Organic. Off Grid. Treading Lightly.

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There are only about 10 truly genetically distinct varieties of garlic. However, these varieties can grow differently and exhibit different characteristics depending on the location and environment where they are grown. And there are various names for all of the variations of the varieties! Many other people have explained this far better than we ever could, so if you are interested we recommend that you read:
- Phenotypic Characteristics of Ten Garlic Cultivars Grown at Different North American Locations (Volk & Stern) and
The Complete Book of Garlic: A guide for gardeners, growers, and serious cooks by Ted Jordan Meredith. This one you’ll have to buy, but it is well worth it if you are interested in a well-told tale of garlic, with history, practical facts, and pictures.

Earth Dharma Farm mostly grows hardneck varieties particularly suited to the US northeast, as well as two soft necks, Japanese (Sakura) and French Red:

Marbled Purple Stripes: More similar to porcelains than to purples stripes in case. Reasonably large bulbs and cloves, 4-7 cloves per bulb. Long storage period.

Porcelains: Largest bulbs of all the varieties. Lighter pinkish or brownish white paper, 4-6 very large white cloves, easy to peel, very hot. Shorter storage period.

Rocamboles: Medium to large bulbs, darker russet and white paper, 8-10 smaller brown or red cloves, harder to peel, aromatic and hot but with more depth of flavor. Medium storage period.

Purple Stripes: The "ancestors and antecedents of all other garlic cultivars" (from the Complete Book of Garlic). Smaller bulbs, purple striped paper (no kidding), 8-10 smaller cloves, harder to peel, good depth of flavor. Long storage period.
We know how important it is for garlic growers to plant disease-free stock.

We have grown our garlic from our own on-farm seed stock for seven years

Garlic seed stock was selected under consultation with the University of Maine and Cornell University Cooperative Extension services from farms under active garlic disease monitoring and testing programs. A few varieties were grown directly from bubils. We tested our seed stock before planting for bloat nematode, subjected all purchased garlic seed to a pre-plant hot water bath treatment, quarantined our original fields, and tested for disease post harvest.

In 2012 through 2016 and again in 2018 we sent samples of all of our garlic varieties for testing for garlic bloat nematode (
ditylenchus dipsaci) and examined for signs and symptoms of white rot (sclerotium cepivorum) and botrytis neck rot (botrytis porri) by the Maine Garlic Project / University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

We have tested negative for garlic bloat nematode and white rot every year of testing since 2012.

In 2016, a very small percentage of our field garlic displayed symptoms of botrytis and testing confirmed this diagnosis. Botrytis is an airborne disease of garlic, but can become soil persistent if left untreated. Botrytis does not affect the eating quality of harvested bulbs, but can weaken the health of growing garlic, especially in very wet years.

In 2016 and 2017 we stopped sales of seed garlic, reduced our inventory and sold only culinary garlic as we worked to reduce botrytis symptoms to zero. We lengthened our field rotation time for garlic and alliums from 3 years to 6 years, rogued out any plants with signs of botrytis, and added OMRI-listed
BotryStopTM to our organic IPM fungicide protocol. Symptoms almost completely disappeared in 2017 and in 2018 symptoms of botrytis were non-existent at the time of harvest.

In 2018, our garlic tested negative for bloat nematode, white rot, and botrytis. Download the 2018 letters (two letters for different varieties):
Letter 1, Letter 2

Although no testing program is a 100% guarantee of disease-free garlic, we believe our testing program and commitment to quality will give you extra peace of mind to help you grow the best, healthiest and most productive garlic possible.

Happy growing (and eating)!

Our garlic is certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ Association (MOFGA).
HERE for a copy of our 2018 organic certification.