Garlic is a great low-maintenance cash crop. Brian Fox planted 35 pounds of garlic in his garden 11 years ago. He now plants 700 pounds every October using 15 tons of hay mulch at Salem Mountain Farms in northeastern Pennsylvania. He harvests about 4,000 pounds the next summer. “I can’t imagine stopping,” he said. “It’s certainly a satisfying thing to grow. It’s one of those things we see in the spring before actual leaves start growing on trees.”
He is not super busy when garlic needs attention. He hand-pulls it after his busy planting season in June and early July.
“It’s a natural fit with the things we do on the farm,” he said. “We isolate it from everything else.”
Fox started with a mentor and has since been able to pass along his knowledge. He presented a workshop to more than 40 farmers entitled “Growing Great Garlic: Three Years to a Low-Maintenance Cash Crop” at a Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) field day.
“Eight or 10 were people I knew who just wanted to see how I did things,” he said. “Others were looking for something to grow or had been growing garlic on a small scale.”