Last year at the end of the farming season, we were given from another farmer a bunch of garlic bulbs. Instead of consuming the bulbs, we decided to plant them in the ground in late October. This is how our first garlic growing experiment began.
These were hard neck garlic with a stiff stem at the center surrounded by one or two rows of cloves. If there is a hard neck garlic is there a soft neck garlic? Yes. It is. Soft neck garlic is the one you want if you want to make garlic braids. With soft stem in center of the bulb.
We planted the garlic by putting individual cloves into the ground with ends pointed up. Remember to NOT peel of the covering of the cloves – just separate them from the bulb and plant it just like that.
After the last garlic clove was in the soil, we covered our super mini experimental plantation with mulch using weed-free straw 🙂
Each bulb of the garlic produces a flowering stem in early summer that curls at the top. It does not really look like a typical flower and it is called the “garlic scapes.” You can cut them out and use for salads or other cooking as it tastes exactly as garlic. These stems take energy and resources from the bulb.
You could also use the leaves – the flat leaves of the garlic for cooking however be careful to not over harvest them or the garlic will not produce the bulb.
This is our first time so we started getting impatient as to when to start harvesting. We looked into some smart books and one says that you know your garlic is ready to be harvested when about three-quarters of the leaves have turned yellow. The book also suggest to dig out from outside of the row first to minimize the damage to the bulbs as damaged bulbs do not store well.
Ripe bulbs should develop skins that separate the individual cloves. Remember to set aside the largest cloves from your harvest and store them for planting for the new garlic season.
Immediately after harvest we hung our garlic for curing (I know it is not a best place to do it however, until we get our own barn this is what it is 🙂 Curing allows moisture to escape and prepares plant for long term storage.
We love garlic and we learned how many benefits garlic can provide, can help in healing so many ailments and most of all it is the only herb that you can get it fresh year round no matter what climate.
- Garlic has been used around the world to prevent and treat infection.
- The garlic does more than kills germs directly – it also strengthens and activates the body’s own immune system.
- Garlic is broad spectrum antibiotic – it kills a wide variety of bacteria
- Garlic helps in cardiovascular disease (thins the blood and lowers blood pressure)
However there are many people that their digestive system cannot tolerate garlic:
- Take only small amount – a half-clove of garlic a day bring most of the long term benefits
- Take a raw garlic in carrot juice – to cut down on irritation gastric symptoms (blend it with carrot juice and let it sit for 4-6 hrs
- Try cooked instead of raw garlic, garlic will retain its blood thinning properties even after cooking; however, its antibiotic effect will be lost.
- Take your garlic only part of the time, for some people garlic is too heating if taken for a while.
Remember that you have to chop or crush garlic to release its medicinal properties.
Important To Know
When garlic is harvested by farmers and is ready to be transported it is sold as bulbs without packaging. However, to preserve garlic, chemicals are applied to disinfect it making it toxic when consuming. Make certain to buy only organic if possible to assure you are eating clean and pesticide free garlic. Buying organic also helps to protect the environment.
Source: Barbara W. Ellis , The veggie gardener’s answer book
Paul Bergner, The Healing Power of Garlic, The enlightened Person’s Guide to Nature’s Most Versatile Medicinal Plant
Emmanuel Christy Jeyaseelan, Antibacterial Activity of Medicinal Plants
Peter McClusky, Ontario Garlic- The Story From Farm to Festival.