Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Passione del Giardino

One of Ed’s three garlic beds in June

Some gardeners are passionate about roses, some about daylilies, some about orchids. Ed is passionate about garlic. His garlics have names like Catherine’s, White Bishop, Siberian, Berlinkleiner ... Some of the varietal names mark the person that was the source of the garlic. Others are listed in any seed catalog. Each one has it’s own special qualities. The number and size of the cloves, the growth habit, the flavor, the storage ability are different for each one. We still have garlic from last year's harvest.

The garlic is planted the fall. Right around Columbus Day is good for our location. He was Italian so it makes the date easy to remember. Buy seed garlic at a farmer’s market or get organic. The stuff from the grocery store has likely been treated to keep it from sprouting. Break the bulbs into single cloves. Plant the best and eat the others. After that you just have to wait for spring. The garlic comes up at about the same time as the tulips.

Picture of garlic with scape in June

When the scapes, garlic’s version of a flower, appear, Ed goes around and cuts them off. It is generally thought that the bulbs will do better if the plant does not put energy into flower and seed production.

The garlic is ready for harvest.
Garlic plant with five remaining leaves Ed’s hand

Now there is much to do. The garlic is harvested , dried, cleaned and hung to cure in the basement. It’s easy to find Ed this time of year, just follow your nose to the spot that smells like an Italian delicatessen.

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