It has come to our attention that many of our wonderful visitors to the farm have been wandering out into the fields and have perhaps found themselves feeling a little perplexed, scratching theirs heads and saying "so where is all the garlic? Surely there is not enough in this small display of trial beds to supply the farm for a month let alone a year?" True! These are only our trial beds. We grow our main crop in a different location each year and also work closely with our partner farms in the UK, France and Spain.
Garlic, like many other arable crops, requires regular rotation to ensure the soil has time to recover and that virus and disease do not start to develop and become latent in the ground and infect future garlic crops. In fact, it is recommended that one should not plant garlic in the same spot for at least seven years. This year we are growing around 25 acres of garlic but some years as much as 50 acres. In this way you can see that some years we are not able to plant much if any of the crop in the near vicinity of the farm. Last year some of you may have discovered a small portion of the crop by walking down to the lake about 10 minutes from the farm. 2 years ago we had a considerable portion of the crop just two fields from the farm shop. It may now be a few years until we can have any considerable portion of the crop within walking distance. It is for this reason that we have planted our garlic trial beds close to the farm shop, showcasing 18 varieties of garlic from across the globe, many of which we are trialling for the first time in the hope of discovering new varieties that fair well in our Isle of Wight climate for inclusion in next years crop. Even these trial beds you can see are relocated to a different spot in the adjacent field year on year in an attempt to avoid the onset of diseases common to Allium crops. Basal Rot, White Rot, Downy Mildew and Nematodes are a few of the most common and growers of onions and leeks maybe famailiar with a few of these.
So this year our main crop is growing a bit further down the Arreton Valley. Follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates on the garlic crop as the season progresses.