Food,  Garden

Garlic 101

When I was in college, I met a couple who supposedly made their living farming different varieties of heirloom garlics. Forgive me, but I thought this sounded incredibly romantic. I’m pretty sure I even wrote a poem about it, because, well, I used to write poems about everything that happened.

Though I am less starry-eyed about garlic these days, I still have an above average affection for it. I can say garlic in German (knoblauch) and Spanish (ajo) and Swedish (vitlock).  I once went to a restaurant called The Stinking Rose, where the pesto is just chunks of raw garlic with some basil leaves mixed in. For desert I had garlic ice cream. By the time I got to the garlic ice cream, my taste buds were no longer able to taste the flavor of garlic and it just tasted like ice cream, however, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it had I been able to. I sweated pure garlic for days afterwards. As a side note, one of our party looked sulkily at the menu and asked if they had anything without garlic? Needless to say, I don’t talk to her anymore.

Shockingly, despite my fangirl status, I have never grown my own garlic! Probably because by the fall I’m too bored with gardening to throw any garlic in. But this year I was determined.

Over the last few weeks, I have learned several useful things about garlic. How did I not know these things before! :

  1. There are two basic types – hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck garlic is easier to peel and grows better in northern climates. Soft neck is the kind you can braid and grows better in warm places.
  2. To plant garlic, you drop in cloves of garlic (usually two inches deep and 6-8 inches apart). For some reason it never occurred to me till this week that you could go to the farmers market and buy garlic there and then plant it in your yard, and the next spring, fancy heirloom garlic! Is there any difference between this and the fancy heirloom garlic they sell specifically for planting online? I hope not!
  3. Not totally related, but wild onion (seen incidentally in the photo) is bad for you, babies, and livestock in large quantities. My dad always told me not to eat it, and (bummer) he was right! I’m glad I looked it up before I ate a bunch of it.
Below is my garlic bed, which is actually bigger now, I found some more garlic I had been saving up. 


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