I started growing garlic in my teens and quickly found it to be my favorite crop. You plant it in a slow time of the garden year (October) and if you mulch it well, you didn’t have to give it the time of day until the next summer, when you pulled up big, ripe bulbs from their hiding place underground and feel like a fantastic gardener!
After I became a mother, I didn’t have much time for managing a huge organic garden as I had in my teens, but I still managed to grow garlic each year because it was such an efficient crop–it was easy to grow an entire year’s supply and never have to buy it at the store. It also made lovely gifts.
Then we moved to Alabama right around garlic-planting time last year, precluding getting a crop in the ground. So, I didn’t harvest any garlic this year and I’ve been stuck buying it at Wal-Mart! Can I just tell you how awful this is for this garlic snob?
But then a few weeks ago I got a package in the mail from my friend, Kateri. Oh, my. A box full of garlic–different varieties and flavors, freshly harvested from her little homestead, Tangled Basket Farm, in Michigan. So plump and juicy (yes, fresh garlic is juicy!) and so pretty!
The stuff in the right is the anemic garlic I’ve been getting at Wal-Mart. Front and center is the beautiful, plump and purple cloves from Tangled Basket Farm.
There were five different kinds of garlic, including bulbs from the variety I used to grow in NY–Kateri had taken some planting garlic when she visited me a few years ago and now she grows that one as well. It was like a taste of home!
I’ve been loving having fresh, home grown garlic for Caesar Salad Dressing and White Garlic Lasagna which I’ve had on repeat in our menu plan since the weather moderated. Plus, I got a sinus infection so I was taking it raw with cayenne pepper (I sandwich it between dollops of applesauce and swallow it down. Works wonders.) I’ve said my kitchen runs on kefir, but I think garlic is a close second.
I’d really like to try growing garlic down here in the South, and Kateri sent me two softneck varieties that she said would be worth trying in my hotter climate. I’ll be headed outside to get mine in the ground as soon as I finish writing this post!
Meanwhile, if you’d like to see how simple growing garlic can be, here’s some older posts from when I was gardening in NY…
- Planting Garlic With Jesse when he was Five (it’s such a simple task, your kids can totally help)
- Planting Garlic With Jesse when he was Six (this one is a video!)
And if you’d like to get your own gourmet garlic for planting or eating, check out Kateri’s Etsy Shop – she’ll ship fresh garlic from this year’s harvest straight to you!
Kateri also makes the most gorgeous and sturdy willow and grapevine baskets–in fact, she was the one who taught me how to make baskets when I was twelve, and I still have a basket made by her that is now twenty years old and it’s still working hard! They make lovely garden baskets, egg gathering baskets, or even a purse! (I totally got that idea from my mother.)
Have you ever grown garlic? Do you have any tips for me growing it in the deep south?