SAVOR THE SEASON: One crop shop
Conway turns garden into small garlic farm in Wilmington
WILMINGTON — Click on the online map on the Adirondack Harvest website, and you’ll find a new farm off the Springfield Road — a garlic farm.
“Semi-retired” and looking for a way to make some extra money, Wilmington town board member and longtime resident Rarilee Conway decided to start her own farm with only one crop — garlic.
“I’ve been gardening my whole life, and I’ve always grown garlic for myself,” she said.
Conway decided that expanding the size of her crop and selling it would be a good way to spend her extra time.
“The reason I chose garlic is because it doesn’t have a lot of natural predators or bugs,” she said, “and it really only requires your attention three times a year.”
The process of growing garlic is relatively easy. In October, the cloves get planted. Then around June the scapes need to be cut. A garlic scape is what grows out of the garlic during the spring. It’s a kind of curly-q that would eventually become a flower.
“You want to cut those at a certain point so that all the energy goes into the bulb and not into the flower,” Conway said. “So, those are edible. … They are quite, you know, in demand, and they are only available for a short period of time.”
Conway plans to have the garlic scapes as a product.
After the scapes are cut, the garlic is ready to harvest around July. It then needs to dry for a couple of weeks.
“It doesn’t require a lot of fertilization, doesn’t really require a lot of watering. It’s a relatively low intense crop,” she said.
Conway currently has 4,000 cloves in the ground. These cloves will turn into bulbs, and once harvested, every bulb will have between four and six cloves each. Conway hopes to sell around 3,000 of the harvested bulbs, keeping the rest to replant. She is expecting to have them ready for sale by August or September.
Conway doesn’t plan to expand much more and wants to keep it where she is able to manage it by herself. She hopes to have about 5,000 bulbs for next year’s crop.