hat are history and origins of Sulmona’s red garlic? How is it grown and from where do its peculiarities and different aspect from common garlic derive?
Sulmona’s red garlic: history and cultivation
The cultivation of garlic in the Peligna Valley, especially in the area of Sulmona, is an old and strong tradition as confirmed by Panfilo Serafini ( ” Historical memory of Sulmona ” – 1853 ) and Theodore Bonanni ( ” The old industries province of the Eagle ” – 1888 ).
There are numerous texts, dating back to the decades around the nineteenth and twentieth centurie , in which the reference to the cultivation of garlic in this specific area is very clear. Nevertheless, Sulmona’s red garlic is never explicitly mentioned asred garlic of Sulmona, but since at the time agricolture had a predominantly territorial carachter, and without the existence of a true seed market, the common thought is that it was red garlic indeed.
However, we must wait until the last decades of the 1900s to identify this product as it is internationally recognized today. It is back then that the first written report appears, specifically labeled “Sulmona’s red garlic”, from the main town of the Peligna Valley.
Specific climatic parameters have been identified for garlic cultivation. They are necessary to obtain a good harvest. The ideal for growth is between 15 ° – 25 ° C , the minimum temperature ( in the absence of snow cover ) is between 10 ° – 12 ° C and the maximum temperature is between 30 ° – 35 ° C. It is necessary to pay some attention to the level of moisture which, if excessive, can lead to the appearance of parasitic fungi epigeal . The photoperiodic and thermal regime during storage and field determines complex effects on the growth and development of garlic, with repercussions on the quality aspects . As for the parameters that identify the most suitable soil, despite the garlic has not special requirements in this sense, a well-drained, medium mixture soil, is preferable , with a pH around neutrality (6.5 – 7.5) . Heavy clay soils rich in organic matter and soil too dry and basic are to be avoided.
Traditionally, the preparation of the Medium mixture or clayey soils should be done in a well-defined beginning after the harvest of Vernino corn, and this is a preceding crop essential to prevent and reduce nematode attacks , removal of straw and plowing the soil to a depth of about 0.40 m.
Generally , you do not bury manure because it can favor the development of fungus diseases , or be detrimental during storage of the bulbs , but you prefer to prepare the soil with nitrogen. To facilitate the preparation of the ground in the shortest possible time and also saves on the use of fuel, it is possible to replace the deep plowing with a two-layer : a discissura to 0.40 m with ripper or chisel , followed by shallow plowing from 0:25 to 0:30 m, or can be achieved in a single step with aratroripuntatore working to the same depth indicated . Wishing to minimize the timing, plowing could also be replaced by a simple grubbing to about 0:25 to 0:35 m.
As for the loamy soils, which do not possess a stable structure and those rich in fine sand which are then subject to compaction, they must be machined in proximity of the soling time . The preliminary stage of the system needs the preparation of seed cloves. They must be carefully separated from the bulbs, operation called ” shelling ” or ” into segments ” that can be performed handmade or mechanically. Once the cloves have been cleaned up it is advisable to disinfect them with specific formulations to prevent the soil from becoming infected by parasitic fungi . The disinfection should be carried out dry or soaked.
Sowing can be handmade or mechanical. The handmade process gives a better yield of production though, from an economic standpoint, it is definitely more expensive. This type of system should be carried out by first opening the furrows with a ploughshare and then depositing the slices on the bottom of the groove, at a distance of 12-15 cm and a depth of approximately 5-6 cm, placing the apex facing up in order to facilitate the rapid emergence of the bud and a reduced percentage of deformed bulbs. This is an operation that usually takes place from mid-November to late December, but can last until mid-January.
The three elements that promote better nutrition of the garlic planted in the soil are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The nitrogen causes an increase in the vigor of the plants with the early development and broad leaf apparatus , but an excessive intake of nitrogen in the soil may cause the delay of bulbs growing and reduce its shelf life. For this reason , it is necessary not to exceed the dose of nitrogen expected to be distributed 120kg/ettaro on three different occasions and not all at once.
The deficiency of phosphorus and potassium causes stunted growth , premature aging , delayed maturation , poorly storable bulbs . In organic fertilization , the amount of phosphorus to be administered should be determined according to the envelope of the terrain in assimilable phosphorus . The same applies to the administration of potassium , the doses should be calculated according to the envelope of the soil in exchangeable potassium and agronomic evaluation.
With the weeding you eliminate weeds from the soil. This operation must be repeated every time the unwanted vegetation grows again. On average, the timing can be estimated at around 15 days, but it can also be a task to be repeated more frequently and more sporadically. Weeding should be done from February until shortly before harvest, adding fertilizing nitrose each time and always the nutrient needs. This aspect should always be carefully monitored to allow the garlic a perfect growth.
TREATMENT BASED ON COPPER LEAF
The pest provides a foliar treatment mainly based on copper. This treatment protects the crop from various adversities including: rust, mildew, rotting of the bulbs, bacteria, viruses and insects. The treatment should be carried out when hygroscopical conditions are favorable to the disease.
Preventive measures to be taken for agronomic intervention are different: the destruction of infected material, the reduction of fertilization, the reduction of moisture, the adoption of appropriate crop rotations, the use of healthy seeds.
Torricella Peligna’s soil is of Medium mixture type, this means that it retains a level of moisture and freshness that favors the cultivation of Sulmona’s red garlic even without frequent irrigation. Autumn, winter and spring rain is generally sufficient to meet most of the water needs of the crop. During the enlargement of the bulb, which occurs during spring (May-June) you may need(depending on the growing environment and the seasonal trend) 2-3 irrigation interventions with individual volumes of approximately 300-400 mc / ha. The irrigation should not be performed before or after harvest time.
The tradition is also harvesting red garlic floral scalp (ie the stalk that protrudes from the ground and from which the flower arises), called the “plate” or “tolla”.
The grapes are harvested manually between the second and third decade of May. Very few varieties of garlic have the sod, which is therefore a highly required product. The floral scalp is removed to allow the plant to grow: not removing it would block the growth of the bulb basement. The stalk must be harvested early in the morning, so that the moisture of the night will facilitate the extraction.
For the transformation we use the most tender and succulent parts. Once harvested, they must be processed as soon as possible to prevent the beneficial substances are dispersed with drying.
The harvest takes place approximately 6 months after planting, particularly during the third week of June and continues until mid-July. Garlic is generally ready for harvest when the leaves are yellow, or dried at the top, and start to bend on the ground. If the harvest is premature tunics dry out badly, but if you delay there is a risk that the bulbs are invaded by saprophytic organisms which give them a blackish color. To promote the conservation of the garlic in the next stage of the collection you can allow a treatment based on maleic hydrazide, with function sprout.
REALIZATION OF THE BRAIDS
The classic braid has 52 heads, equal to the number of a year weeks, with a weight of about 1.5-2.5 kg, although it is possible to make it smaller. The realization of the braid is made via a precise technique that involves several steps.
Before all that it is necessary to keep the garlic wet, so that they are soft for processing. It starts with taking the first two intertwining stems taut and keeping the heads tightened, you should check that the head is not too curved to avoid taking up too much space in the stack storage. Garlic must be entered in pairs, and as the braid grows you must make sure that it is always very close and tight, to make it consistent you need to use garlic of the same size.
After creating two single braids, of the same size, merge them together using the last leaves.
The final result will be amazing!
Drying is the “keystone” for the preservation and for the prevention of alterations. It is carried out in the field by placing the product in windrows, leaving it to dry in the sun for 10-15 days depending on the prevailing climatic conditions. The preservation can take place in warehouses, better if equipped with forced ventilation, to be able to adjust, independently of the external weather conditions, the temperature and relative humidity. Other place of storage can be cold store with bulbs stowed in crates or pallet-box mesh. It is advisable, at the end of storage, a slow rise of the temperature, transferring the product in cells at an intermediate temperature to avoid condensation of moisture that favors pathogenic attack and the emission of roots. The transport of garlic is implemented in a well-ventilated means to prevent condensation of moisture.