Garlic Crop April 2018

By April 19, 2018 July 30th, 2019 No Comments

Monaro Purple cultivar
In 2018 we joined the Braidwood Garlic Growing Co-Operative and began our adventures in garlic.
We have planted about 1500 square metres (0.15 hectare or 0.36 acre) with twenty two cultivars. While this sounds ambitious we do have some experience having grown it successfully for home use when we were near Crookwell. Also other Co-Op members have been extremely generous sharing their knowledge and tips.
We ploughed a hectare of pasture and divided into four quarters allowing us to rotate crops, trial some possible crops and methods and grow green manure crops to improve the soil. The internal block divisions are ‘living hedges’ of flowering shrubs that will produce cut branches and flowers when old enough.
The first garlic paddock has been cultivated with a Grillo walk behind tractor three times – North –South, East – West and then North – South again with a furrower attachment to raise the planting beds.
The soil was tested and then organic fertilisers from YLAD Living Soils and organic compost from Landtasia were applied to improve the soil structure and fertility. We added some extra Sulphur, critical for the garlic chemical allicin that gives the bulb its flavor.
Our garlic is hand planted (about 50,000 individual cloves) with the early cultivars going in at Easter and the late cultivars in late May. We hand weed our garlic rows and apply seaweed tea, worm juice, humates and compost from green waste, our cow manure and biodynamic soil preparations.
One week after planting
Garlic is labour intensive and we have chosen to employ less machinery to reduce our footprint. It is hard work and not “The Good Life” alternative it seems.
We farm sustainably with the intention of living lightly on the land and leaving the farm in better shape for future generations. Our aim is to improve biodiversity and soil health. We do not use any chemical herbicides or pesticides though we are not certified organic producers.
So far so good – after two weeks we had good sprouting despite the unseasonably warm weather. We’ll be planting through mid May  and hope for some colder temperatures and some rain.
 Two weeks after planting

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