Our Company’s Story

I was about five or six when we got our first TV. It was about a three foot cube and left a lot to imagination. I was forced labor pulling weeds in the family garden back amongst the corn lands of Illinois. I was a passive aggressive saboteur in the most disruptive sense. I knew how to slip away into the neighboring corn fields where I couldn’t be found until I got tired of eating field corn and was ready to face the music. I could do a “slow-down” with the best of them. I could whine and complain and ruin a potentially really nice experience for my folks. Gardening isn’t always intuitive for kids. However there were moments that shaped me. I loved eating the sun hot tomatoes while hunched down out of sight between the monster tomato plants with the salt shaker stolen from the kitchen, giving it another shake of salt at each bite, letting the acid red-salty juice dribble my chin. I suppose I’ll never have a tomato that good again.

Did you too eat green apples sitting in the crotch of a tree on the edge of the property overlooking endless corn rows day dreaming as only a kid can? One apple after another again with the salt shaker. Nothing like a shake of salt to mitigate the sour. I keep trying but can’t put it all together again.

Today Swallow Hill Gardens is a large family garden located in northern Vermont on a west facing hill- side subject to great views and occasionally too much wind. After thirty five years of no gardening I was a little tentative, not really putting my heart into it. I vaguely knew what I should be doing to have a great garden but never committed. You know the day job. I wasn’t soil testing, irrigating, cover cropping, or fencing.

About six years ago I attended a BioNutrient seminar by Dan Kittridge that changed it for me. The question of “what if”? What if I soil tested every year and added the soil amendments that the test indicated? What if I set up a drip irrigation system? Fencing? Cover crops. Mulching? That is what I am doing now. Its a lotta lotta work but I love it. It’s the gardening seasons that get me through the year.  I am planting less than one half acre and I am in awe of those vegetable farmers who do many times that. Good on them. Mostly my garden is for the household and friends.  The only crops I sell are garlic locally and on line and winter squash locally. I am in the process of being “Certified Naturally Grown”.

This site is for marketing my garlic as I am producing more than the Coop and General Stores in the area can sell. Ninety nine percent of what I know about garlic I get from the Oregon garlic grower and writer Ron Engeland and his “Growing Great Garlic”. I currently am growing three types of garlic: Music, Phillips, and Walden Redneck.