An Ode to Garlic

It is fitting that garlic should have the pushy I’m first attitude of entitlement as it is so often the first ingredient into the pot or pan. There are some things I can periodically do without in my garden but garlic is never one of them. After being harvested in mid  August or so it is hung to cure in the late summer sun and then sometime in October an average of one clove per head is planted to start the whole process over again. This was about the seventh year I’ve been harvesting and then replanting.  Nothing quite say’s it was a successful garden year as seeing copious amounts of garlic and onions hanging in the sun and then in my shop. With around three hundred cloves planted in October I’m hopeful this will be enough to again keep my family supplied for a year, re-plant again in October and give some away to family and friends. Being in the ground for so long, nearly eleven months, is surely one of the reasons this allium is valued as a culinary starting point. Like a person who has seen many years can become all the wiser, I think garlic is able to build its wonderful taste and aroma by witnessing a cool autumn, cold winter, warming spring and hot summer while sometimes merely subsisting and sometimes thriving in a healthy soil. Last spring a deer made it over, under or through the nine foot fence that is supposed to keep these beautiful but sometimes maddeningly garden wrecking creatures out. She, for some reason I rarely see bucks on our property, nipped the first several inches off of nearly every one of my “shaking in their roots” garlic’s. But like a well conditioned fighter, they were able to bounce back and I ended up with a pretty good crop. A good testament to this splendid plants toughness and character I think.

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