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 collect samples just before the harvest date but not too soon since some diseases only develop and become symptomatic and thus more easily detectable later in the season. Usually this is the third week of July.
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 soil 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
For members of the Rasa Grower Team, please download, fill in, and submit your samples through the partially filled in RCF Grower General Submission Form (link provided below under "Additional Links") 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. For those who are not member of the Rasa Grower Team, please use the General Submission Form (link also provided below.)
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
Soil tests are not mandatory but advisable to optimize your crop yield.
Element (formerly "Exova")
Element provides a well rounded report that includes recommendations for how to amend your soil for optimal results given the crop you're planning to grow. Download the following files to learn how to collect and submit samples.
Use zip-lock bags to collect samples, and be sure to label them in accord with what you've written on the submission form.
Although Exova has an office in Surrey, all soil tests are performed at their Edmonton location. So, for quicker results ship samples directly to Edmonton, to the following address:
7217 Roper Road
Edmonton, AB T6B 3J4
Terra-Link Plant Science Lab
Cost: $53.50 for basic, $70 for detailed test
Provides a generic soil test which is not crop specific.
Send sample to:
Plant Science Lab
464 Riverside Road
Abbotsford, BC V2S 7M1
Consistently sized bulbs are important at Rasa Creek. To insure uniform sizing across all of our growers we've devised two simple sorting tools for everyone to use. Download a description, with instructions to make your own, here: The RCF Sorting Tool. There are two versions of the tool: one to use at harvest time with slightly larger holes to allow for bulb shrinkage happening during curing, and one with nominal size holes to be used after cleaning and at delivery.
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.
A quick way to check if your bulbs have been sized correctly is as follows:
Take a random sorted bin with an exact count of bulbs.
Weigh it and subtract the bin's weight.
Divide the bulb count by the weight (in lb) of the bin's contents. This number of bulbs per pound should be close to the following numbers, depending on size: XL = 5, L = 8, M = 12, S = 16. The deviations should not be more than 10%. For example, if you have a bin of Mediums with an average bulb per pound count of 10.5 (off by 12.5%), then you either have an incorrect sorting tool or your sorters have put quite a few Larges into the Medium category.
Please do some spot checks to see if there are any problems that need to be addressed before delivering your garlic to us.
Correctly Processing Bulbs
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.
A note about dirt: New diseases are most often introduced to soils via infected garlic or the dirt that it carries. Out of the 60 diseases of garlic listed in the Compendium of Onion and Garlic Diseases, 57 are soil-borne. Thus, garlic sold for seed has to be thoroughly cleaned of dirt, perhaps even washed if need be to remove dirt stuck to the bulbs.
CORRECTLY PREPARED BULBS
Correctly prepared, clean bulb.
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 bulb.
Correctly prepared umbel with scape cut
at 1/4 inch and desiccated sheath
INCORRECTLY PREPARED BULBS
Beard too long. Should be 1/4 inch.
Damaged or exposed cloves are
Dirty bulbs are not acceptable.
Neck too long. Should be 1 to 1.5 inch.
Watch out for damage due to
Correctly prepared, clean bulb.
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 from the Van Noort Bulb Company in Abbotsford, BC at various times of the year, usually starting late Summer. 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.
The number of bulbs per bin.
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.
HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK
19" x 12" x 8" produce bins stacked on
a trailer with tarp as protection
23" x 15" x 9" tulip bins with perfect
labeling and color codinge. It's easy.
Simple but sufficient labeling:
FARM, CULTIVAR, SIZE + colored
ribbon for all bins of that cultivar
Close-up of the labels and ribbon colors.
Note: quantity per bin not required.
HOW IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK
These onion sacks do not stack well and
are hard to handle.
Labels do not conform to three-letter
acronyms. Farm name is missing.
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."
As per signed agreement.
Apr 21st—Crop Report: Report of spring emergence 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 July and RCF will only rely on 50% of the estimated harvest for this purpose.
Third Week of July—Lab Testing: All growers should send in samples as per the guidelines at the top of this page. Please do not submit samples earlier than the third week of July to allow for possible diseases to become symptomatic and thus more easily detectable.
Late July—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 14th—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 31st—Delivery: As per agreed upon protocols, all garlic to be delivered to our holding facility in Lumby by this date.
Sep 30th—First 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—Second 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:
In the meanwhile you can call us or contact us by email to ask about these items.