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Sustainably grown garlic
Date:11/3/2009

rse garlic cultivars ('Ajo Rojo', 'Chesnok', 'German White', 'Inchelium', 'Purple Glazer', 'Red Janice', 'Sakura', 'Siberian', 'Silverwhite', and 'Spanish Roja') were grown at 12 locations in the United States and Canada for the study. One cultivar representing each of the 10 garlic types was selected to best capture the genetic diversity available within Allium sativum.

In 2005, garlic bulbs obtained from producers in Washington were distributed to 10 garlic growers who practiced sustainable production methods with minimal or no chemical inputs. Small-scale garlic farmers were provided with planting stocks from the same original sources and were asked to grow them on their farms for two consecutive years using their best practices.

At each location, 16 cloves per cultivar were planted in each of three replicate plots. Bulbs were harvested when the lower one-third to one-half of the leaves on the plants had dried. Six to eight bulbs of each cultivar grown in each plot were sent to Fort Collins for data collection and analysis. In Fall 2006, bulbs produced at each farm were replanted and grown for a second season at the same farm (except for a change in the Colorado farm and the addition of a farm in Ontario, Canada). Quality of planting stock, bulb characteristics, bulb wrapper color, bulb yield, clove characteristics and bulb elemental composition were analyzed. Growers also provided feedback for the study using digital documentation, surveys, planting notes, and harvest notes.

Among the significant findings: bulb wrapper color and bulb size were determined to be "highly dependent" on location and cultivar. "It was not surprising to find that bulb size and circumference were highly site-dependent and correlated. Bulb wrapper color is also highly site-specific, supporting evidence reported by marketers that bulb color is more determined by growth environment than cultivar types", Volk stated.

The research offers promise for
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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