other varietal groups before choosing one [4,23]. No seed stock, however, can replace sound farm practices and good weather [3,22].

In selecting seed, bulb size is more significant than clove size [9,22]. While some growers select the largest, as well as the best looking bulbs for re-planting [4], experienced growers in Ontario advise that the largest bulbs often make poor seed [16,22]. Don’t be surprised if small bulbs occasionally produce large cloves [22]. Similarly, planting the largest cloves does not necessarily produce the highest yield [9,16]. Medium cloves generate the best economic returns, whereas the smallest cloves may not segment properly [16,20]. For softneck varieties, plant only the outer cloves [4]. For saving your own seed, set aside smallest bulbs, use the largest for eating or selling, and select healthy mid-range size bulbs for seeding. [22].

With more experience you can grow bulbils to get rejuvenated seed cloves. This means allowing some scapes to grow, planting the bulbils, and harvesting and replanting the rounds [26]. Planting bulbils leads to rejuvenation and produces a healthier next generation [21]. Since the rounds must be harvested and re-planted, growing from bulbils can take up to five years [21]. Like seed cloves, bulbils should be planted an inch deep and away from neighbouring bulbils [1]. If planting bulbils, select the largest [5].

Getting better yields: Garlic takes from 100 to 120 growing days from planting to maturity [4]. The most ideal weather for fall-planted garlic includes a moderately cold winter with good snow cover, good spring and fall rain, and hot sunny summer days with cool nights [9]. Optimum root growth, leaf growth after sprouting and scape emergence happens at temperatures from 15 to 25oC, but root growth will continue below 3oC [30,31]. Mulch moderates soil conditions all year [9]. In spring, winter mulch can be partly and gently pulled back to allow the soil to warm up and any weeds poking through the mulch should be pulled then as well [24]. Summer mulch keeps the crop cool, the soil moist and slows weed growth [10,21,19]. Leaves can be used as a mulch in the paths [1]. Sawdust and animal manure are poor mulches [9]. Sawdust steals nitrogen, retains water that can keep near-surface plant tissue too wet and takes two years to properly decay when tilled under. Animal manure also retains water and can cause molds.

Garlic doesn’t like competition [17], so routine weed control (by hand, cultivation or spraying) is needed [2,6,12]. Organic methods of weed control are well suited to garlic growers [24]. Mechanized cultivation can replace hand-weeding in larger plots and leaves only the weeds near the rows [27]. Cultivation is best done after emergence and before roots spread too far [5]. Weeds should also be dug up in mid-September [1]. Pre-planting tillage can expose annual weeds, which can then be tilled in after they emerge and before they go to seed [9,27]. This is an essential weed control strategy in virgin soil [9].

Scapes allowed to mature can reduce bulb yields [31]. Early scape removal improves yields and bulb development, but removing them after they uncurl reduces bulb growth [2,10,20,34]. Cutting back the scapes diverts energy to the roots and cloves. Whereas in South eastern Ontario, scapes should be broken in early June [17], they may not appear before late June in the Ottawa Valley [21]. Removing scapes mechanically (cutter bar) can be costly because loosing more than one leaf will usually lower bulb size [34].

Irrigation: Garlic is drought-sensitive and irrigation is often required [2,5,10]. Moisture stress triggers early bulb development, causing smaller cloves and bulbs, as well as bulb shattering at harvest [20]. Although soil type does not affect the total water used (rain or irrigation), coarse (sandy) or shallow soils need watering more frequently [5,20]. In heavy clay soils that can store more water, irrigation has little benefit, however [34]. One or two inches of added water per week, or trickle irrigation with a soaker hose, is usually cost-effective [2,16,21]. Because sunflowers wilt ahead of other plants under water stress, they can be planted as indicators of when to water garlic [24]. Otherwise, soil that can be pressed into a ball that doesn’t crumble has enough moisture, but it has too much if water can be squeezed out of the ball [9]. Irrigation should stop about three weeks to a month before harvesting [2,17,19], or when leaves go yellow and the tops become dry and begin to fall over [19,20].

Pests and diseases: If plant clusters in early spring have whole leaves turning yellow, and winter kill, water-related stress or fertilizer burn can be ruled out, they are likely diseased and should be pulled [9]. An OMAFRA factsheet has described pests and diseases affecting Ontario garlic [2]. The main problems include Fusarium basal rot, Penicillium mould and viruses. Fusarium is a soil-borne fungus that thrives in wet, warm soil and destroys garlic roots. The first symptoms are yellowing of the tip and shoot die-back in spring. Penicillium is a problem during storage where blue-green mould appears at the base of the bulb, particularly with damaged cloves.

Viruses infect almost all garlic, although most do no damage unless the crop lacks soil moisture or fertility, or growth is slow [2,26,27]. Virus symptoms include mosaic, flecking, streaking and mottling, or distortion of leaves. If even one clove has a brown spot the virus infection has probably spread to all cloves of the bulb [16]. Aphids can transmit viruses. Insect pests include onion maggot, thrips and wire-warms [2]. Nematodes also attack garlic and can cause shattering [17,20].

Un-healthy or infected cloves must never be planted since that spreads infections throughout the plot [2,9]. Planting too early in fall will create conditions needed by clove rot [2]. Harvesting the driest parts of the fields first will lower moulds [5]. In general, diseases that affect other alliums will also affect garlic, so never plant garlic after onions [2,4,16]. Garlic should always be grown in a three-year rotation with a legume and top-growth plant like buckwheat to deal with persistent soil spores [2,17,22,23]. To allow for the three-year rotation, the growing area available should be three times the area of the desired garlic plot [27]. A border planting of Marigolds will deter many pests [17]. Compared to other crops, however, garlic has few pests [4] and has been used as a barrier to protect other crops [12,28,33].

Leek moth: This rapidly expanding arrival from Europe attacks all alliums, but prefers leeks and onions, and may not pose a major economic threat to garlic growers [16,21,24]. Up-to-date descriptions of this pest have appeared in The Garlic Newsletter [24]. The larva tunnel into leaf tissue, stems and, occasionally, into bulbs. They can attack the scapes. The adults over-winter in buildings, hedges and plant debris, and emerge when temperatures exceed 9.5oC. Eggs are laid singly on lower leaf surfaces when night temperatures stay above 12oC. They are a quarter inch (5-7 mm) long with a half inch (12-15 mm) wingspan. They appear reddish brown with a white triangle and white mottling on their folded wings.

Eggs are white but difficult to see (0.4 mm). The larva are yellowish green with gray-brown dots on all segments, with a pale brown head, and can reach ½ inch (12 mm). The pupa is reddish brown and in a white net-like cocoon. Unfortunately, the adult can be confused with harmless, native carrion moths. Growers should learn to identify them and inspect their crop after April temperatures exceed the above threshold, as the scapes emerge (since the larva boring into them are easily seen) and at harvest for damage, as well as cocoons and larva. Spraying is ineffective since larva hatch continually, every day, and bore into the plant right away. Earwigs appear to be an effective bio-control and don’t affect garlic.

Harvesting: Harvesting is the most labour-intensive operation, and deciding when to harvest is a critical decision [5], especially for hardnecks [9]. Bulbs harvested too early will be undersized, shrivel during curing and won’t store well [2,5,25]. Bulbs harvested too late will be prone to moulds and lose protective wrappers [2,17,25]. Hot dry summer weather ripens the crop earlier while rainy weather delays harvest [5]. Top setting garlic is more sensitive to harvest schedule with a window of a week or less to harvest successfully [5,25]. Harvesting is usually about mid-July [11,17,21] and should be done on a dry day [25]. If bulbs are typically ‘blossoming’ (opening up to expose cloves), or the leaves are all brown, harvesting is probably a bit too late [9].

Garlic is ready to harvest when the plant is half to three quarters yellow [1,12,16], leaf tips begin to dry, discolour and bend [2,10,20,32] and top growth begins to die down [4,33]. The bottom third of the lower leaves may also be brown [17,25,29]. For selling fresh garlic, harvesting can be a bit earlier (leaves with some green) to help improve quality [20]. A mature bulb is swelled with thinner sheath leaves and a few decomposed wrappers [2,25]. A few bulbs can be pulled and cut in half as a field test to check if the cloves fill the skins [29]. Breaking any tops not bent and yellow by mid-summer can force all plants to mature together [10,12]. When harvesting by hand, use a fork to loosen soil to eight to ten inches (20-25cm) before pulling [2,5,17]. Garlic bruises easily and is poorly suited to mechanical harvesting [23]. But if the scale of production requires mechanized harvesting, softneck garlic is better, whereas top setting is better for small, hand, or organic operations [16,25].

Curing and storing: Between harvesting and either selling or consuming at home, your crop will undergo a lot of handling. Because garlic is fragile and bruises cause early decay [25], these chores must be well understood. Before storing, garlic needs one to two weeks of curing in a well-ventilated shed, protected from direct sunlight [1,25,32]. Curing is more critical the earlier or greener the plant was pulled [9]. Harvested plants can be cured in covered, slotted racks or vegetable bins, or hung in bunches, for air drying [2,11]. Some preliminary curing, or drying, can be done outdoors, if the bulbs are stacked so that they are covered with tops of other plants for protection from the sun [10,32,33]. Even in Ontario, sunburn, indicated by translucent yellow cloves [9], must be avoided. Field-drying bulbs from wet ground may need trays put under them [16].

The weather right after harvest must be dry because leaves will turn black if the garlic plants are left too long in the harvest rack [5], but drying bulbs too rapidly may cause shattering [20]. Most of the dirt clinging to bulbs right after pulling will flake off after some further drying [5]. Washing bulbs is only needed when grown in clay [21,25]. An on-site work table with a water supply and shade are helpful if bulbs need cleaning [25]. Peeling down the highest leaf should take off enough skin to give the bulbs a shine, and still leave the required four layers of un-broken wrappers [2,5,21,25]. Any damaged or decayed leaves must be pulled off [25]. Tops should be trimmed to one-half to one inch and roots to between one-quarter and one-inch [10,23,25,32].

Bulbs can then be stored in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place [1,9,10,23,32]. Storage racks can be made with chicken wire for better circulation [5]. Dampness will cause rot in stored bulbs [12]. Although braids store best, trimmed ready-to-use bulbs can store well if kept in a single layer, but not as well in bags [23]. Garlic intended for eating should be stored at 0oC to 2oC (32-35oF) with 60-70% RH [2,4,20,,27,31]. Keeping relative humidity lower for garlic than for other vegetables will avoid molds and retard root growth [20]. Kept cool and well ventilated, garlic will keep from six months to a year [12,20], although storage times vary among different strains and varieties [23]. Harvested garlic should be stored away from other vegetables because the garlic odour is easily transferred [27].

Seed cloves are best stored at just above 50oF (10oC) and 65-70% RH [20] and should not be refrigerated [20,23]. Since garlic sprouts (breaks dormancy) easily between 5oC and 10oC (40oF and 50oF), storage in this temperature range should be avoided [20,27,31]. Seed cloves stored below 5oC (40oF) produce rough bulbs while storage above 65oF delays sprouting and maturity [20]. For either use, storing near heat dries out the bulbs, in sunlight promotes sprouting, and in dampness starts mould [23].

Getting your Garlic to Market

Far more garlic is consumed in Ontario than is grown [31]. Garlic prices during the winter of 2002/2003 ranged from $4.00 to $6.00 per lb [23]. It is used in most ethnic, Asian, Chinese, Mediterranean and Eastern European, cooking [11]. Due to Canada’s growing ethnic populations, this garlic consumption is increasing [21]. Rediscovery of garlic’s health benefits has also put it back on the table for all North Americans. Public interest in any organically grown food is also increasing. To sell organic garlic, you must obtain certification from an organic certification organization [27]. Producer groups that can certify quality and establish grades can enhance sales of all members, organic or conventional [9]. Therefore anyone intending to sell garlic is advised to join the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario (GGAO).

Since so much selling by small-scale growers is at a farmers markets or face-to-face, here are a few tips [8,23]. Greet customers cheerfully, display prices clearly, present clean, healthy garlic (and other products). Situate yourself and your produce at the rear of your booth so that customers can come into the shade, or out of the rain. Don’t smoke or get caught eating when customers come. Know your varieties, know your product and don’t under-price. Knowing the product means believing that it will benefit the customer and appreciating the health benefits well enough to introduce them effortlessly to discussions with customers [8]. To enhance this face-to-face selling skill, garlic’s health benefits are reviewed in Appendix A. Small-scale growers with hopes of selling for profit should also prepare a business plan [7]. For garlic growers, the business plan must balance the garlic crop with other vegetables, as well as outlining the customer base and ways to add value [23]. Value added options are reviewed in Appendix B.

Because there is sharp drop in quality after six months [5], fresh garlic is only marketable from mid-July to the end of December [4]. However, scapes, garlic scallions and greens can be sold from early May, supplementing grower incomes by as much as one quarter [21,25,31]. Scapes must be picked while they are still curling (before they get woody) and kept in plastic bags in the fridge [17]. In early June they can still be easily snapped off at the white spot when they are six to eight inches high [16,25]. Damaging leaves while harvesting scapes can lead to decreased bulb yield, however [17,34]. Scaping by hand should take several passes [25].

While most of Ontario is not warm enough for spring-planted garlic to produce mature bulbs, spring-planted cloves can be harvested in late spring and early summer as garlic scallions or a green onion substitute [17,24]. For this use of smaller cloves or thinned plants, smaller cloves can be spaced a little closer than normal [17,21]. To sell very young whole plants, any dirt or dead leaves must be removed [25]. Bulbils can also be planted for a harvest of shoots like baby onions, and remain succulent longer than clove greens, but they should be well watered [9,17].


Although it is sexually infertile, garlic embodies the sort of crop to which SoDC has directed its efforts. It is ideally suited to small-scale and low-input production, and growers can be self-sufficient in seed stock. Since Canada is not a centre or origin or diversity for garlic, any variety or strain that can be grown is potentially ‘heritage’, and deserving of conservation efforts.

The first priority of a new grower is to find, select and plant the right seed stock. Ontario garlic growers should plant in the fall, so garlic strains that are not winter-tolerant are not good choices. The second priority is establishing and preparing the site for the garlic plot. Enough space is needed to allow a three-year rotation. Because garlic is not a typical garden plant, even experienced growers need to adapt to the set of practices described above if they are new to garlic cultivation. Finally new growers can help conserve the diversity of garlic types available to Canadian growers by contributing to the body of information to be stored in the database proposed in Appendix C. New garlic growers should join the GGAO if they intend to sell their product, and they may want to subscribe to the Garlic Newsletter, as well.


[1] Bennett, Jennifer. 1984. Clove Encounters. (based on an interview with Ted Maczka) Harrowsmith, August-September: 43-48.

[2] Bodnar, J., B. Schumacher and J. Uyenaka. 1997. Garlic Production. Factsheet, Agdex # 258/13. OMAFRA. Queens Printer for Ontario.

[3] Chevanelle, Michel. 2000. Garlic strains: a proposal for a much-needed classification system for our beloved stinking rose. Seeds of Diversity. January, 13(1): 15-19.

[4] Coleman, Eliot. 1982. The New Organic Grower. Chelsea Green Publishing Co. & Firefly books Ltd. Scarborough, ON, Canada. ISBN 0-920656-22-6.

[5] Crawford, Stanley. 1992. A Garlic Testament - Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm. Harper Perennial Series - Harper Collins Publishers ISBN 0-06-018207-5. 241pp.

[6] Cullen, Mark, 2002. Mark Cullen's Ontario Gardening. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-029700-6.

[7] Dyer, Jim, 1998. Niche Market Development and Business Planning - A Handbook for Growers of Rare Breeds and Heritage Crops. Seeds of Diversity Canada (SoDC) and Rare Breeds Canada (RBC). 20pp.

[8] Dyer, Jim, 2000, Selling Heritage Crops - A Handbook on Niche Marketing and Selling Techniques for Small-Scale Growers of Heritage Crops. Seeds of Diversity Canada (SoDC). 35pp.

[9] Engeland, Ron, L. 1991. Growing Great Garlic – The Definitive guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers. Filaree Productions, Okanogan, WA, USA. ISBN 0-9630850-1-8. 213pp.

[10] Franz, Dorothy and Jerome Olds. n.d. How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method. Rodale Press, Emmaus, Penna., USA. Pg 458-459.

[11] Fulder, Stephen. 1998. All about Garlic – Frequently Asked Questions. Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 0-89529-886-4. 96pp.

[12] Halpin, Anne M. (editor). 1978. Unusual Vegetables - Something New for this Year's Garden. Rodale Press, Ammaus, PA. ISBN 0-87857-214-7.

[13] Heinerman, John. 1996. The Healing Power of Garlic. ISBN 0-7615-0098-7. Globe Communications Corps. 97pp.

[14] Lau, Benjamin. 1991. Garlic Research Update. Odyssey Publishing Inc. ISBN 0-941524-32-9. 28pp.

[15] Lust, John. 1974. The Herb Book. Bantam Books. Toronto. ISBN 0-553-26770-1. 659pp.

[16] Maczka, Ted (personal communication). 2003. Based on meeting between Ted Maczka (the "Fish Lake Garlic Man") and Jim Dyer (author), May 24, 2003.

[17] Maczka, Ted (Fishlake Garlic Man). 2003. Growing Great Garlic. Presented at the ‘Garlic is Great Festival’, August 16-17, 2003. Country Heritage Park, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

[18] Mindel, Earl L. 1996. Garlic the Miracle Nutrient. ISBN 0-87983-740-3. Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan, Connecticut.

[19] Neudorf, Cliff (Glengyle Farm). 2003. “The Love of Garlic”. Film Presented at the ‘Garlic is Great Festival’, August 16-17, 2003. Country Heritage Park, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

[20] OSU. 2002. Garlic - Allium sativum. Commercial Vegetable Production Guides. Oregon State University (OSU).

[21] Pospisil, Paul (Master Gardener). 2003. Growing Great Garlic. Presented at the ‘Garlic is Great Festival’, August 16-17, 2003. Country Heritage Park, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

[22] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2002. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 1 (premier Edition; September).

[23] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2002. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 1 (2, December).

[24] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2003. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 1 (3, March).

[25] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2003. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 1 (4, June).

[26] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2003. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 2 (1, September).

[27] Pospisil, Paul (Editor). 2003. The Garlic Newsletter. Publisher: George Ward, Westport ON. Printed by The Wordsmith. Vol. 2 (2, December).

[28] Quillin, Patrick. 1996. Honey Garlic & Vinegar – Home Remedies and Recipes. The Leader Co. Inc. ISBN 1-886898-03-0. 222pp.

[29] Rosen, Carl, Roger Becker, Vince Fritz, Bill Hutchison, Jim Percich, Cindy Tong and Jerry Wright, 2001. Growing Garlic in Minnesota. Communication and Educational Technology Services, University of Minnesota Extension Service.

[30] Schauenberg, Paul and Ferdinand Paris. n.d. Guide to Medicinal Plants. Keats Publishing Inc. New Canaan, Connecticut. 349pp.

[31] Schumacher, Bengt, Rudolf. 1989. Effect of Planting Date, Scape Removal, and Fall Root Development on the Growth and Yield of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) M.Sc. Thesis, University of Guelph. Supervisor, Prof. B. Grodzinski.

[32] Stoner, Carol. 1973. Stocking Up – How to Preserve the Foods You Grow, Naturally. Rodale Press Inc. Book Division, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 10849. LCCN 73-5160.

[33] Weiss, Gaea and Shandor Weiss. 1985. Growing & Using the Healing Herbs. Wings Books, New York, and Rodale Press. ISBN 0-517-06650-5. 615.321-dc20. 360pp.

[34] Zanstra, J. W. and R.C. Squire. Cultural Management of Garlic – 2001. Unpublished project report handout. Presented at Garlic Field Day, Sponsored by Garlic Growers Association of Ontario. Grantin, Ontario. 22 June 2002.

Appendix A: Health Benefits of Garlic

To list garlic’s health benefits is to appreciate why it accompanied mankind’s prehistoric migrations across Asia and Europe. Over 2000 scientific papers on garlic are now supporting the traditional knowledge about this herb [14]. Most of this research has been done in India, China and the Soviet Union [1]. The German Health Ministry has recognized garlic as a medicine to prevent age-related circulation diseases since the more garlic a nation consumes, the less heart disease it suffers [11]. In spite of spending more money on health care, North Americans rank lower than a dozen other nations in life-expectancy, because of diseases of affluence [14]. So it is not surprising that there is growing interest in garlic for its health benefits. The lack of patent protection for commercial garlic products [1] means a new opportunity for small-scale growers.

What garlic does: Garlic lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and regulates good (HDL) cholesterol [11,12,14]. It works immediately to dispose of fat in meals, slows down liver production of cholesterol and moves cholesterol into the blood stream to be metabolized as energy [11,18,28]. It thins blood more safely than aspirin by normalizing blood clotting, reduces blood pressure and reduces heart attacks [11,12,18,28,29]. Garlic builds the immune system by enhancing inflammatory cells, stimulating natural killer cells to attack tumor cells, virus-infected cells and other invaders, and promoting macrophages that engulf foreign bodies [14,18,28]. Garlic helps rid the body of toxins, heavy metals and radiation damage [14,28]. Garlic is more useful to prevent cancer than to treat it, but it stops cancer cells from proliferating [11]. Along with other alliums, garlic is associated with reduced stomach, bladder and liver cancer [14,18]. Garlic fights bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa and parasites, either directly or by stimulating the immune system [11,12,18]. Garlic has almost no side effects compared to antibiotics, which compromise the immune system and are bacteria-specific [11,12]. For serious infections however, such as when there is a fever, garlic is not a substitute for modern drugs [11].

Garlic is consumed in tinctures, oils, decoctions, wine, vinegar, garlic juice, by maceration, cooking, or fresh, as well as being incorporated into pharmaceutical products [12,29]. All forms have antioxidant and blood thinning effects, and can reduce high blood pressure, but raw garlic, chopped or crushed, is the strongest medicinal form [12,33]. Before modern medicine, garlic gave protection against amoeboid dysentery, typhoid and other infectious diseases [29]. When cooked in honey and vinegar, it expels tapeworms and other parasites [1]. For antibiotic use and blood sugar control, fresh chopped or macerated garlic oil, garlic juice fresh or aged, or garlic powder are effective [12]. A cotton ball soaked in garlic oil will treat ear infections [33]. Garlic tea is a laxative [15]. A water-based cold extract treats asthma [15]. Fresh garlic crushed in hot lemon will help fight infections [11]. Garlic wine can treat a cold or flu, [12]. Bulbils can be chewed for coughs [1,16].

Side-effects are mild digestive discomfort when eaten fresh, and some eczema when handling [11]. Too much fresh garlic can harm the digestive tract, burn mucous membranes of the mouth, throat and stomach, damage red blood cells, interfere with liver function and destroy friendly bacteria [18]. Cooking garlic removes its toxicity [18], whereas un-cooked garlic products kept for more than a month can carry botulism, unless cloves are soaked in vinegar [23]. Taking garlic with peppermint, mint tea, fennel, parsley or lettuce, cranberry juice or milk will fight garlic breath [11,17]. Regular consumption also results in less body odour [17]. The maze of commercial garlic products that avoid garlic smell do provide some of the long-term benefits described above [11].

Biochemistry and constituents: Although garlic has partnered humanity since the dawn of civilization, deciphering how it worked did not start until the mid-19th century [18]. In 1844 a German chemist identified an oil constituent in garlic oil he called allyl. Then in 1892 another German chemist used steam distillation to identify the garlic odour-causing compounds diallyl disulfide, trisulfide and polysulfides. Allicin, the signature constituent of garlic, was discovered in 1944 by soaking garlic in ethyl alcohol. Four years later, allianase, garlic’s chief enzyme, was discovered. But it is still difficult to isolate a single health-benefit compound from garlic [12]. Cutting, chopping or crushing garlic cloves activates the enzymes which release about 100 proteins and sulfur compounds, mostly from allicin [1,11,29]. Allianase converts alliin, which has no odour or antibacterial properties, to allicin, which is unstable and not directly active in the body [1,28,29]. More than half the alliin in raw garlic is lost during most manufacturing processes [18].

Garlic cloves are about 6% protein, including sulfur bearing amino acids known as S-allyl compounds [28]. Garlic oil contains diallyl sulfides, allicine and vitamins A B1, B2 and nicotylamide [29]. Other beneficial constituents of garlic include vitamin C thiamin and riboflavin, phosphorus and sulfur, and trace elements zinc, tin, calcium, potassium, aluminum, germanium and selenium [1,15]. Cholesterol synthesis by the liver is lowered by ajoene derivatives and a range of diallyl sulfides, and many of the latter compounds function as antioxidants [12]. Garlic contains about 17 special sugars which promote the growth of beneficial enteric (gut) bacteria, along with nucleosides that actually help build DNA and so promote longevity and cellular rejuvenation [28]. The garlic compounds, ajoene and diallyl sulfide, among others, protect against aflotoxins, a mold contaminant found in peanuts, rice, grains, beans, corn and sweet potatoes [14]. Selenium helps detoxify the body and combat aging, germanium is needed to oxygenate the blood [28], and both show promise in treating cancer [1,18]. S-allyl cysteine and mercaptocysteine break-down and rid the body of toxins in sweat and bile [11,18]. The allyl compounds and sulfides in garlic oil fight cancer, but they also cause well-known garlic breath and body odour as they pass through the lungs and skin from the blood stream [12,28,29].

Garlic oil extracts and aged garlic do not contain allicin and are weaker medicinally than raw garlic, but retain some cholesterol-lowering, detoxifying and tonic properties [12]. Distilling garlic oils leaves the non-volatile compounds behind [18]. Since heat destroys allicin, its persistence in the body depends on the means of preservation [12]. Crushing and mixing it with water, vinegar or wine preserves allicin. Soaking for three to six hours preserves some allicin along with many derivatives. Soaking for two or three days gets rid of allicin (and irritating effects). Garlic powder, made by low temperature drying of garlic slices and put it into gelatin capsules or honey pills, preserves allicin, provides antifungal protection and stops yeast (Candida albicans) [11,14].

Appendix B: Value added

Home made products: Small-scale growers can make and sell an array of products, including syrups, tinctures, tea, vinegar, spreads and oil-based mixes [28]. Extracting garlic oil by soaking chopped cloves in vegetable oil gets constituents not available in raw garlic [11,12]. For an oil spread, chop cloves with parsley, crush the mixture and add enough vegetable oil to cover it, and use it the next day [12]. Mixing garlic with olive oil in a blender will accomplish the same goal [17]. Garlic oil can be made by peeling and quartering six cloves into jar with two cups of extra virgin olive oil. After standing for three days, the cloves are removed and the oil can be kept in the fridge a month or two before going oil rancid [27]. Scapes have more oil than cloves [21] and can be sold as a puree with olive oil to be spread on a cracker, put into jellies and pickles [17,25].

A tincture is made by finely chopping a bulb into a pint of high alcohol liquor (vodka, brandy, brandy or gin), steeping for two or three weeks and turning two or three times a day [12,15]. For ‘fish lake fire water’, puree garlic and pour vodka over it [16]. To make garlic wine, blend four cloves with a cup of wine and let stand for three hours [12]. For garlic vinegar, peel, chop and crush a bulb into a quart of red wine or cider vinegar, let sit for two weeks, and strain through cloth [12]. Garlic salt that will last about a month can be made by peeling and halving six cloves with one cup of salt, combining in a class jar, and shaking two to three times a day for a week [27]. To make garlic powder, dry thin slices at 43oC (110oF) for three days, grind it and then keep it in small herb jar for sale.

Several garlic syrups are also easy to make. The first syrup can be made by covering crushed garlic with cider vinegar and water, leaving a few days and straining [1]. The second garlic syrup is an expectorant made with one pint of boiling water, two ounces finely chopped garlic, which is covered and left to stand for 10 hours before straining [33]. After adding four tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of vinegar to this liquid, refrigerate and take four teaspoons per day. One other garlic syrup is made by alternating layers of chopped or sliced garlic with dry sugar or raw unheated honey [12]. After steeping for two days the sugar pulls the fluid out of the garlic. Then strain the juice through cloth.

Cooking usually means sautιing in a small amount of oil to add to meat or other foods [12]. It is especially popular in Mediterranean cooking [15]. Garlic and parsley go well with fish or red meat, and crushed garlic and dill can be added to cheese curds [11]. Decoction, which releases several specific sulfur-based by-products, involves chopping and simmering in a covered pan at very low heat, then letting sit to cool to room temperature [12]. A Middle Eastern dip consists of olive oil, squeezed lemons, garlic and marjoram, and can be added to pastas, rice or fried dishes [11]. Chopping several cloves into a quart of boiling water makes a garlic tea [33]. Garlic can also be used as an insect repellant [15].

Garlic braids: Garlic braids can bring much higher prices than regular eating garlic [5]. [19] Here is a simple explanation of pigtail braiding [19]. Start with three garlic plants. Cross two plant stems under the middle bulb and stem, twist or fold each crossed stem back across, then add another plant as each fold is completed. Tear away excess leaves as further bulbs are added. After the first cross, the first stem should be twisted back like those being added. Up to three stems will be folded in from one side, before folding stems from the other side. Usually three groups of two stems will be handled at once. Stems must be long enough to not protrude part way up stem and facilitate about 12 bulbs per braid. Bulbs should be prepared by peeling off outer skins and cutting away roots without nicking the bulbs. A variety of other dried decorative plants, herbs, flowers or coloured wool can be worked in to decorate the display [5,19]. Earlier harvesting can make braiding easier [20]. Top setting garlic types can only be pigtail braided if freshly harvested and not too mature [19].

An easier approach for hardneck garlic is to lash them into a bundle, or string-braiding [19,25]. This simpler approach involves setting a starter knot on the first garlic stem near the bulb, add a pair of long-stemmed garlic along side and just a bit higher and secure them with a half-hitch, then a fourth in the grove that these two create, secured with another half-hitch to the main bundle, and so on. Some stems may need to be cracked as you tighten the bundle and the best results are with three quarter cured plants. For a more detailed explanation see the garlic newsletter (June, 2003).

Appendix C: Garlic Growers' Registry

The last task of this paper is to outline a garlic growers' registry. The aim of the registry (database questionnaire) is for growers to interact and exchange production or variety-related information. It will answer the question of what strains growers consider to be thriving in Canada, rather than what suppliers advertise. The results and experiences compiled through the registry will be shared with GGAO, where appropriate permission is obtained from each participating grower. The design of this registry is a direct result of the above research and review. Grower records should interface with the Database of Growing Conditions prepared for SoDC in 2000 since that database design incorporates grower personal data and links the grower location with agro-ecological data, including the National Ecological Framework for Canada. Therefore questions to create grower identification and location records are not duplicated here. The registry will be brief and will focus on grower purpose, growing practices, and seed selection.

Assessing your operation:

  1. Do you sell garlic? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  2. If yes, how or where do you sell? to a retailer (1), at the farmers market (2), door-to-door (3), to friends, other venue (4)

  3. If yes, how many years have you been selling garlic? _____.

  4. Do you harvest young garlic plants as: scapes (1), garlic scallions (2), greens (3)?

  5. If yes, do you sell these by-products? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  6. Do you prepare anything besides raw garlic bulbs (pickles, oil, salt, syrup, other)? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

Assessing your garlic plot:

  1. How many years have you been growing garlic? ______.

  2. How big is your garlic plot? ____ square meters, ____square feet, or ____square yards, acres ____, ha ____.

  3. What is the soil texture? sandy (1), loamy sand (2), clay loam (3), clay (4).

  4. Do you use mechanized tillage, cultivation or harvesting?

  5. Do you irrigate your garlic? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  6. Do you use commercial fertilizer? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  7. Do you use organic fertilizers? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  8. Mulching: fall-winter (1), spring-summer (2), both (3), never (4). ____.

  9. Do you grow garlic in rotation with other crops? no other crops (1), green manure between summer-harvesting and fall-planting (2), two-year (3), three-year (4), four-year (5). _____.

  10. What crops are used in rotation? green manure ____________; crop #1 ____________; crop #2 ____________; crop #3 ____________;

  11. Do you grow other alliums in the same plot (onions, leeks, shallots, chives)? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  12. If yes, identify the allium. _______________________.

  13. Disease or pest damage? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  14. If yes, is it one or more of: Fusarium basal rot (1), Penicillium mould (2), viruses (3), other diseases (4), Nematodes (5), Leek moth (6), other insects (7). ________.

  15. If not, can you identify? _________________________________________.

  16. Describe the damage (bulb, roots, leaves etc.). _____________________ __________________________________________________________.

  17. How many varieties of garlic do you grow? _________.

Answer the following questions for each variety that you grow. Duplicate or copy this section as needed to describe your garlic operation.

  1. Where did you get the seed cloves? seed supplier (1), gardening store (2), food store (3), garlic festival (4), friend or neighbour (5), the garlic newsletter you’re your own strain (7), other source (8). ____.

  2. If you know it, give the country of origin for this strain. _________________.

  3. Is this garlic top-setting (1) or softneck (2)? _____.

  4. Which varietal group is this garlic strain in? Porcelain (1), Purple Stripe (2), Rocambole (3), Artichoke (4), Artichoke (5), Asiatic (6), Creole (7). ____.

  5. Give the strain (sub-variety) name (choose one of the following or write in the name if different). Music (1), Fishlake/F3 (2), Majestic (3), French Rocambole (4), Czech Broadleaf (5), Spanish Antolini (6), Genki (7), Russian Red (8), Asian Tempest (9), other (10). __________________________________________.

  6. How many years have you grown this strain? _____.

  7. Have you ever grown this strain from bulbils? yes (Y) or no (N) ____.

  8. How tall are the garlic plants (not including the scape)? ____________________ feet & inches (1) or cm (2). ____.

  9. What is the typical yield ratio? 2, 3, 4…, 12 to 1. _____.

  10. What is the typical/average bulb diameter at the widest point? ______ inches or cm ____.

  11. How many cloves per bulb, on average? ______.

  12. Do you braid this garlic? pigtail braid (1), string braid (2), no braiding (3).

  13. Colour - for each of the following, choose one of: white (1), tan(2), brown (3), dark brown (4), purple or mauve (5), striped brown (6), striped purple or mauve (7), blotchy purple (8), reddish purple (9).

  1. Bulb skin (wrapper). ____.

  2. Clove skin (wrapper). _____.

  3. Clove flesh. _____.