The Garlic Bulb

A hot cast iron skillet, olive oil and minced  garlic is the secret to let your loved ones know dinner is being prepared!  Jenny, my wife, told me her Oma always started the stove and placed oil and garlic in the skillet moments before her husband came home and he would exclaim “smells wonderful.”  Her husband would think she had been preparing the meal for hours before he got home when in reality she had just started before he arrived.  Clever woman was that Oma!   I must say I have been tricked myself many times when I walked into the house and smelled  garlic in the air and said “mmm… what’s for dinner?

Garlic is an old world seasoning that everyone should plant in their gardens.  I plant several varieties in my vegetable gardens and also plant some cloves throughout my flowers gardens to deter deer from nibbling on my flowers.  Deer and rabbits do not like the smell of garlic, nor the taste.  The Garlic bulb is related to a daffodil.   This is the reason you will see daffodils planted in fields and homes and they never get eaton by wildlife.  I allow the garlic to spread via seed through my flower beds.  In early summer the scape will form on the tall plant which gives the gardens a whimsical appearance with these plants scattered around.  Once the scape dies back it will drop small seeds in the soil below to enjoy more flowers spikes next year.  

To plant garlic in your gardens start by  purchasing garlic from an organic farm or seed company.  If you see a garlic festival happening in your area check it out.  This is a great place to get your first bulbs to plant.  I started with my first purchases at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival over fifteen years ago and have not purchased garlic ever since.  Those heads of garlic you see in a supermarket in a two pack will not be suitable to plant.  Most of this Garlic comes from California and was harvested over six months ago.  It also may have been sprayed with chemicals so stay away from it.    Once you have a good source of Garlic you want to plant start by popping the cloves off the bulb and inspect them for dryness and mold.  Only use firm medium to large sized bulbs.   This will assure a nice sized bulb at harvests.  Your garden bed should be raked and use a board with markings at 6 inches apart.  Place cloves with root side down and point up three inches down in the soil and six inches apart.  Seperate rows 8 inches apart to allow for weeding.  This will also assure each bulb has enough room to grow to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.    Firm the soil down and top dress the bed with 3 inches of compost or leaf mold.  You may water the bed at this time and just leave the bed alone.  Garlic is in the ground for 9 months so plan your timing accordingly.  I plant from October 15 to early November in my Hudson valley area and have great success. 

Check out my video below and get in the garden soon and plant some garlic!

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