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TGarlic is Life
 A Memoir with Recipes
by Chester
Aaron

TThe International Society for Horticultural Science  have published the Proceedings of the 2nd InternationalSymposium on Edible Alliaceae. c

TGrowing Great Garlic
  The definitive guide by Ron Engelandc

 

White Rot Threatens Oregon Seedstock Growers with Ruin

Garlic is planted on only about 2,100 acres in Oregon but garlic seed is one of Central Oregon's most profitable crops. The specialty crop, which supplies seed for the California garlic industry, netted almost $4 million in 2003.
For more than 20 years, seed companies in the San Juaquin Valley have relied on Oregon farmers. But the same seed companies that have pumped millions into the local economy also, unknowingly decades ago, started introducing disease into their own fields.
Already blanketing more than 10,000 acres in and around Fresno, California, and responsible for the collapse of the garlic seed industry in the Tulelake Valley, white rot has only lightly affected Central Oregon in past years. Full story from The Bend Bulletin

 
Elephant Garlic: The Daily Mail reports that J Sainsbury, a leading UK food retailer is to stock Elephant garlic. Elephant or greatheaded garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is more closely related to the leek than garlic. This form of garlic produces very large bulbs that may weigh a pound or more. These huge bulbs consist of a few large cloves which are much milder than those of ordinary garlic and can be eaten raw.
For those gardeners who would like to try to grow it rather than eat it there is a fact sheet available from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. And just to show how seriously some folk take their Elephant garlic have a look at The Worlds 7th Annual Elephant Garlic Festival Website - unfortunately it's just finished so you'll have to wait another year before you can go and sample the delights!
Expert growers are Bob and Jean Gnos who farm Elephant garlic near Portland in Oregon. They run Gnos Garlic Company and their site is well worth a visit.

Garlic Curing and Storing

A recent article in a local US newspaper, The Great Falls Tribune, offered some good advice for garlic growers on how to cure and store their new crop.

“Be careful. Try not to break or disturb the skin. Loosen the nearby soil with a spade and pull the plant. Gently shake soil out of the roots, but leave any soil that remains on the heads. It will dry and easily come off after the skins are dry and the curing is complete.
Leave the stalks and leaves on. During curing, the last nutrients are pulled into the bulbs and that's good. The stalks and leaves can be trimmed after they are fully dried. The Montana Extension Service recommends curing garlic for at least one month.
An old screen door on sawhorses works perfectly for curing. We want airflow. I use a piece of narrow mesh fencing. Stack the garlic in layers. Use the stalks and leaves to shade the heads.
Covered with a light-colored sheet they go under a big pine in the back yard, largely out of the direct sun. The white sheet reflects more light and keeps things cooler. Keep a tarpaulin handy for rainstorms. Your garage might work fine if it's ventilated and doesn't get too hot.
Once the curing is done, snip the stalks and leaves a half-inch above the heads.
Here's where vegetable gardening and cattle ranching are alike. Carefully select and set aside the best heads for replanting in October. With care, the genetic line of stock, will keep improving. Each year, ours get a bit larger.
Store your harvest in breathable mesh sack or paper grocery bags in a cool dry place. Last year, we had our own garlic to eat all the way into May.”
Full story here

To see garlic being cured on a larger scale have a look at photographs from our last visit to Spain or visit the Hungarian site of Gyakorlati-Agroforum.

               
Natural methods of drying garlic (courtesy of Gyakorlati-Agroforum)

Growing Garlic in Montana (pdf)

Here's a couple of photographs taken in Spain showing the local method of curing. Garlic is bunched and the leaves used to protect the bulbs from the direct sun. In the UK a shaded greenhouse works well.

  

For more information on garlic growing in Spain click here

 

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