Garlic, affectionately known as "the stinking rose", but where did that name come from? Garlic has been called the stinking rose for nearly a century, thanks to a French writer and physician, Henri Leclerc, who in 1918 roughly translated garlic’s ancient Greek name, scorodon, to skaion rodon, and then to rose puante, or stinking rose.
Garlic is an essential ingredient in many foods, and has been used traditionally for thousands of years in different medicinal remedies and cultural rituals. There are hundreds of different varieties of garlic grown around the world,but they are mainly split into two categories: hardneck and softneck.
Most commonly, the garlic you find at the supermarket is a softneck variety. Softneck varieties of garlic have a mild flavor, and feature large cloves on the outside that give way to smaller cloves within. One of the great things about softneck garlic is that it is easy to store and has a very long shelf life.
Hardneck garlic varieties feature more complex flavors, and produce larger cloves that grow in a circle around a hard stem. Hardneck stems send up small bubils, commonly known as scapes, in the spring. The scapes are delicious to eat and taste just like garlic! One of the other differences between soft and hardneck garlic, is that hardneck garlic generally has a shorter shelf life that, depending on the variety, could be as short as 3 or 4 months or as long as a year.
Garlic is an easy to grow annual that is slow to mature. In our climate, and most for that matter, garlic is planted in the fall and left until the following summer. In the spring, we will have scapes to harvest, usually around the first of June. By mid-July, we will harvest the garlic bulbs.
After the garlic is planted, it is relatively low maintenance needing only occasional watering. However, garlic doesn't like a lot of weed competition, so it is necessary to keep the weeds down. We spent a few days prepping our field beds by adding compost, and cultivating the soil. Good bed prep, and heavy mulching, are key to keeping the weeds down, and the garlic happy.
On October 15, we were so lucky to have a handful of hardworking volunteers out to the farm to help us plant our garlic crop for 2017. Many hands make for light work indeed: we planted nearly 3,000 garlic seeds in under an hour! After a brief instruction on planting technique, our volunteers worked down the prepped beds, placing and covering the garlic seed. What would have taken us many hours to plant by ourselves was finished quickly, and with great company!
After we finished our work in the garlic beds, our guests took part in a walking tour of our organic production beds, and greenhouses, and a wagon tour of the rest of the farm's land. Then, we had a family style lunch of acorn squash lasagna, fresh salad greens and garlic bread-all proudly grown on our farm. For dessert, David prepared a blackberry and rhubarb cobbler, with our blackberries, and fresh, fall rhubarb. We could not have asked for a more beautiful fall morning to spend outside, or more wonderful people to spend it with.
Thank you so much David, Elizabeth, JD, Jackie, Brandon, Jo Anne, Sue, Hannah, Melissa, Patty and Aaron. Your help is so deeply appreciated!