GARLIC PRODUCTION IN MICHIGAN
How to grow garlic in Michigan? Consumers, growers, and backyard gardeners are becoming more interested in garlic (Allium sativum L.) because of its culinary usage and recently revealed health advantages.
Read Also: WHEN TO HARVEST GARLIC IN THE UK
Garlic cultivation has become popular in areas outside of traditional U.S. producing zones, where little is known about cultivar performance and production procedures.
This guide explains the basics of garlic cultivation for commercial and family growers in of garlic in Michigan or how to grow garlic in Michigan.
GARLIC’S HISTORY IN MICHIGAN
Garlic belongs to the Allium genus and belongs to the Lily family. Onions (Allium cepa L.), chives (Allium schoenoprasum L.), leeks (Allium ampeloprasum L.), and several more edible and ornamental plants are all members of the genus Allium. Elephant garlic is a bulbing leek, not a variety of garlic.
Garlic cultivation has been documented in Egypt dating back to 3200 B.C. It is still a staple of Mediterranean, European, and Asian cuisines, as well as a medicinal herb used to cure a wide range of diseases.
Read Also: HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN MINNESOTA, MN?
According to new research, both fresh and processed garlic may offer health benefits.
Garlic is now employed as a food ingredient and a dietary supplement due to its distinct flavor. Other crops have been treated with a liquid garlic spray as an insect repellant.
TYPES OF GARLIC TO GROW IN MICHIGAN
Softneck and hardneck garlic are the two most common varieties. Hardneck garlic produces a center “flower” stalk (called a “scape,” Figure 1) around 30 days after the bulbing process begins, similar to onions, except the garlic stalk is solid rather than hollow.
Softneck varieties don’t grow this stiff flower stalk, so they have a softer neck that’s better for braiding garlic. Garlic grows similarly to onions, except its leaves are flat rather than spherical.
The bulbing process is influenced by the duration of the day. It begins with the lengthening of the days in April and May.
In Michigan studies, softneck bulbs were found to be less winter hardy and more difficult to peel, with smaller cloves, milder flavors, and lower yields. Hardneck bulbs, on the other hand, have a shorter storage life than softneck bulbs.
CULTIVARS AND PROPAGATION OF GARLIC IN MICHIGAN
Garlic does not produce flowers or seeds. At the top of the scape, where flowers would ordinarily develop, little bulbs (bulbils, Figure 2) are generated.
Although these bulbils are clones of the parent plant and can be planted for production, garlic is typically propagated by separating bulbs and planting individual cloves. A clone of the original plant is produced by each clove.
Growers have named hundreds of garlic cultivars as a result of their selection of strains.
Garlic producers frequently share cultivars, and names can easily be misplaced, exchanged, or duplicated, resulting in a complex cultivar scenario.
Garlic cannot generate seed, hence breeders are unable to create cultivars that are particular to various growing locations.
Michigan State University began cultivar testing in 1996 at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center near Benton Harbor to determine which cultivars were best suited to Michigan circumstances.
“Music,” “German White,” and “Polish Softneck” all performed well in these trials and are suitable for commercial production in Michigan.
Plant small quantities of an untested cultivar until it has shown itself over two or three growing seasons.
Softneck and hardneck garlic cultivars are the two varieties of garlic (also called topset or stiffneck). Softneck varieties are whiter and mature earlier, have a longer storage life, and are easier to braid.
Softnecks, on the other hand, are more difficult to peel and feature little cloves (particularly towards the bulb’s center) and small seed cloves. Hardneck garlic varieties have four to eight cloves clustered around a central stem, are easier to peel, have more useable garlic and larger seed cloves, and are more winter hardy and mature later. Hardnecks have purple pigment in their skins and have a shorter storage life.
Based on Michigan yield experiments, the following cultivars can be recommended:
German White: A hardneck with white skin and purple stripes.It features 6–8 huge cloves per bulb, is medium-matured, and has a long storage life.
It has a powerful, spicy, and fiery flavor. With several bulbs measuring 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter, the yield will be roughly five to six times the weight sown.
Hardneck with white to pale pink skin and purple striations. If grown in cold climates, it contains four to six huge cloves per bulb, is medium-mature, and has a long storage life.
It has a great flavor that is strong but not overpowering. With numerous bulbs measuring 2 inches in diameter, the yield will be four to six times the weight planted.
Polish Softneck: A softneck with purple stripes on the inside and white on the outside.It has a bulb with 12 to 20 cloves per bulb, matures later, and has a long storage life. It usually has a strong, spicy taste to it.
With many bulbs measuring 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, yields can be seven to eight times the weight planted (although this has not been the case in Michigan studies). It’s great for braiding.
Planting stock should be kept at a temperature of 50°F and a relative humidity of no more than 60%. Reduced yields are caused by quick sprouting, side branches, tough bulbs, and early maturity, all of which are caused by lower temperatures.
Higher temperatures limit the shelf life of food and raise the risk of disease during storage.
Bulbs sold for table use have been stored at temperatures of around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and should not be planted.
Planting stock should be purchased from a reliable merchant who can deliver true-to-name, disease-and nematode-free stock. A seed stock grower’s reputation can be tough to create. On-site inspections of manufacturing facilities are beneficial, but they are not always practicable. Ordering modest quantities of the same cultivars from several providers will allow you to compare quality.
Examine the stock for external appearance and mold indications under the skin and between the cloves when it arrives.
Examine the root plates for any damage (the area where the roots attach to the bulb). Discolored or soft plates should be avoided, and roots should not be easily removed.
The presence of fungi could be indicated by any of these issues. Do not plant the stock if it is severely diseased. Separate the material from each provider and monitor how it grows throughout the season.
Once you have good planting stock, you can increase it to the point where you have enough plant material for both sales and replanting. Don’t be tempted to sell your best material; save it for next year’s planting stock.
SITE PREPARATION AND SOIL PREPARATION FOR GARLIC IN MICHIGAN
Garlic grows nicely in a range of soil types as long as they are adequately drained. Because of their water-holding capacity and generally good drainage, sandy loams are the ideal choice.
Clay soils can be used if they can be loosened sufficiently to allow for planting and bulb growth.
Sand-rich soils are acceptable if enough water for irrigation is available. Because of the significant possibility of frost heaving during the winter and the seasonally high winter water level, rich organic soils should be avoided.
Clay and organic soils also stick to and/or discolor the outer skins, reducing their marketability. Garlic, like onions and other Allium species, is subject to insect issues. As a result, don’t grow garlic in fields where onions were planted in the previous two years.
Garlic thrives in soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Plant growth is inhibited by lower pH levels, and soil pH levels below 5.0 can potentially kill plants. Before planting, a general soil test should be undertaken to determine pH and nutrient availability.
If lime is required, it should be applied and integrated according to soil test results. At least 10 inches down, the soil should be carefully worked.
If a hardpan has formed at the bottom of the plow layer, some locations may need to be subsoiled.
Garlic roots grow several inches into the soil, and a hardpan placed too close to the surface might limit root penetration and the capacity of the plants to get water and nutrients.
Controlling annual and perennial weeds is the first step in site preparation. This can be done by cultivation and/or the use of herbicides.
Planting in fresh fields should begin at least two to three months prior to site preparation. Starting early allows for many cultivation opportunities or two treatments of a broad-spectrum contact herbicide, if needed.
Review the herbicide program used on the current crop before using a field that is already in production to ensure there will be no negative carryover.
Planting a legume cover crop in the spring, such as annual clover, will help control weeds while also adding nitrogen and organic matter to the soil.
HOW TO PLANT GARLIC IN MICHIGAN
Garlic is planted in the fall, six weeks before the ground freezes, if possible. This usually occurs in October, depending on where you are in Michigan.
Spring planting is possible, but yields will be substantially decreased, and storing planting stock for so long may be challenging.
Before winter, the idea is to get just root development. If shoots sprout soon after planting, they will be killed off by the cold, wasting the plant’s energy. Shoots appearing too soon are frequently caused by one of three factors:
The cloves were planted too early, they weren’t planted deep enough, or the cultivar wasn’t well acclimated to the environment.
The timing of shoot emergence in the fall is debatable; some producers claim to have early shoot emergence without a significant loss of production.
Plant spacing is influenced by the equipment available and how it can be modified for garlic production. Planting ideas range from 40-inch-apart single rows to 36-inch-apart double-row raised beds with 12-inch-apart rows.
The distance between rows varies from 1 to 6 inches. Garlic cultivated for processing usually has tighter plantings since the total yield is the most important factor.
The fresh market requires a larger bulb, which implies wider spacing between and inside rows. A possible planting scheme is depicted in Figure 3. Here are two rows of 36 inches apart, with 12 inches between them.
An inrow spacing of 4 inches is a reasonable general spacing for most cultivars cultivated for fresh bulb output. With this spacing, each plant gets 1/2 square foot of growth room, resulting in a plant population of 87,120 per acre.
Because green garlic cloves are harvested prior to bulbing, they can be planted closer together. Garlic grown in Michigan has no processing market at the moment.
Cultivators that are properly placed and adjusted at the suitable depth for manual planting can yield rows (Figure 4). After the cloves have been planted, they can easily be covered with a hand hoe.
The planting method has been industrialized by adapting potato or other planters to handle garlic.
On the other hand, high-quality fresh garlic is frequently grown by hand for bulb production. Cloves should be planted 2 to 4 inches deep, with the root plate down and the point up.
For green garlic production, cloves can be planted closer together and 6 inches deep, or shallower and mounded up so that a major portion of the stem remains white.
When determining how much seed garlic is needed, a good rule of thumb is that hardneck varieties contain about eight bulbs per pound and six to eight cloves per bulb.
So, for every pound of garlic, you’ll get about 55 table cloves. A total of 1,600 pounds of seed garlic would be required per acre if one clove was planted every 1/2 square foot. Depending on the cultivar, the exact figures will vary. Before planting, separate the bulbs into individual cloves.
This must be done right before planting, since separated cloves are more prone to disease and drying out and do not store well.
Separating cloves by hand is preferable since it prevents clove damage and allows you to evaluate cloves for disease issues.
Taking off the outer shell and the first clove of hardneck garlic is the most difficult part.
It will be much easier to extract the remaining cloves once you’ve removed the first.
Several tools can be used to break through the outer layers of skin to remove the first clove. Make sure no cloves are broken in the process.
Some farmers utilize a 50-to 100-pound-per-square-inch air compressor with a foot valve. By blowing off the outer skin, this will aid in the release of the cloves.
(WARNING: Protect your eyes by wearing eye protection.)The layer of skin that surrounds each clove does not need to be removed.
The size of the clove determines the size of the resulting bulb; small cloves produce small bulbs, while large cloves yield huge bulbs.
Because of this, growers of fresh market garlic should only plant the largest cloves.
The term “big clove” is defined somewhat arbitrarily and is subject to change.
A 2-foot-square frame made of 1-by-4-inch lumber with the right size screen affixed to it can easily be transformed into a small-quantity separator.
This shows how to utilize a 5/8-inch screen to let cloves with a diameter of less than 5/8 inch pass through.
Clove sizes can be separated using various screen sizes. Green garlic can be grown from cloves that are too small to plant for bulb formation.
Mulch should be used in a 2-to 4-inch layer soon after planting, according to various sources.
The purpose of the mulch is to provide winter protection as well as weed and moisture control.
The need for mulch for winter protection is questionable in areas that receive heavy snowfall or have mild soil freezing during the winter.
The entire process of separating cloves, sizing them, and planting them has been mechanized.
Many fresh garlic growers avoid using mechanical separators because they can damage cloves.
A spinning, inclined drum having smaller holes at the entry and larger holes at the exit is used to make sizers.
Simply place a clove into a furrow and cover it with a motorized planter. Instead of being planted base down, the majority of cloves are planted on their side.
Growers must decide when the scale of their planting warrants each step in mechanization.
HOW TO FERTILIZE GARLIC IN MICHIGAN?
Garlic reacts to fertilizer, so proceed with caution when following directions. Because of California’s longer growing season, the state has done a lot of research on garlic fertilization.
Although the plants spend the same length of time in the ground in Michigan, growth is dramatically reduced from December to March, and fertilizer inputs are more likely to leak than be taken by the plant.
Fertilizer recommendations for garlic have yet to be fully established in Michigan, although fertilizer rates for onions are frequently excessive.
Preplant nitrogen inputs in the fall should be limited to 25 pounds per acre because nitrogen is mostly required for vegetative growth.
Follow the phosphorus and potassium recommendations from the soil test.
Before planting, 150 pounds of phosphorus and 100 pounds of potassium per acre should be applied and integrated if a soil test has not been completed.
Additional nitrogen should be delivered the next spring, with 40 pounds per acre applied when the garlic starts to develop in March or early April, and another 40 pounds around May 1.
Fertilizer applications are made to ensure that the plant is as vigorous as possible before bulbing occurs in mid-May. Once the bulbing period has begun, more fertilizer treatments have little effect.
Ammonium nitrate is the preferred form of nitrogen. Urea forms, according to some authorities, should be avoided.
Compostable manure can be utilized as a fertilizer as well. Because the dosage varies depending on the animal source, be careful not to overuse it.
Growers that utilize manure should be aware that weed issues might be exacerbated if the manure is not properly composted. Proper composting is also essential to reduce human health hazards.
Garlic grows best with 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Prior to bulbing, water, like nitrogen, has the greatest impact on output.
Soil moisture levels are generally adequate throughout the months of March, April, and May, when garlic growth is at its optimum, but extra care should be taken to compensate for dry spells.
Ample moisture is still necessary after bulbing, but irrigation should be stopped at least two weeks before the expected harvest date. Late-season irrigation tends to darken the skins and reduce quality.
HOW TO GET RID OF THE GARLIC SCAPE IN MICHIGAN
The flower-producing section of the garlic plant is known as the scape. Scapes will develop from the center of the plant in mid-June. They start off straight and gradually curve as they grow longer (Figure 1).
They will straighten out as they become older and can reach a height of 5 feet (Figure 10). The scapes produce bulbils (Figure 2), which are clones of the parent plant instead of flowers.
The energy available to the developing bulb is depleted as scapes and bulbils are produced, limiting bulb yields by up to 30%.
To avoid yield loss, scapes should be removed. Manually removing scapes from plants can be done by breaking, cutting, or pulling them off.
This should be done as soon as they emerge from their curl stage but before they straighten out.
If you remove them now, they are still succulent and can be eaten raw or cooked (see section on harvesting). The scape will grow larger if you pluck it, but be careful not to pull the plant out of the ground.
CONTROLLING GARLIC PESTS IN MICHIGAN
Garlic is subject to the same pest problems as onions, albeit to a lower extent. Crop rotation can help you avoid a lot of pest problems. Weed control is a vital aspect of effective garlic production because garlic is a poor competitor. Before planting, weeds that are causing problems should be eradicated.
After planting in the fall, there aren’t many weeds. The most serious issue arises in the spring of the next year.
Between the rows, mechanical cultivation is possible, but between the rows, hand hoeing is required.
Mulches also help to reduce weed pressure, but be careful not to overmuch to the point where garlic’s emergence is hampered.
Herbicides can be used as well. Extension Bulletin E-433, Weed Control Guide for Vegetable Crops, is available from your local MSU Extension office and contains the most up-to-date advice.
Thrips and onion maggots are pests that wreak havoc on garlic production. Thrips munch on leaves, turning them yellow in the process.
Because of their small size, thrip activity is difficult to detect, and a lot of damage can be done before the pest is recognized.
Thrips are yellowish insects that are about 1/16-inch long and prefer to live between leaves. By biting on the leaf surface and eating the plant sap, they cause damage to the plant.
As the tissue dries out, the damage appears as a silvery blotch that turns yellow and ultimately brown.
The onion maggot is a fly that deposits its eggs near the plant on the ground. The larvae move to the developing bulb and burrow inside it once the eggs hatch.
Wilting is the first sign that a plant is afflicted. The plant may be killed if an infestation occurs early in the season.
If it happens late in the season, the bulbs will be unmarketable, and they will usually have soft rot related to the insect.
Onion maggots are drawn to bulbs that have been weakened by other issues, such as root rot.
Corn borers have been discovered burrowing down stems after the scapes have been removed, although this activity occurs too late to be economically damaging.
Green mold (Penicillium sp.), basal plate rot (Fusarium sp.), pink root (Phoma sp.), and sclerotinia rot are the most common diseases in garlic (Sclerotinia sp.).
Garlic has just been in Michigan for a short time, so it’s unclear what diseases it will develop. Basal plate rot has been the most serious issue thus far.
Plants infected with basal plate rot mature faster and have roots that can be easily pulled from the basal plate.The disease will eventually spread to the cloves, rendering them useless for sale.
When separating cloves, green mold is common. If the cloves for planting have been bruised and handled forcefully, it might be a serious problem.
Following solid rotation procedures, planting only clean seed stock, and maintaining healthy crops through adequate water and nutrient management are the best ways to control diseases and insects in garlic.
These pests can be controlled with a variety of pesticides and fungicides. For the most up-to-date recommendations, please see the most recent issue of Extension Bulletin E-312, Insect, Disease, and Nematode Control for Commercial Vegetables, available from your local MSU Extension office.
HOW TO HARVEST GARLIC IN MICHIGAN?
Garlic can be gathered in three ways: scapes (Figure 12), green garlic (Figure 13), and bulbs (Figure 14). (Figure 14). Most people are unfamiliar with scapes and green garlic because they are not commonly found in supermarkets. To help advertise these things, some education and free samples may be required.
When a scape has completed its circle, it is ready to be harvested. They become fibrous and useless as they begin to uncurl. Scapes can be used in a variety of ways, both raw and cooked.
The flavor isn’t as strong as garlic cloves, but it’s still distinct. Scapes are removed from the plant by pulling, breaking, or cutting them off.
Those that are plucked off tend to break off deep within the leaf sheath, resulting in a large portion of the scape being white.
Certain ethnic groups who are experienced with the use of scapes prefer this since it increases the size of the gathered material.
Only the healthiest plants should be pulled; else, the plants will be taken out of the soil.
Garlic that has been collected before bulbing is known as “green garlic.” This product has a similar appearance to green onions (Figure 13) and can be used in salads or cooking in the same way.
It has a more delicate flavor than bulbs. Depending on the cultivar, green garlic from fall-planted bulbs is available from late April to early June.
Early spring-planted bulbs can help lengthen the season, but later-planted bulbs lack the desired stem growth. Green garlic cloves might be any cloves that are too tiny for bulb formation.
When the plants are large enough in the spring, green garlic can be harvested. This might happen as soon as late April. If green garlic cloves were planted late in the spring, harvesting could last until early June or perhaps later.
The base of the garlic bulb will begin to grow, the scape will form, and the garlic will lose its attraction as green garlic.
Because bulbing is reliant on day length, late-planted cloves will receive the signal at the same time as early-planted cloves, and their bulbing response will not be too far behind established plants.
Loosen the soil and pluck out the plants to harvest green garlic. Roots and leaf tips should be cut to 1/4 inch if necessary.
By allowing the leaf sheaths to elongate, cutting the roots entirely off will detract from the beauty.
The harvesting of bulbs normally takes place in July. The aims of maximum yield and maximum quality are not the same.
allowing plants to develop as long as they can produce the highest harvests.
However, if left to grow too late, the cloves will enlarge to the point where the skins separate, lowering the quality.
The bulbs are harvested when 30 to 50 percent of the leaves have withered.This stage will result in the highest yields and quality.
When the weather is dry, garlic bulbs should be gathered. It can be easily harvested in small plantings by loosening the soil adjacent to the plants with a spade and pulling them out.
Laying them out on the ground and allowing them to dry for a few days will help to dry the soil that has adhered to the roots, and most of it will fall off when the plants are picked up. Larger crops are harvested similarly to onions.
A cutting bar is passed down the row beneath the plants to release them from the soil. They can be hand-pulled and arranged into windrows once they’ve been loosened. Each windrow can have multiple rows of garlic.
Plants can be kept out to dry for up to a week if the weather is forecast to be dry. Hide the bulbs as much as possible under the tops to avoid sunburn.
Tops and roots are removed after field drying and before or after storage. Hand-remove the tops and roots, leaving 1/2 inch of root and 1 inch of top.
If a component of the planting is just for seed production, it may be allowed to mature longer than bulbs intended for human use.
This will make separating the cloves a little easier. However, if cloves are left in the field for too long, they may detach from the basal plate at harvest.
DRYING AND STORAGE OF GARLIC AT MICHIGAN
Further curing after harvest may be required in humid growing regions like Michigan.
More drying time is required if liquid can be extracted from the chopped stem. Plants that are placed in curing circumstances with their tops on will take longer to cure than those that are not.
Curing in larger storage containers will take longer as well. Containers must have somewhat open sides and bottoms to allow for free air flow. In the container, the garlic should not be packed higher than 3 feet.
Drying time can be cut in half by using forced ambient air at a rate of 5 cu ft/min per cu ft of garlic. Small amounts can be bundled up and hung to dry away from direct sunlight in a well ventilated location.
The type of storage required is determined by the intended application. If the garlic is to be used as planting stock, it should be kept at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 60% or less.
Lower temperatures will trigger physiological changes in the cloves, resulting in lower yields. Molds might become a concern at higher temperatures. Onion storage is comparable to storing for consumption.
Once cured, store garlic at 32°F with a relative humidity of 65–70%.Higher humidity and temperature levels cause more storage issues. At 40°F, root development is more apparent, especially when the humidity is high. Because stored bulbs continue to perspire, enough ventilation is required to maintain humidity control.
Scapes of green garlic have shorter storage durations than dried garlic bulbs. Both products require a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 95 to 100 percent. The items will stay in good form for three to four weeks in these conditions.
MARKETING AND GRADING OF GARLIC IN MICHIGAN
Garlic is rated according to its size and appearance. Bulb skins that are split or heavily discolored, or that have missing or sick cloves, are graded out. Bulbs with a decent appearance are divided into three sizes: large (> 2.5 inches), medium (2.0 to 2.5 inches), and small (less than 2.0 inches). If enough bulbs reach that size, a new category called “jumbo” (> 3.0 inches) can be added.
Green garlic and scapes should be graded in the same size range. Green garlic can be tied together in bundles of similar-sized plants.
Scapes can be placed in bulk containers or plastic containers with a specific weight limit.
Individual producers are responsible for marketing Michigan-grown garlic, which they must study and establish even before planting.
At initially, direct marketing through farmers’ markets is most likely the best option. Green garlic and scapes are most commonly found at ethnic and upmarket restaurants.
..Many chefs are on the lookout for unique ingredients to utilize in their dishes. Green garlic and scapes can be eaten raw or cooked in salads.
Because it takes more product to achieve the correct garlic flavor in prepared foods, it is both a visible part of the entree and a flavoring. You can also use green garlic leaves.
Roadside marketing is another option if you live in a high-traffic location. Whether the traffic is caused by population centers or visitors, make sure to provide a wide range of garlic items.
Garlic bulbs can be sold alone or in groups of varied sizes in nylon mesh bags or boxes.
Make sure to keep cultivars separate so that clients can keep track of the differences between them.
You may sell a “variety pack” that includes three or four distinct sorts. Roasting garlic and spreading it on fresh bread or crackers is the best method to encourage customers to try different cultivars.
Packing and marketing garlic would be a natural use of their equipment and marketing channels, as Michigan has multiple onion packing plants. To explain this, a significant increase in acreage would be required.
PRODUCTION OF GARLIC ORGANIC PRODUCTS
It’s also possible to grow garlic naturally. Fungicides and insecticides were not used in the trials at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center.
Composted manure, legume cover crops, and other alternate sources of nutrients can be used to provide nutrients.
Mulch applications or cultivation can be used to control weeds. In organic farming, crop rotation is crucial, and garlic should not be planted in places where any Allium species have been present in the previous two or three years.
This decreases the risk of illness and worm infestations. As soon as unhealthy plants are found, they should be removed.
Proper nutrition and water control are essential for maintaining healthy plants. This is especially critical when dealing with onion maggots.
Adult onion maggots have the ability to detect stressed plants. Plants that are healthy do not appeal to them as much.
Garlic that is organic is more expensive than garlic that is not organic. A product must meet certain criteria to be classified as organically certified.
For more information on becoming a certified organic grower, contact your local MSU Extension office.
Potential garlic producers should think about the expense before planting. Garlic production necessitates a significant amount of manual labor and can be costly. Because of the procurement of seed stock, first-year expenses are frequently higher than in subsequent years.
The cost of seed stock varies between $3 and $9 per pound, depending on the quantity purchased, the variety, and whether it was cultivated organically.
Due to the exorbitant expense, many growers begin with a small amount (200 pounds) and gradually build their stock.
For first-time producers, this is a good option because it gives them time to build production experience and create markets. When expanding seed stock, it’s important to keep meticulous records and keep disease and other possible pests under control.
Actual inputs and returns will vary significantly depending on existing equipment, desired market, planted and harvested amounts, family work vs. hired labor, and a variety of other considerations.
According to recent estimates from Ontario, the cost of purchasing and preparing seed stock, producing, harvesting, curing, and marketing garlic is around $1 per pound.
Organic garlic production will most likely be more expensive than $1, but the rewards will be higher as well.
Garlic produced for bulbs is expected to generate roughly 6 pounds per pound planted. With a planting stock of 1,600 pounds per acre, yields of 9,600 pounds can be projected.
About 1,000 pounds of the 9,600 pounds will be culls, with the remaining 1,600 pounds being kept for replanting.
The remaining 7,000 pounds/acre must be sold. This does not account for scape yields, and it is assumed that all cloves planted were for bulb production rather than green garlic.
The break-even price at these figures is $1.37/pound, which is a reasonable figure. A profit of $4,400/A would be realized at $2/pound. Scapes are a secondary crop from the same bulbs, so any profit from them would be significant.
If there is a market for them, high-quality scapes (those that have been pulled and have a major amount of the scape white) can be sold for $3 to $5 per pound.
Each bulb is worth around 25 cents at $2 per pound. If green garlic were meant for the bulb market, it would at least recoup this cost.
Because preparing green garlic for the market necessitates a significant amount of manual labor, a return of $2 for a bundle containing four or five plants is required.
IN MICHIGAN, THE FALL IS THE OPTIMUM SEASON TO PLANT GARLIC.
Garlic gets a jump start when planted in the fall. At harvest, the plants will be stronger and the bulbs will be larger.
In North America, October is considered the ideal month to cultivate garlic. Garlic that is planted in the fall for the next year has more time to develop strong, thick roots that keep it firmly fixed in the earth.
The optimum time to plant garlic in Michigan is around Halloween.
Garlic cultivation has been documented in Egypt dating back to 3200 B.C. Garlic is now employed as a food ingredient and a dietary supplement due to its distinct flavor.
According to new research, both fresh and processed garlic may offer health benefits.
The bulbing process is influenced by the duration of the day. “Music,” “German White,” and “Polish Softneck” are suitable for commercial production in Michigan.
Plant small quantities of an untested cultivar until it has shown itself over two or three growing seasons.
Hardnecks have purple pigment in their skins and have a shorter storage life. Garlic yields can be seven to eight times the weight planted.
Planting stock should be kept at a temperature of 50°F and a relative humidity of no more than 60%. Clay soils can be used if they can be loosened sufficiently to allow for planting and bulb growth.
Garlic thrives in soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Garlic is planted in the fall, six weeks before the ground freezes, if possible. Planting a legume cover crop in the spring will help control annual and perennial weeds.
The fresh market requires a larger bulb, which implies wider spacing between and inside rows. Garlic cultivated for processing usually has tighter plantings since the total yield is the most important factor.
The planting method has been industrialized by adapting potato or other planters to handle garlic. Take off the outer shell and the first clove of hardneck garlic. Some farmers utilize a 50-to 100-pound-per-square-inch air compressor. Green garlic can be grown from cloves that are too small to plant for bulb formation. Clove sizes can be separated using various screen sizes.
Garlic growth is dramatically reduced from December to March in Michigan. Preplant nitrogen inputs in the fall should be limited to 25 pounds per acre.
According to some authorities, ammonium nitrate is the preferred form of nitrogen. Urea forms should be avoided, according to some.
Garlic grows best with 1 to 2 inches of water per week prior to bulging. Compostable manure can be utilized as a fertilizer as well. Weed control is a vital aspect of effective garlic production.
Crop rotation can help you avoid a lot of pest problems. Between the rows, mechanical cultivation is possible, but hand hoeing is required.
Mulches also help to reduce weed pressure, but be careful not to over mulch. Available from local MSU Extension offices is Extension Bulletin E-433, “Weed Control Guide for Vegetable Crops.”
Garlic can be gathered in three ways: scapes, green garlic, and bulbs. Most people are unfamiliar with scapes and green garlic because they are not commonly found in supermarkets. Maintaining healthy crops through adequate water and nutrient management is the best way to control diseases and insects.
Late-planted garlic cloves will receive the bulbing signal at the same time as established plants. allowing plants to develop as long as they can produce the highest harvests.
The bulbs are harvested when 30 to 50 percent of the leaves have withered. Garlic should be kept at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 60% or less. For marketing and grading purposes, green garlic and scapes should be graded in the same size range as bulbs.
Many chefs are on the lookout for unique ingredients to utilize in their dishes. Garlic bulbs can be sold alone or in groups of varied sizes in nylon mesh bags or boxes.
Roasting garlic and spreading it on fresh bread is the best method to encourage customers to try different cultivars.
Garlic production necessitates a significant amount of manual labor and can be costly. The cost of seed stock varies between $3 and $9 per pound, depending on the quantity purchased.
Garlic produced for bulbs is expected to generate roughly 6 pounds per pound planted. In Michigan, the fall is the optimum season to plant garlic.
At harvest, the plants will be stronger and the bulbs will be larger. High-quality scapes (those that have a major amount of white on them) can be sold for $3–$5 per pound.