I know, it is early. We do not plant garlic until October here in the Arizona desert. But I am excited and just could not wait to share.
A couple of years ago; I bartered for some beautiful, organic garlic that was grown in a girlfriend’s garden. It was the hard neck kind, which does better here in our hot and dry climate.
I found that it did not braid as well as the pliable soft neck variety, but that is ok. The flavor was very nice, and I decided to spread it out on a table in my store room to dry.
Like the good little gardener that I am, I saved back the best bulbs to grow in my own garden and used the rest in my kitchen.
Each of those lovely, fat globes break down into several cloves. Because this garlic is a heritage variety; I can plant it in my garden and the same type of garlic will grow again next year. Because it is NON GMO; farmer Donna feels very good about planting it in her garden.
So last October, I planted the lovely little cloves as companion plants in my garden beds. I found that I could save space by planting the garlic along side my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and carrots. I did not plant it near any beans or peas, because I know that this will stunt their growth.
Garlic takes a long time to mature. During the long growing season, I did cut off the tips for a seasoning. The greens are not as strong as the bulb, but still gives that lovely garlic flavor to eggs, sautéed dishes or salad dressings. When I noticed that the stalks were attempting to flower, I cut the stalk down to about half. I believe that this causes the plant to give more energy to creating a nicer bulb.
Finally in May; when the leaves were yellow and falling over; I pulled up a bulb to see how it looked. Because I was satisfied with the size and the shape of the bulbs; I pulled them all up and laid them on tables on my covered patio. May is a hot and dry month here in the Arizona desert, so I found that it only took a couple of days for these plants to dry out.
I then cut off the stocks (saving them for the chickens and for mulch) and brushed the bulbs with a soft brush to get the dirt off. Once that was done; I put them in my storage room on towels-on a table to continue to dry out.
Again, I looked through the bulbs and set aside the biggest and best for this years garden. Once that was done, I knew that I had the freedom to use the rest of bulbs in my kitchen, or as natural worming or remedies for my household, my animals or garden tonics. I will share some of those ideas in my next post.
Until next time, keep finding ways of Sharing your Life’s Abundance.