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Production calendar

November to March: rest and transformation

Winter is a time for rest, to plan the next season, repair equipment and finalize accounting. In other words, to do all that the fast-paced summer did not allow us to complete. It’s also when we concoct our recipes, try them out, and offer processed products.

April: nice green sprouts are reaching out of the mulch

By the end of March, we can see the first sprouts emerge from the most sun-exposed sites, where the soil dries faster and temperatures are higher.

May: leaves are slowly developing

In May, we start to delicately manipulate the soil to avoid weeds. This first soil manipulation allows the sun and air to warm the root system of the plants.

Mulch is useful to control weeds. It can also prevent heat from entering the soil and keep soil humidity from becoming too high, provoking fungus and rot—enemies of garlic.

We remove some mulch if the soil is too dense to speed up the heating of the ground and avoid the young sprouts hitting their heads on a mass of leaves or straw.

June: Garlic scapes harvest

At the beginning of June, we keep a watchful eye for pests, such as small insects that eat leaves and lay their eggs in the garlic. Ringworms do not dramatically affect garlic, but can destroy a part of the garlic scape harvest.

We manually control the leaves and apply one or two sprays of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a bacteria that kills insects once ingested. This product is authorized by organic certification and does not have any harmful impact on animals of humans.

In mid-June, we watch the scapes do their first somersaults. When scapes have done a complete turn, they can be harvested. If we wait too long the stem will harden and become more fibrous. Generally, where garlic sprouts first, that’s where scapes can first be harvested.

It’s always a good idea to keep some garlic scapes in the soil until the end of the summer. This gives us nice colors in the field and allows us to renew our genetic material by planting new seeds.

In June, we also harvest green garlic before the stem and leaves get too rigid and hard. This garlic is sold uncured. The stem can be chopped and eaten like green onions.

July: garlic harvest

Early July, we monitor the development of diseases and fungi. Plants infested or that appear to be sick are removed from the field to avoid contamination. We must manipulate these plants efficiently to avoid the spread of infection elsewhere in the field. Products authorized by the organic certification allow us to colonize garlic leaves with friendly fungi that will prevent pathogen fungi to develop. This is a work-intensive period where weeds and humidity must be controlled.

At the end of July we begin to harvest by hand-pulling the mature plants, cleaning the dirt off of the bulb and placing the plants to dry out of direct sunlight.

The most beautiful bulbs are kept for planting in the fall. We look for large bulbs with a generally nice appearance, without defect or miscolouration and with four to six cloves per bulb.

August to September: site preparation with green manure and weed control.

After harvest, we generally introduce green manure—or a cereal crop with a leguminous plant to enrich the soil similar to animal manure. This has the double advantage of controlling weeds and fertilizing soil by providing a good quantity of organic material.

Sites used for garlic production will not be used again for another two years. During this time, we will grow other crops or let it grow fallow with a meadow of leguminous plants and clovers to help control weeds.

October: garlic cloves plantation

In October, we prepare the new site that will be used for production. This site will be divided in plots and access paths. We can also put mulch in paths and mark the micro sites where each individual clove will be buried below two to three inches of soil. The marking facilitates the plantation by avoiding the eternal question: “where am I now?”

Once the site is prepared, we separate the bulbs that we kept for plantation. This task must be delicately done to avoid damaging the cloves with our nails. Only the nicer cloves of the nicer bulbs are planted. The other ones will end in purée!

Ail, fleurs d'ail