Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Does It Cost to Grow A Row of Organic Garlic

It is hard to get cost numbers for different vegetable growing methodologies. We are planting garlic right now so I thought I would "run the numbers" and see how it would come out.

We use a very intensive planting methodology so this maybe way different than what someone else does. We will call this the Vegetable Freak method. We use an organic granulated fertilizer called Sustaine.

First we till the area to be planted with a walk behind tiller. Then we mark the row to be planted with a 4 inch wide strip of Sustaine fertilizer (8-4-2) right on top of the ground. We use one 50 lb bag per 100 feet of row. (This is a low analysis organic fertilizer that breaks down very slowly. You would never use this much synthetic fertilizer in this small and area.) So it takes five bags for a 500 foot row.

Then we go over the top of this with a 12 inch wide and 4 inch deep strip of very well broken down and mature compost. (The compost plays many roles. It is a weed barrier, it is germination enhancer, it protects the cloves from winter cold and frost heaving, it attracts earth worms like crazy, the worms love to hang out in the roots of the garlic, it provide compost tea every time it rains and it enriches our soils for the following year's crops. This compost is valued at approximately $25 per ton and it takes five tons to do a 500 foot row.

The cost analysis follows...

The cost for a 500 foot row of garlic.

Planting costs:
  Land Costs                                                         $  80
  Labor to Till & Plant & Weed                            $200
  Fertilizer                                                            $150
  Compost                                                             $175
  Seed Garlic (25 lbs @ $12/lb)                            $600
                    Total Planting Costs                        $1205

 Cost for Harvesting, Cleaning & Marketing      $ 660

                   Total Costs for a 500 foot row          $1865

Seems like a lot doesn't it.

It costs quite a bit more to plant a 500 foot row of garlic than it does an acre of soybeans or corn. A 500 foot row is about 1/20 of an acre.

So the next time your farmer explains the cost of a pound of garlic you will understand why.

Our garlic is lovingly hand crafted to bring you the best possible product and to build and preserve the soil and soil life it is grown in. Could you do it cheaper (yes), but you can't do it any better.

We are all about the "why" of growing garlic. Our garlic is super charged with flavor, nutrition and health benefits. If you understand "why" you do something, then that will guide the approach you use and the outcome you get.


On the other hand store bought, non-organic, garlic is machine planted and harvested. It is chemically fertilized, sprayed for pests, and chemically weeded. Their cultural practices kill the life in the soil and pollute the ground water. They grow it in large thousand acre mono-culture plots near Gilroy, California. It is a very different and inferior product to what we grow. It deserves it's low price. You get what you pay for. I bought some of this Garlic at one of the big box stores several years ago, it "looked nice" and I thought I would plant some as an experiment. It wouldn't even grow. I read the fine print on the label and it said it had be irradiated. They killed it with nuclear radiation! IS THAT REALLY GARLIC YOU WANT TO EAT. If it won't grow, what is it going to do in your body? Garlic is one of the most healthy foods on the planet...but not that garlic.

Vote with your fork!

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