Friday, October 10, 2008


Anyone who had cooked with us knows that we like to use a lot of garlic. We have a guy at the farmer's market that we get our garlic from, among other things. He has, through selection and careful tending, been able to produce good-sized heads of garlic that have only 4-7 cloves in them. compare that to store-bought, which tends to have 2-3x as much in the same space. Result? Larger cloves that peel very easily and are more convenient for heavy users such as ourselves. Take my word for it, they lose none of their potency for being so large.

This year, before we had basil, parsley, or peppers, we had some garlic. Unfortunately, I didn't read up on it much beforehand, so we planted the cloves around April 1. As it turns out, in northern climes such as ours, it is best to plant garlic, like other bulbs, a few weeks before the ground freezes. This gives them ample opportunity to become established so that, when spring rolls around, they are all set to roar out of the ground like crocuses. As a result of our very late planting, we ended up with garlic heads smaller than walnuts, with cloves just too small to really use. Bummer.

But, we learn from our mistakes. So, yesterday I planted about 15 of these amazing cloves from the market. I had to sacrifice some of the basil plants to make room, but there's no shortage of them so I account it no great loss. Into the dry soil I turned some wet compost from our food scraps before planting. Although it has turned chilly here, they should have over a month to become established before frost. I'll want to water them a fair bit over the next week, and cover them with some of the mountain of leaves that have fallen. [After I did the planting, and in preparing this post, I found out that one does not generally peel the cloves before planting. I'm hoping that this doesn't make much difference.]

Let's hope for good results come next spring.

A video on the subject, for those who are interested. It's dirt simple to do, even for those not accustomed to gardening.

1 comment:

John Murphy said...

Small cloves of garlic are good for crushing -- make a paste with onion or shallot, and fry in the pan with some butter before making a curry.