Team Rasa
Resources for RCF's Seed Garlic Growers

Submitting Lab Samples


All Rasa Growers are to be familiar with common diseases and pests of garlic. Please familiarize yourself with potential problems by carefully studying our Diseases and Pests of Garlic page.

We take disease prevention seriously and require all our growers to submit samples to plant health laboratories annually.

Date to Submit

The idea is to receive test results prior to harvest date but not too soon since some diseases only develop later in the season. So, submissions should be prepared and mailed 3 to 4 weeks before expected harvest date. Usually this is around June 30th.

Sample Collection Guidelines
  • Send in whole plants including any dirt sticking to the bulb when you dig it out. No need to add extra dirt. Click here for detailed instructions on collecting samples.
  • Send in at least one bulb from each of your cultivars. You may send them in together and group them under one submission number but will then not receive individual results. If you want separate results you need to create separate submission forms for each. If you have more than 10 cultivars, submit them in groups of five.
  • Package just the bulb ends together in a plastic bag and seal with a rubber-band. This prevents the tops of the plants from making contact with the bulbs.
  • Bend the tops of the plants however you need to in order to fit the samples into a reasonably sized box.
Submission Form & Address

Download, fill in, and submit your samples through the partially filled in RCF Grower General Submission Form to the BC Plant Health Laboratory in Abbotsford. This form directs the lab to also send a copy of your test results to us. Of course, we will treat your results with utmost confidentiality.

Include a check for priority level "routine," (7-10 business days, $21) or "urgent" (up to 7 business days, $31.50). If you are submitting a sample from outside of BC the prices increase to $31.50 for routine and $47.25 for urgent (150% of BC rates).

Samples are submitted (or hand delivered) to the following address:
 
Plant Health Laboratory
BC Ministry of Agriculture
Abbotsford Agriculture Centre
1767 Angus Campbell Road
Abbotsford, BC V3G 2M3

Additional Links



Soil Tests


It's always a good idea to test your soil so that you know precisely what you're starting with and what amendments you need to consider. Below is just one lab to which you can submit soil samples for testing. Be sure to mention that you are growing garlic and they will make recommendations as to how best to amend for that crop.

Plant Science Lab
Terra-Link Plant Science Lab

Send sample to:

Plant Science Lab
464 Riverside Road
Abbotsford, BC V2S 7M1

Phone: 604-864-9044

Cost: $53.50 for basic, $70 for detailed test.


Sorting Tool


Consistently sized bulbs are important at Rasa Creek. To insure uniform sizing across all of our growers we've devised a simple sorting tool for everyone to use. Download a description, with instructions to make your own, here:  The RCF Sorting Tool.

Make sure you use the tool correctly:
  • If the bulb fits through the XL hole, but not through the L hole, then it's a Large. If it fits through the L hole, but not through the M hole, then it's a Medium. Etc.
  • Keep the bulb vertical (stem up) and do NOT try to force the bulb through if the bulb is scraping the sides of the hole. You could damage the bulb. Lightly touching is okay, but not if force is required.
We've made some adjustments to the sorting tool since 2016 and increased the hole sizes for M and L bulbs slightly to compensate for shrinkage. An unacceptable quantity of bulbs were undersized as we approached time to ship orders. Please use the larger sizes as outlined in the linked document above.


Correctly Processing Bulbs


Checklist:
  • Firm bulbs. No soft, dry, discolored, bruised, or exposed cloves.
  • Clean and free from mold, decay, damage, dirt, disease.
  • Roots trimmed to no less than 1/4" and to a maximum of 1/2".
  • Necks trimmed to no less than 1" and to a maximum of 1 1/2".
  • Stem cut should be clean, not ragged.
  • Remove all loose wrappers. Watch for dirt around basal plate.
  • Transport containers should be clean and washed free of dirt and debris.

 

HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE:

Clean bulb Clean bulb
Correctly prepared bulb.

Correctly prepared bulb.

Preparing umbels Preparing umbels
Top umbel with green scape and elastic
spathe not ready to be cut. Bottom umbel
with yellowing scape and crisp spathe
ready to be cut.
Correctly prepared umbel with scape cut
at 1/4 inch and desiccated sheath
removed.


HOW IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE:

Beard too long Neck too long
Beard too long. Should be 1/4 inch.

Neck too long. Should be 1 to 1.5 inch.

Damaged clove Damaged clove
Damaged or exposed cloves are
not acceptable.

Watch out for damage due to
harvesting tools.

Dirty bulb Broken wrappers
Dirty bulbs are not acceptable.
While some broken wrappers are
acceptable (left), exposed flesh is not (right).

  

Delivering Bulbs


We do not accept garlic delivered in onion sacks. You must pack your bulbs in bins. We cannot stack and handle bags as easily as bins. Either buy your own bins or call us to see if you can borrow some from us for delivery.

The best type of bins are 23" x 15" x 9" tulip bins. You can get them, for instance, from the Van Noort Bulb Company in Abbotsford, BC in October only. Call them at 604-850-1688 and reserve your bins at the price of $3.50 each. Must pick up—no shipping available.

Another less preferred but acceptable size (19" x 12" x 8") produce bin can be obtained from Growers Supply Co. with locations across BC.

Label each bin with a tag that clearly states:
  • Your farm name or three-letter acronym assigned to you by us. For example, Rasa Creek Farm is "RCF."
  • Full cultivar name or three-letter acronym assigned to cultivars by us. For example, Creme de la Rasa is "CRM." Acronyms can be obtained from your sales tracker provided by us.
  • The size of the bulbs in the bin. For example, extra large bulbs are labeled "XL." The possible sizes are XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS.
For bonus points color-code your cultivars by attaching a ribbon of the same color to all bins containing a particular cultivar regardless of size.

NOTE: The number of bulbs per bin are not needed by us. We only need the total number of bulbs per cultivar that you're delivering to us. We then use an online spreadsheet to which you'll have access to to keep track of your inventory.

 
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE:

Clean bulb Clean bulb
19" x 12" x 8" produce bins stacked on
a trailer with tarp as protection

Simple but sufficient labeling:
FARM, CULTIVAR, SIZE + colored
ribbon for all bins of that cultivar

Preparing umbels Preparing umbels
23" x 15" x 9" tulip bins with perfect
labeling and color coding
Close-up of the labels and ribbon colors.
Note: quantity per bin not required.


HOW IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE:

Beard too long Neck too long
These onion sacks do not stack well and
are hard to handle.

Labels do not conform to three-letter
acronyms. Farm name is missing.

Damaged clove
This system is almost acceptable. But
while "Tibetan" is a cultivar name, "Rasa"
is not. Should have been either
labeled "Creme de la Rasa" or "CRM."



 

RCF Timeline


As per signed agreement.
Apr 21st—Crop Report: Report of spring emergence with estimated percentage crop loss (if any) and rough count of each variety.

Jun 15th—Harvest Estimate: Revised rough count of how many plants of each variety will be harvested. Pre-harvest sales begin in early July and RCF will only rely on 50% of the estimated harvest for this purpose.

Jun 30th—Lab Testing: All growers should send random samples to a qualified lab for testing. Bulb & Stem Nematode and White Rot are the two primary diseases of concern. RCF has posted the procedure for submitting samples on this page (see above).

Aug 28th—Harvest & Sort: As soon as possible after harvest, a rough count of each variety broken down into sizes according to RCF sizing protocols. There are very quick methods for rough sizing during harvest that RCF staff will train growers in using.
 
Aug 15th—Final Count: RCF online shopping cart opens in mid-August and we need as accurate a count as possible in order to populate the inventory levels of our shopping cart items.
 
Aug 30th—Delivery: As per agreed upon protocols, all garlic to be delivered to facility at Your Local Farmacy in Lumby by this date.
 
Sep 30th—1st Payment & Inventory Assessment: RCF will make a first payment to growers on September 30th unless otherwise agreed upon. This is also the time to check in with us about the best use, sales through us or otherwise, of your remaining inventory. Note: traditionally, our sales have continued strongly during October as Canadians plant garlic until early November and other seed suppliers run out of stock.
  
Oct 30th—2nd Payment: This will likely be the final payment of the year and we will again review and discuss options if any stock remains in inventory.

Supplies & Equipment


We'll soon add information here about:
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Hand Tools
  • Undercutters (design)
  • Dimplers
In the meanwhile you can call us or contact us by email to ask about these items.