Club members Dorothy and Viren Oogarah shared their garlic growing adventures to a large audience at the September meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Although Dorothy and Viren have an extensive flower garden, five years ago they decided to start growing garlic. Dorothy does the planting and harvesting while Viren looks after the soil preparation and marketing. Their high quality garlic harvest earned them the title, “Eastern Ontario Garlic Grower Champion” in 2017!
Garlic is one of the most widely consumed alliums and has many health benefits besides adding great flavor to food.
Garlic requires well drained rich soil in full sun. The soil ph should be between 6-7.5. The cloves are planted in September, rest over winter and are harvested in July.
The Oogarahs have 4 acres on their property devoted to garlic and they harvested approximately 3500 bulbs July, 2018…and we all remember the unrelenting heat during that month…many days 40 plus degrees!!!
Raised beds are used and the cloves are planted 4-6 inches deep using a dibble rake. The cloves are covered with soil and mulched with 4-6 inches of clean straw after the first freeze. The cloves rest during the winter months.
In the spring, the mulch is moved aside to speed up growth. An inch of water per week is required. Weeds are pulled. The scaps are removed to entice the bulb to grow larger. The scaps are used for salads and pesto.
During the harvest in July, the soil is washed from the bulbs and the roots are trimmed. Each bulb is carefully checked for pests. Bulbs are graded using a template and hung to dry as they bruise easily. It takes approximately 4 weeks for the bulbs to dry. Some of the bulbs are saved for future planting.
The Oogarahs sell their garlic at local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. They advised members to be sure to purchase seed garlic from reliable organic farms for best results.
By the number of questions asked following the Oogarah’s presentation, many members must be considering growing garlic!
November 6…Penny Stewart will discuss “frugal” decorating for Christmas. The AGM will be held. The Financial Report for the past year will be presented for approval.
GENERAL INTEREST EVENTS…
October 13 or date to be decided depending upon the weather…Clean up of flower beds in the town. Meet at Moira Garden. Email will be sent with details.
District 3 Fall Meeting will be held in Kingston in November. More details to follow.