Garlic is a simple plant to grow and may enhance the flavor and zing of home cuisine.
Garlic is one of the most straightforward plants to cultivate in your yard. It is particularly suited for northern Colorado because it is native to the Caspian Sea region, Iran and Afghanistan in south-central Asia, and western China in western China, where the climate and soils are comparable to ours.
Indeed, one of the largest seed garlic growers in the United States is located right here in northern Colorado.
HOW TO GROW GOURMET GARLIC
Growing your own gourment garlic enables you to have a range of delectable gourmet types in addition to the usual generic variety found in grocery stores.
Why grow store garlic when gourmet types such as Chef’s Italian Red, Purple Glazer, Siciliano, French Red, Oregon Blue, Siberian, or Early Italian Purple are available? Garlic should stay for six to nine months if harvested and stored properly.
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You can store garlic in your home to avoid shifting temperatures that cause the garlic to lose its dormancy and sprout. Additionally, cultivating garlic has health benefits that are frequently connected to its use.
VARIETIES OF GOURMET GARLIC
Garlic plants are made up of a stem and a subterranean bulb containing four to twenty or more cloves.
Roasted bulbs can be used whole or divided into individual cloves and used as spice.
Garlic is classified into two types: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck has a rather stiff, upright straight stalk that is topped by a little, bulb-like blossom called a scape that bears tiny garlic bulbs called bulbils that some use for fresh flavoring.
Numerous hardneck varieties have a stronger flavor, referred to as “hot,” but do not store as well as softneck varieties.
Softnecks are more frequently cultivated since they lack a rigid stalk. They are often more productive since the plant’s energy is concentrated on the bulb rather than on the stalk and scape.
Due to their soft necks, softnecks often store much longer and are occasionally braided.
PLANTING GOURMET GARLIC
Planting between mid-September and late October will result in the highest garlic production next July. Planting should occur at least four to six weeks before the ground freezes solid.
Fertility and soil preparation are critical components of a huge crop. Distribute fertilizer and compost and then till to a depth of six inches.
Fertilizer used at this time will jump-start the garlic’s growth next spring.
Garlic will handle intense planting practices such as row spacing of as little as eight inches and plant spacing within rows of as little as four inches in small gardens.
Read Also: CAN GARLIC BE GROWN IN A HYDROPONIC SYSTEM?
To prevent dehydration, separate the individual cloves from the bulb no more than a day or two before planting. Only the largest cloves from your largest bulbs should be planted; the others should be stored for use in the kitchen. Next year, the largest cloves will spawn the largest bulbs.
Plant the cloves pointed end up and approximately two inches apart in rows. Thoroughly water and mulch your planting.
The mulch will protect the sprouted cloves from freezing temperatures and will help preserve the soil’s moisture content, which is necessary for sprouting and new root growth.
A mixture of shredded leaves and grass clippings is an excellent way to utilize your fall cleanup efforts. Cover with four to six inches of mulch to complete the job until the following spring.
GOURMET GARLIC SPRING CARE
You will notice the tips of your garlic peeping above the mulch early next spring, possibly in mid-March. Now is the moment to reintroduce your plants.
Remove all but an inch or two of mulch; the remaining mulch will assist regulate soil temperature and moisture, as well as inhibit the sprouting of early weed seeds.
Do not be alarmed if they appear a little sickly with yellow tips or pale green shoots.
They simply require some sunshine. Garlic is a heavy feeder, and a couple doses of all-purpose vegetable fertilizer in April and May would be beneficial.
Garlic has short roots and is susceptible to soil dehydration.
As a result, it is crucial to maintain the beds moist, particularly during their critical bulb growth phase in May and June.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE OF GOURMET GARLIC
Around July, your garlic will begin to show signs of acute distress, either because it is too dry or because it has been infected with a disease.
Nothing is wrong; it is most likely just maturing. Lower leaves will begin to brown and the plant may begin to tilt or perhaps fall over.
Harvest the garlic when the bottom one-third of the leaves becomes brown. Bulbs should have a diameter of at least 1 or 2 inches to indicate a healthy yield.
Loosen the soil surrounding the bulbs using a spade fork and extract the entire plant. Do not clean the bulbs with a garden hose.
Hosing retards the bulb’s drying process, shrivels the outer skins, and may result in bulb deterioration. Rather than that, bundle them in groups of six to ten plants and hang them to dry.
Hang in an area that is shaded from the sun, rain, and lawn sprinklers but yet has adequate air circulation. A excellent choice is to hang out in a garage or a covered patio.
Curing time varies according on temperature, humidity, and air movement, but is typically two weeks. Your objective is to totally dry out the plant above the bulb.
When the stem is dry, cut it halfway to an inch above the bulb and clip the roots. Remove any soil that remains clinging to the bulb with a soft brush and rub the bulb to remove the outer skin layer.
Garlic, like onions, has thin skin layers, and removing the outer dry layer removes any soil attached. The key to storing garlic for an extended period of time is to select a cool, dry location with adequate air circulation.
The refrigerator is the very worst location for bulbs to decay due to the extreme humidity. Garlic can be hung in the mesh sacks that onions are purchased in if your cellar is both cool and dry.
Now, you’re ready to incorporate some French Red into your next roast beef or lamb. Alternatively, try incorporating some Chef’s Italian Red into your favorite Italian cuisine.
Jalapeo pepper enthusiasts will like the additional “hot” provided by Siberian or Lorz Italian peppers. Simply experiment and enjoy what the majority of people have never attempted.
Gordon Bachman is a six-year Master Gardener who consistently wins blue ribbons at the Weld County Fair with his vegetables.
Extension delivers unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, gardening, natural resources, agriculture, and 4-H youth development in Weld County.
Extension, as part of a national system, brings the university’s research and resources to the community.
The Extension office in Weld County is located in Island Grove Park at 525 N. 15th Ave., Greeley.
TOP 14 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GROWING GOURMET GARLIC FOR PROFIT
Gourmet garlic is growing in popularity and profitability year after year.
To assist novice farmers in becoming acquainted with this speciality crop, the following are some frequently asked questions regarding cultivating and marketing gourmet garlic.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GROWING GOURMET GARLIC?
Gourmet garlic is one of the most accessible and profitable specialty crops for small growers, particularly if you have a restricted growing area.
Gourmet garlic is far more expensive than retail garlic, currently selling for up to $16 per pound.
Due to the rarity of gourmet cultivars such as Rocambole, Porcelain, and Purple Stripe, chefs, cooks, and “foodies” are anxious to purchase them when they become available.
HOW DO GOURMET GARLIC TYPES DIFFER FROM REGULAR STORE GARLIC?
Gourmet garlic bears a strong resemblance to great wine. There are about a hundred kinds, each with its own distinct flavor, taste, cooking characteristics, and applications.
There are mild garlic kinds that are best eaten raw or roasted, sweet garlic variations, spicy garlic varieties, and combinations, such as the Rocambole varieties, which have a full-bodied, savory flavor and a fairly hot, rich flavor.
WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOURMET AND ELEPHANT GARLIC?
Elephant garlic is not a true garlic variety, but a leek relative with a faint garlic flavor.
This mild flavor makes it simple to infuse a meal with garlic flavor, particularly soups and stews, without overwhelming the dish.
Elephant garlic is a particularly popular seller at farmer’s markets due to its mild flavor and large bulbs, and its production results in a better profit margin for growers.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO CULTIVATE GOURMET GARLIC IN MY CLIMATE?
of the most popular kinds originate in Eastern Europe, including a few in Siberia, indicating that they are an adaptable plant capable of withstanding extremely harsh winters.
The Artichoke, Creole, and Silverskin types will thrive in milder climates. New producers should plant multiple types their first year and keep detailed records of each variety’s characteristics, particularly harvest yield, in order to determine the best selections for their microclimate.
WHAT METHOD IS USED TO PROPAGATE GOURMET GARLIC?
Growers purchase or store bulbs each season and plant the cloves in the fall. There are numerous reliable sellers who can supply bulbs to new growers.
After your first harvest, choose the best types and plant the cloves from your largest bulbs to assure a strong yield the following season.
WHICH GARLIC KINDS ARE THE FINEST TO GROW?
Any experienced garlic gardener will tell you that the best types to grow are those that thrive in your particular environment.
Plant a test patch with two or more cultivars of several types, such as Rocambole, Artichoke, Porcelain, and Purple Stripe, to identify them.
After your first growing season, you’ll have a better understanding of which types are most suited to your climate and market, and you can concentrate your efforts on them.
Additionally, the types that perform well for you will almost certainly improve year after year, as garlic is extremely adaptable to new growth circumstances. In rare circumstances, yields might increase by up to 30% over time!
WHAT IS THE GREATEST SORT OF SOIL FOR GROWING GOURMET GARLIC?
Garlic thrives in loamy soil that is rich and well-drained. If your soil does not flow well, consider growing your garlic in raised beds to promote drainage.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO EARN MONEY AS A TINY BACKYARD GARLIC GROWER?
Yes, because gourmet garlic varieties are rather expensive and the yield from rigorous planting can be as high as $8 to $10 per square foot of growing area.
Additionally, value-added garlic products have the potential to significantly double your income.
HOW LONG DOES A CROP OF GOURMET GARLIC TAKE TO GROW?
The majority of growers’ sow garlic seed cloves in the fall, just before the first frost. The mature bulbs will be harvested the following summer.
You may sell fresh garlic for several months by combining early-season, mid-season, and late-season kinds.
Who purchases gourmet garlic? Due to the scarcity of gourmet garlic bulbs, you’ll be able to obtain full retail prices – now between $15 and $16 per pound – from consumers at farmer’s markets and restaurant cooks.
Each season, the majority of grower’s report selling out at the Saturday market.
Other producers opt to spend a little more time preparing value-added garlic goods such as garlic powder, garlic-based spices, pickled garlic, and other gourmet food products in order to earn an additional profit.
Even braided garlic can generate a 50% profit margin over regular garlic bulbs. Certain growers opt to concentrate their efforts on garlic production and sell their entire harvest wholesale to buyers such as upmarket retailers and organic food distributors.
WHAT ITEMS WITH A HIGH ADDED VALUE CAN BE DEVELOPED FROM GOURMET GARLIC?
Garlic-based foods are consistently popular with consumers. Garlic vinegars, pickled garlic, and garlic chutney are all popular.
Garlic scapes, the fictitious seedpods that sprout in the spring, are a once-a-year delicacy sought after by foodies and chefs.
Garlic-based deer repellent and garlic-based pesticide are two items that sell well year-round due to their high profit margins.
IS GOURMET GARLIC NUTRITIONALLY SUPERIOR?
Gourmet versions typically contain a higher concentration of allicin, the active component that contributes to garlic’s status as a superfood for health enhancement.
Garlic has been shown to cut colds by half, lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Garlic has even been shown by the National Cancer Institute to reduce the incidence of many common cancers by more than 50%!
WHAT PROFIT MARGINS CAN I EXPECT FROM CULTIVATING GOURMET GARLIC?
Growers can anticipate to harvest approximately half a pound of garlic per square foot when using a 6″ by 6″ spacing for garlic plants.
That equates to a $8 per square foot return at current prices. Elephant garlic yields and pricing are comparable to gourmet garlic.
WHAT IS THE INITIAL INVESTMENT REQUIRED TO START A GARLIC BUSINESS?
The majority of gardeners already have the essential tools, and growing, harvesting, and marketing garlic does not require expensive tools or equipment. The majority of a new grower’s start-up cost is spent on seed bulbs.
Harvest yields vary by variety, but on average, a pound of seed garlic costs $16 a pound and produces 8 to 10 pounds of salable bulbs at harvest.
Naturally, following your first crop, you can save seed by growing your own bulbs rather than purchasing them.
Garlic is one of the most straightforward plants to cultivate in your yard. It is native to Iran and Afghanistan in south-central Asia and western China in western China.
Growing garlic enables you to have a range of gourmet types in addition to the usual generic variety found in grocery stores. Garlic has short roots and is susceptible to soil dehydration.
It is crucial to maintain the beds during their critical bulb growth phase in May and June.
Garlic will handle intense planting practices such as eight-row rows and spacing within rows of as little as four inches.
The key to storing garlic for an extended period of time is to select a cool, dry location with adequate air circulation.
Garlic can be hung in the mesh sacks that onions are purchased in if your cellar is both cool and dry.
Curing time varies according on temperature, humidity, and air movement, but is typically two weeks. Gourmet garlic is one of the most accessible and profitable specialty crops for small growers.
Gourmet garlic bears a strong resemblance to great wine. There are about a hundred kinds with their own distinct flavor, taste, cooking characteristics, and applications.
The most popular kinds originate in Eastern Europe, including a few in Siberia. The best types of garlic to grow are those that thrive in your particular environment.
Garlic thrives in rich and well-drained soil; if your soil does not flow well, consider growing your garlic in raised beds.
The majority of growers sow garlic seed cloves in the fall, just before the first frost. Garlic-based deer repellent and garlic-based pesticide are two items that sell well year-round due to their high profit margins.
Garlic has been shown to cut colds by half, lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It can reduce the incidence of many common cancers by more than 50%.
If you are currently cultivating garlic, it is a simple matter to “recover” some of your own bulbs.Your own seed is the best source of seed stock for growing gourmet garlic. This method will take between 2 and 5 years (depending on the strain) to produce full-sized bulbs.
Garlic that has been grown in soil and climate comparable to the one in which you will plant it will be more acclimated to those conditions and will give better results.