Thursday, July 23, 2015

Helen's Garlic

Our garlic was harvested about two weeks ago.  That is early for us but since the past several weeks featured nearly daily rain we took the garlic of the second consecutive July day without rain.  Each garlic leaf begins at the base of the root cluster.  Wrapped tightly around the bulb and stem, it climbs until it pushes away and opens.  The joint where it leaves the stem is usually watertight but when the leaves begin to brown their grasp loosens and water can enter the stem.  Once inside, the water works its way down into the bulb.  Nasty undesirables begin to grow on wet garlic cloves holding trapped moisture.  An early dry harvest was the only way to go.

The picture shows one bulb with a diameter exceeding 2.5 inches.  We rarely grow bulbs of that size here.  We know that the seed stock for this garlic was a gift from dear friend Helen.  Age weakened memories make the source of her seed one year earlier unclear.  It is highly likely that we gave Helen the seed garlic that she grew for the first time.  One year of growing in her river bottom soil greatly improved her crop.  We planted twenty of her cloves and harvested twenty plants.  Hers is the only garlic that returned one hundred percent of healthy plants this year.  Helen's garlic has jumped to the top of our list.  Sixty cloves of garlic bearing her name will be planted here this October.  We intend to continue growing this garlic for all of our remaining years with a garden.  There are many different plants in our gardens that were given to us by friends and acquaintances.  Each interaction with these gift plants stirs pleasant memories of the persons that made these plants available to us.  Helen's garlic will always have a home with us.

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