We live in North East Victoria on 100 acres surrounded by the Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park in Beechworth. The local township of Beechworth is akin to taking a walk back through time with its beautiful buildings and landscape. Many people come to the area to fossick and for its rich history surrounding Ned Kelly. The days are sunny and the evenings cool. We get quite severe frosts during winter but sitting in the valley, we’re also protected from a lot of the harsher weather. We live off the grid and rely on solar power and spring fed dams and tank water to live comfortably. We’re woken by birdsong and live in one of the most magical places on earth as the ground is still streaked with gold, diamonds and gemstones if you have the patience to look.
With earth like this we knew that we wanted to grow something. Nothing had been grown on this land for at least 25 years before we arrived in 2010 so we knew it was not only pure and free of toxins but also rich in minerals. We first started growing Australian Purple garlic back in 2011 with a small patch of purple turbans. They grew well in our climate and soil, but we wanted to research our product and various farming techniques before taking it to a grander scale.
We joined the Australian Garlic Industry Association and started attending their annual seminars. We listened to many amazing people already successful in the industry who were so generous with their time and passion to make sure we would have all the information we would need to be as successful as possible. The seminars brought a wealth of information with amazing speakers such as Graham Sait from Nutri-Tech Solutions who informed everyone about the benefits of nutritional farming which focuses on creating healthy soil for healthy plants.
We made great contacts with reputable people to buy seed from and continued to ask questions as we organised organic chicken manure to be brought in and set up a solar pump to start pumping from the dam that is fed from the underground spring
The paddock is ripped and fed the rich nutrient filled fertilizer before creating 50 beds of luscious soil waiting to be seeded.
As the time grew closer we started planting our precious cloves. Readying them included the task of separating all the bags of bulbs into cloves which was done manually with cracking machine fabricated from a steel frame and tyres. Next year we’ll use a motorised version!
We then roped all the children in to help with grading the cloves to get the biggest and best and handing them out to our seasonal help for planting. First we planted 2.5 rows of the hard neck Turban Beechworth Purple and a few weeks later 47.5 rows of soft neck variety artichoke Beechworth White.
The family that works together, end up having great conversations.
Then waiting. Waiting for those first sprouts to appear.
And they do.
Next in goes the irrigation. Using an overhead irrigation system to replicate the motion of rain drops for an even spread the sprinklers are set up.
We decided we needed help with the weeding, so we started with Rita and then came the goslings and more.
Then we keep weeding, watering, watching and waiting.
And finally, the Beechworth Purple are ready to come out. And we couldn’t be happier. There’s a lot. They’ve done really well. When we peel back the outer layer to expose their rich colour, they’re stunning! So, we keep watching and waiting, spending time with and taking in the beauty of the Beechworth White.
We also became the Australian Dealer For Garmach Machinery www.garmach.com.au