Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Some naturalized cloves
Have you planted your garlic yet?
Like spring bulbs, garlic cloves are planted in the fall in this part of the world. My garlic is planted: I made a fairly large purchase from Filaree Farm last year, and saved some good-looking heads from this year's harvest to set out this fall. (Getting bulbs from a local farmer's market is also an idea: if they grow for them, they'll grow for you. Just make sure you ask if THEY have grown them!) But making a big purchase is not the only way to go about getting garlic.
Now, to be frank, growing big, beautiful heads of garlic is not always an easy thing to do. I'm getting rather boring by repeating how tough my clay soil is on most things, but let's just add garlic to that list, too, okay? But if big garlic is what you are after, then by all means buy your seed garlic from a knowledgeable place like Filaree: the catalog is long, and they will gladly make suggestions to you regarding your area. And growing place-appropriate garlic is important. Most of the allium family are sensitive to day length, so that store-bought California stuff will just not do all that well for you in Indiana. It's not you, in other words, it's the garlic!
But as I have mentioned here before, I just do not like waste. And occasionally, some of the kitchen's cloves will sprout, turning into rank little sulfur bombs as they do. My solution? Stick the danged things into a corner of the garden, and let them do their thing. They won't get big, they will spread (nicely, though), and...voila, instagarlic. I find I use it as green garlic, and I readily snip off the greens for a salad or soup topping, and, well, I will harvest a minihead and pound the snot out of it in the mortar just because.