Project/Garlic planting plan

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Project ID: 60

Project steward

Shannon Cowan


A Garlic 2008 pilot project planting plan, management plan and financial plan."


EcoReality residents would like to plant a pilot plantation of garlic in NE field where old dairy barn was located.

Goal or deliverable

  1. NE Field is ploughed and beds or rows created.
  2. Seed garlic is purchased, other input(s) are purchased after agreement is reached on numbers, design and budget.
  3. Planting occurs before mid October 2008.
  4. Harvest occurs end July early Aug 2009.
  5. Project assessment is made by EcoReality in August 2009.
  6. Plantation expanded with more ploughing and soil preparation and planting for new round of project in 2009.

Timeline, schedule, or end date

Beginning September and ending August 2009.

- seed garlic potentials at prices of $1.60/bulb (Seven Ravens), $2/bulb (Duck Creek) and 3$/bulb (Salt Spring Seeds) were obtained. Many varieties avail from the SSS source, others are Red Korean and possibly one or two others, hardneck or softnecks.

Laura Matthias donated Czech garlic (13 lbs and 18 lbs, totalling 41 lbs) to EcoReality to grow in exchange for some of the harvest for eating next fall.

Rudy's friend donated Chinese, Korean and Spanish blend (about 8lbs?). Shannon tried to identify the different types and labelled in field an "A" and "B" type. "A" = large, irregular, twisty type of clove and larger overall bulb. "B" = small, harder, red-skinned and very regular shaped cloves, small dense bulb.


  1. September 19 teleconference - approve bed construction plan, planting density and design
  2. September 12 research for input pricingShan 13:19, 12 September 2008 (PDT)
  3. September 10 teleconference - agree on financing, either EcoReality or personal member financing and management
  4. Septemeber 3 residents meeting - agree on management plan and member roles
  5. April 2009 - agree on value added and/or raw product marketing plan for August/Sept 2009
  6. September 11 - arrange for area to be ploughed - borrow Gavin's plough DONE Shan 13:19, 12 September 2008 (PDT)
  7. October 3-10 - Purchase seed garlic/obtain from Laura, purchase straw or hay mulch - Duck Creek or another source on island? Or EcoReality hay?
  8. September 26 - do soil shake tests from Soil test plan
  9. October 3-10 - preferred - plough after soil is moistened by some rain
  10. October - by 31 - plant- 3 S-facing topmost rows on the field planted by Nov 15, 2008. Blend of Czech (from Laura), Korean, Spanish and Chinese garlics. Also, elephant garlic (not a true garlic, but type of leek) planted into fenced garden beds.
  11. Immediately after planting - mulch
  12. October 2008 to August 2009 - manage
  13. July and August 2009 - harvest, process and store

Harvest and Storage Plan

  1. July 12/13 Begin harvest of those plants that are 50%-75% brown leaves
  2. Using twine, bind into bunches of 6-8 bulbs at each end of a 2 ft length and hang over hooks on crossbar pieces of wood mounted under woodshed tarped area
  3. Dry 3-5 days
  4. Set up a system of grading: small, medium and large and if possible keep the Czech separate from the Korean/Chinese/Spanish mixture (red from white?)
  5. weigh each pile. Record weights in white house logbook.
  6. Take the pile of large and remove excess dirt and dry flaky leaves, store in boxes with burlap or newsprint in the garage- this is for replanting in fall (and some of the medium pile: aim for replanting about 100lbs, depends on total weight grown and number of large-medium bulbs.
  7. Take the medium pile, remove excess dirt and dry flaky leaves, store and label in boxes with burlap or newsprint
  8. Small pile is for EcoReality to eat this winter. Store as above.
  9. Provide about 6-8 lbs to Laura in return for her seed last fall.
  10. Determine if any is saleable (medium pile?), set price, sell either direct to others, to restaurants or, third choice: at Tuesday market.

Financial budget

Sample Calculations 1 Expenses

Ground cover seed (Bird's foot trefoil) $30 —Jan Steinman 12:20, 26 November 2008 (PST)

Seed garlic $1/6/bulb X 1000 = $1600 (EcoReality received donations this year. EcoReality agreed to provide approx 30 bulbs after harvest to Laura Matthias in exchange)

Plough rental 0$ (labour exchange)

Straw mulch (or hay $25/50 ft bed at depth 1 ft)=$50 to $75 (EcoReality gleaned hay from property for mulching - cost of intern labour only)

TOTAL EXPENSES = $1650 ($30 hard costs, plus labour for bed prep, planting, mulching)

500 bulbs TOTAL EXPENSES = $850

Please read following as a series of 8 different levels at which we could plant with corresponding shifts in some parameters. It is meant for spreadsheet viewing. Spreadsheet can be emailed for ease.

Number of plants 9000 9000 3500 3500 1750 1400 700 525

Number of bulbs to buy 1000 1000 500 500 250 200 100 75

Potential # plants/bed ft 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12

Potential #plants that could fit 9000 9000 4500 4500 2700 1800 900 900

Proposed planting density (per bed ft) 9 9 9 9 8 9 9 7

Marketable yield (shan's guess) 7000 7000 3000 3000 1600 1200 500 400

Income 13690 13690 5690 5690 2890 2090 690 490

Income-Expenses 12048 13690 4848 5690 2448 1728 488 328

sq footage of planting area 5445 5445 5445 5445 5445 5445 5445 5445

Bed length (ft) 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50

Bed # 10 10 5 5 3 2 1 1

Plant Area Dimension (ft) 50 x 50 50 x 50 50 X 15 50 X 15 50 X 9 50 X 6 50 X 1.5 50 X 1.5

Income Assumptions: EcoReality needs are 120 bulbs for members consumption, 500 bulbs to expand plantation marketable to public at $2/bulb is only remainder of yield beyond EcoReality needs

Labor budget

These numbers seem way low. Can you let us know how they came about? For example, I can't believe "research and administration" will nearly equal all the field work, for example. --Jan Steinman 16:54, 12 September 2008 (PDT)
I've adjusted now below with more thought and actual calculations, as indicated by text after.Shan 22:25, 12 September 2008 (PDT)
  • plough and tractor operator - 4 hours
  • bed/row construction after ploughing to create swales - 4 hours
  • seed prep, planting, mulching, weeding, irrigation and maintenance - 24 hours

- this based on labour time spent on one 50 foot bed of mulched potatoes at Duck Creek this summer which was; 14 minutes Preparing seed; 33 minutes Planting; 8 minutes Weeding; 51 minutes Harvesting; Total time for one bed of 50 ft, mulched similar to garlic was 106 mins so 3 beds would be 318 mins = 7 hrs, 12 mins Then, I added another 6 hours weeding time because the garlic is in the ground so much longer and during spring weed flush I added another 2 hours for seed prep because rather than cutting up potatoes, this requires cracking garlic bulbs and sorting out any with damaged clove casings, then storing in dry, cool location until planting. I added another 10 hours for storing and prepping for commercial sale, like braiding.

  • research and administration - 20 hours until July 09, then another 20 hours?

Based on almost 5 hours time spent to date on this for upfront research and planning. I think that at most, 15 more hours of research and admin will be done on a needs basis to address any issues during growing, but from what others have told me, the garlic they planted last year was left without a single weed pull or disease or pest management bit of research or action taken over nearly 12 months (Mitchell, whose daughter babysat for me today).

  • marketing - 40 hours - this to include either time spent driving to market, making signage, making farmstand, counting/dealing with money.

Cash Outlay


Labour, by person

2Jan Steinman20.0100.0%

Labour, by activity


Vehicle Use

"Vehicles" with no odometer, such as tractors or stationary equipment, are in tenths of an hour, rather than kilometres.





will get 1 extra bulbs per 10 if through Duck Creek plough loan is for labour in return to Gavin mulch- hay on farm, or local source or Duncan. Duck creek got local barley hay for potato mulch from a neighbour for 14$ for a 50 foot bed (1 foot deep mulch) 4000 plants, 1/8 acre, based on planting a max of 1/6 of the NE field Based on values in production guide, can plant 12 plants per bed foot (seems tight) and yield 900 plants per 50 Ft Bed (3 rows) Beds will be oriented North-South running perpendicular to slope in the SE EcoReality field. This field measures 130 paces ~ 150 ft long N-S.

Nov 3 and 4, 2008: planted 3rd row in N field first (Czech only)

Nov 7-9, 2008: planted chinese, Korean and Spanish blend labelled as Type A or B in the second row

by Nov 15: first row also planted to Czech

on Dec 4: East quarter of row #3 was planted to Czech (and labelled, by Scott)

on Dec 4: 7 lbs remaining of Czech garlic means 36 lbs planted total of that variety.

At 6 to 10 plants per bed foot and 100 to 150 feet per bed = approx 1800 to 4500 are planted (quite a range). We'll do some counting once they are up in spring! Shan 21:56, 4 December 2008 (PST)

Final accounting

No cash outlay for inputs on this project except $30 cover crop seed (reimbursed to Jan from Co-Op as per Minutes:20081129


  • plough and tractor operator - 6 h (Jan and Scott and Shannon, including false starts)
  • bed/row construction after ploughing to create swales - 7 h -Shan 21:56, 4 December 2008 (PST)
  • seed prep, planting, mulching, weeding, irrigation and maintenance - 10 h -Shan 21:56, 4 December 2008 (PST)

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