Owners: Warren and Tina Leitzel
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 814-349-8029
Welcome to our small farm in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. All 13 acres are part of an attempt to piece together a sustainable, interdependent puzzle that we can call home. Our robust garlic is grown in fertile alluvial soil using (non-certified) organic methods, including cover cropping and adding extra fertility via compost. Farm work is geared mostly towards family food production and a few extra cash crops. In terms of dollars per acre, garlic comes in first, then blueberries (being established), and finally, vegetables and other fruits. Garlic is also important to us as a tasty medicine, and, a barter or gift item. In a garden setting, it really is one of the easiest crops to bring to harvest and put by.
So you want to grow, harvest, cure and use your very own gourmet garlic? These three excellent books are a must for the serious growers.
“Growing Great Garlic” - by Ron L. Engeland
“Garlic Garlic Garlic” - by Linda & Fred Griffith
“Garlic – Nature’s Original Remedy” – by Stephen Fulder & John Blackwood
I will give a quick description of the method I have developed over the past 10 years of garlic culture here at Ecosophy Farm. Planting season runs between September 15th and the end of October in central PA. First, pop the bulbs apart and separate out the biggest and the best cloves for planting … eat the others. Prepare a loose and fertile bed 30” to 34” wide. Make an apparatus (flat or rolling) that divots the soils surface to show where to plant each clove. Each divot hole is spaced 6” apart (5 holes per row), and there is 8” between each row. Plant one clove per hole with the pointy end up, root end down, three to four inches deep. Use a leaf rake to carefully cover the cloves with soil. Next, apply a 6” to 8” layer of mulch over the entire garlic bed. The best mulching materials are: Grass clippings, straw (chopped or whole), or chopped leaves. We use whole straw at planting time, and then add nitrogen rich compost in the spring as a top dressing. Once or twice through weeding should be all you need before harvest. Late in the growing season the plants will sprout a flower stalk. If you want to harvest these tops for food, snap them off before they get woody (while they are still curled). It is okay to cut the tops off just after they straighten out, but then they are woody and harder to remove. Harvest comes in July when there remain 5 ½ green leaves on the plant. The other lower leaves have already turned brown. Cure the whole plants 3 to 4 weeks in a cool dry airy place with the bulbs exposed to as much airflow as possible. When fully cured, snip off the tops (1”above bulb) and snip off the roots (within ¼” of the bulb). Use your fingernails or a toothbrush to remove only the dirty outer most bulb wrappers. Store your harvest in a dark airy spot that stays between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and, 40% to50% humidity. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
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