| Aug 24, 2006

Feature Article - August 24, 2006

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Feature Article - August 24, 2006

Maberly's GarlicGuru

by MeghanBalogh

Garlic farming, festivals, lectures, competitions, trials, hats. What once started out small has grown not only into a hobby, but into a way of life for Paul Pospisil and his wife Mary Lou.

Paul is known to most people as the “Garlic Guru.” That pseudonym was not bestowed lightly. Paul has proven his expertise in all things garlic, and has been instrumental in the promotion, preservation, and improvement of garlic production in Eastern Ontario and across Canada .

Since his retirement from the military, Paul and his wife Mary Lou have developed their interests in gardening and farming. They own and run Beaver Pond Estates, a small hobby farm in Maberly that they etched out of the wilderness, pioneering the land and building the house and outbuildings that reside on the property. Here they not only produce organic garlic, but also other garden vegetables and maple syrup. This year Paul and Mary Lou were grand champions at the Perth Festival of the Maples.


Paul is a Master Gardener, and the president of the Maberly Agricultural Society. He is a qualified judge of horticulture and also judges maple syrup. He and Mary Lou have been instrumental in the starting of various garlic festivals throughout Ontario , including the acclaimed Perth Garlic Festival.

The Pospisils’ enthusiasm for garlic is evident in all corners of their property. In their bright and spacious house, garlic hangs drying from the rafters. Tucked between other garden vegetables in small garden beds behind the house, different varieties of garlic can be found by the homemade wooden signs that mark their locations.

“This one vegetable has been neglected,” says Pospisil. “Without boasting, I could well be the most knowledgeable person on garlic in Canada . And that is sad, because so few people know much about it.”

Paul’s contributions to the Canadian garlic scene are countless. He has been doing research in garlic growing trials for several years. Cultural trials on planting and harvesting times for these colder regions, trials on choosing the ideal variety, row spacing, depth, mulches, and other factors that play into growth have all been recorded. Currently, he is conducting a trial on the elimination of diseases in garlic plants.

Pospisil edits and publishes The Garlic News, the only garlic newsletter in Canada . This quarterly publication has subscribers in every province, and some from the United States .

One of Paul’s key projects was to bring about a series of competitions for garlic producers, and solidify a standard of judging the produce. As opposed to the standard approach of judging garlic size, Paul came up with a list of criteria to be examined: the symmetry, colour, harvesting and cleaning all play into deciding a quality product.

Through his research, articles, and lectures, Paul continues to develop interest in this unique and healthy garden vegetable. The 5,000 plants that he grows in his own 50' x 50' garlic plot are sold mostly to other garlic growers who want different varieties of seed stock.

Paul’s approach to garlic growing, despite his years of research and experience, is fundamentally simplistic. “Any home gardener can grow garlic,” he says, and he wrote a book of the same title to expand on this thought. “If I can grow a tomato in that plot of land, then I can grow garlic there.”

On September 2 Paul Pospisil will be the featured speaker at “Garlic Day” at the Frontenac Farmers’ Market.

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