Want to Start Garlic in Montana
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Pearl Peter
Posted on: May 30, 2005

We own 80 acres of partureland and have been wanting to grow garlic on about 3-5 acres of the land and commercially sell it. How and where do we get started and what type of garlic would be best for our area. We live in northwestern Montana.

You may not believe this but I have never written on garlic. It was one of those spices that all the big companies grew (McCormick, Basic, Rogers, Lo-Bac) by the 1,000-acre fields in Central California. I focused on those crops that no one grew, and had niche markets rather than be storable commodities.

I have had friends who grew it, of course, and they all said the same thing: "Grow Hand stalk Italian," as it has the most flavor. You might consider where you might want to market it, as that will also dictate some input on varieties. The higher-class restaurants like to have sliced chip garlic for the ornamental (visual) look on a plate. If you choose to go in that direction, I can (maybe) help you with slicers.

Montana is very good for Chamomile and Echinacea, both being habitat sensitive. They also grow a lot of mints in that region, to include Mentha citrata (Orange Mint) and Peppermint. What the world needs now is a certified organic Peppermint and Spearmint. You probably would need weeder geese, so then you are also into poultry.

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