Welcome to the GroEat Farm newsletter ! Our hope is to keep you up -to date with what has been happening on our Montana garlic farm.
Our 2021 Garlic is Available for Purchase. We will begin shipping in September 2021.
This year, 2021, we danced, listened to audio books and laughed as we harvested approximately 10,000 garlic plants by hand. Wait a minute! Harvest was by foot (to dig) and hand (to pull). We used garden forks, and a sweet, brand new! custom broad fork (welded by Jere) to complete the garlic-harvest task. Last fall, right around Halloween, our seed garlic was planted in raised beds (our beds are linear-hilled rows made by pulling a hand-made "soil carver" behind our tiller).
Please contact me if you have questions, or would like a custom order. I'm here to help! Let's make your garlic thrive!
This spring we integrated organic, liquid worm casting fluid into our garlic fields. Liquid Worm Castings are a 100% All Natural Ingredient and are designed for true natural gardening. We used an Organic Liquid Concentrate which had the potential of boosting and providing long-term nourishment to our garlic plants and soil. The liquid is pure, premium worm castings. Worm castings help garlic plants and soil be at their best conditions. We use it as a soil conditioner for improving soil structure (water retention will improve).
Garlic growers have known for years that adding compost and manure to their soil results in better garlic plants. The decomposing organic materials mixed into the soil creates an atmosphere that worms are extremely attracted to. Drawing additional worms to your garden increases aeration of soil, and at the same time, the smorgasbord of decaying matter is devoured and deposited in the form of worm castings.
Custom Broad Fork
My grandfather, Tony, owned a cranberry farm in northern Wisconsin. Tony was an inventor and loved welding scraps of metal together to create beautiful and effective tools that would simplify the planting, weeding and harvest of his valued cranberry crop.
Gently stepping into his big boots, I created a very simple (custom) broad fork for less than $50. And, it was really useful in harvesting our garlic this year. Here's what I did. I purchased two garden forks for about $21 each and one steel (concrete / cement) rebar pin for $3.98. Simply, I welded the steel rebar pin to each fork to bridge the two forks, creating one, extra-wide broad fork. The two handles of the new fork facilitate the soil and bed-raising task. The steel rebar pin also acts as a positive foot hold for our boots! I also sharpened each of the fork's blades so the tines would pierce the soil with ease. Here are a few photos I'd like to share.
Seed Garlic vs Culinary Garlic
Culinary garlic is typically comprised of the prettier, smaller bulbs of the season. Seed garlic is the selected, larger bulbs of the harvest. Seed garlic can be used in the kitchen and culinary garlic can be planted.
Growers of garlic typically plant the larger garlic, as the larger seeds (cloves) can produce even larger bulbs in the next harvest.
Some growers allow their "seed garlic" to grow for a couple more weeks longer than garlic that will be sold as food. The reason for this is to allow for as much growth of the cloves as possible, as larger seeds (cloves) can produce larger bulbs in the next harvest. Because the garlic will be placed back into the soil, degradation of the garlic's paper-thin wrappers are accepted as a consequence. The resulting bulbs are often larger. This later harvest is not necessary bad for the garlic as seed, and, keeping the bulbs in the ground longer result in larger seed which is desirable for planting!