Protected Geographical indication. Purple garlic from Las Pedroñeras.

Protected Geographical indication. Purple garlic from Las Pedroñeras.

IGP Purple garlic from Las Pedroñeras | Spanishes IGP Purple garlic from Las Pedroñeras | Englishen

Purple Garlic from Las Pedroñeras Agricultural practice

Soil preparation

Because of its resistance and its low root depth, garlic growing does not need an extensive soil preparation. Generally, garlic growing grows in crops rotation after a cereal fallow period (wheat or barley), or after a sunflower fallow period -although the latter is not advisable. The typical rotation in Cuenca is: cereal - sunflower- cereal - garlic.

Therefore, the first step of the farming consists in preparing fallow land. This work can be hard if we want it to accumulate autumnal water. It is necessary to prepare a good drainage (if it is a very clayey soil), and also ventilation is important to get a great microbial wealth and therefore, a higher number of nutritive soluble elements.

After deep ploughing, the soil is refined with two tasks. The first one is to scarify the soil with cultivators or a "dragged teeth". The second task is carried out to bury the basal dressing and to mark rows for planting. Both works are carried out at the same time. In case of use of plant protection products and / or pre-emergence herbicides, they will be used at the same time as the second task..

The "pintado" of the surface of the ground consists in marking rows for planting so that they are clear enough to plant by hand. The tillage equipment used has no special features. It is often made by the farmer, modifying a conventional frame with some plowshares placed at an appropriate distance..

Seed preparation

The "Purple Garlic from Las Pedroñeras" is a vegetatively propagated variety by seeding the cloves. The propagation by seeds does not exist with the exception of genetic improvement researches, as indicated above.

The seed is separated before planting. It consists in separating cloves from the head of the garlic a few hours before planting, taking care that the cloves are not damaged. It is convenient to use fungicides in order to prevent damages caused by fungi -which attack the garlic in its early stages because of spores in the cloves or because they may be on the ground.

Bulb planting

The farmer usually uses the term "to seed" for this work, but technically, the garlic is not seeded, it is planted, because what they use is a vegetative material (cloves) and not seeds. As indicated, to prevent attacks by pest and diseases, garlic must never be re-planted in the same ground as the previous year..

The moment to carry out this labour depends on the climatic conditions. It is important to avoid rainfall periods. In Spain, winters are very cold and dry, so the planting is carried out from the beginning of December to mid-January. The perfect moment to start to plant is when the soil is well prepared, the rows are well marked for planting and the seed is hulled. The spacing will depend on the tillage equipment used.

The most used frame of plantation in the "Purple Garlic from Las Pedroñeras" production area, is from 0.45 to 0.5 meters of separation between rows, and from 0.10 to 0.15 meters of separations between plants within the same row. That involves around 200.000 plants per hectare.

They are planted at an average depth of 4 cm. in clay soils and at 6 cm. in sandy soils. For a perfect garlic growing development, the clove must be planted with the germ (part with peak shape) upwards, because if it is planted downwards, the stalk will have to turn in order to follow its natural geotropism, using part of its energy reserve and risking to loose grip to the ground. Doing this job properly facilitates the work of removing the scapes. If the plant is not well gripped to the ground, it could be uprooted.

By this way, although hand planting is very hard work, it ensures a cultivation in perfect initial conditions. It is necessary around 60-80 hours per hectare when the plantation is done by hand. But as in other crops, mechanization is gradually being introduced. The advantage is that machines reduce costs and effort significantly. The disadvantage is that the cloves fall off on the ground by gravity, being deposited in any position.

After having planted, it is necessary to cover the cloves with soil, in order to prevent damages that can be caused by heat, cold, animals, birds etc. This is made by a plowshare machine or by an in-line seed drill. When sowing is entirely mechanical, this work is not necessary, because machines already have those tools incorporated. After planting, the soil can be rolled to ensure compaction. This improves sprouting, because the more contact the clove has with the soil, the better it will get the necessary humidity to germinate. It is advisable to roll the soil with a cogged roller, because a smooth one could lay the bulb down, reducing the germinative development.

Labours during growing cycle:

watering Watering: Most of the crop of "Purple Garlic from las Pedroñeras" is irrigated; there are only a few rain-fed crops. A contribution of 2000 m3 /Ha plus the average rainfalls in this area (around 400 mm) is enough. Logically, the number of watering and the quantity of water in every watering depend on the specific ecological conditions, but it must never exceed 3000 m3/Ha. In our growing area, in most of the crops sprinkle irrigation is used. The water comes from groundwater wells, rivers or ponds near the crops.

FertilizationFertilization:In general, and per hectare, the fertilization recommended (it depends on soil types) is: 50 units of Nitrogen fertilizer, 110 fertilizer units of P2O5 and 165 fertilizer units of K2O as basal dressing; and 65 fertilizer units of Nitrogen as a top dressing applied before 30th March. Sulphur is also important because it takes part in the content of allium sulphur, related to the organoleptic properties. That is why it is also advised to use fertilizers with sulfates containing several macronutrients.

Weed controlWeed control. Hoeing:weed control is conditioned by the planting pattern. If it is narrow, weed should be removed manually. Usually weed is removed by a cultivator between rows, combining it with a possible application of selective herbicides.

Removing flower stalksRemoving flower stalks: The flower stalk is removed by cultivators which prevent the decrease of reserve substances which are accumulated in the bulb. This way, its ripening is accelerated in order to carry out the harvesting from seven to ten days later. Any irrigation after having removed flower stalks will be detrimental, because the stalk is hollow and the water entry would damage the bulb.