Friday, June 25, 2010


You are looking at what I call an absolute necessity. This household cannot possibly entertain the thought of living without GARLIC!

In terms of the gardening season, it’s a bit of an odd-man-out. We planted this member of the allium family last October. It winters over and usually harvests sometime in late June or early July. A little earlier this year due to hot weather in June.

It was once thought to have magical powers against evil and was widely used in charms and spells. The poet Homer’s Odysseus used it to keep the sorceress Circe from turning him into a pig. And many legends surrounding garlic have to do with strength, speed, and endurance, according to Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.

It’s an onion with a compound bulb made up of 4-15 cloves.  It has many uses, both culinary and medicinal—some medicinals work, some don’t. More study is ongoing.

Recent indicators suggest that garlic has the ability to lower blood pressure. The Chinese use garlic in this way—treating all manner of respiratory ailments. Garlic tea, Garlic cough syrup, Garlic smelling salt—whew!!! Definitely would wake you up! Ear ache remedy, getting rid of worms and other parasites; as treatment against whooping cough (currently making a comeback--note the recent outbreak of Whooping cough in this country in California) which consists of making a chest rubdown of garlic and lard.

Some herbalists recommend putting a garlic clove in the patient’s shoes, believing that the healthful aspects of garlic could be absorbed through the soles of the feet. (the People’s Pharmacy suggested Vicks on the soles of feet, but I believe I’d prefer garlic. Again, according to Rodale’s it is possible that the irritating quality of garlic’s volatile oils may help open the lungs and bronchial tubes because the oils are readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Perhaps a shortcut would be to take a teaspoon of garlic syrup to relieve congestions.

Investigators in China are also looking at the role garlic may play in preventing gastric cancer. They compared the counties with the lowest and highest rates of stomach cancer deaths and found that the residents of the healthiest country regularly ate up to 20 grams a day of garlic.

Of course the culinary aspects of garlic are what we traditionally endorse. Garlic enhances almost every savory dish one can imagine from soups to stews, to steaks and you-name-it!

 We planted four varieties last fall: Bogatyr, Georgian Fire, Inchellium, and Siberian. They are HUGE. (That’s why the quarter beside it in the photo) We obtained our bulbs from Seed Saver's Exchange  Now, with all of it harvested there’s a drying period where all the plants are laid out on the porch as they expire. Then, they’ll be hung in a cool, moderately dry, dark place for the winter with lots of airspace.

That's is for this week lovely friends.  The heat seems to be letting up a bit for the moment, anyway.  MM tells me there is to be a lunar eclipse this weekend and it should be a good one.  He says to Google "NASA Eclipse" for more information.  So, get your cameras ready!
Happy Weekend!  See you Monday!


  1. I've been waiting for the tops of my garlic to turn browner. They're not nearly as brown as yours appear to be. I suppose I should just pull one up and see if they're "done," eh?

  2. Debbi,

    Directly from Rodale's Herb Encyclopedia:

    " Eventually, the tops will begin to bend and turn brown. If by midsummer they have not done so, don't wait: knock them down yourself. Withhold water and a few days later lift the plants. Place them on a screen i the shade for several days, then shake the direct free."

  3. Elora, Garlic adds such flavor to just about everything. Dr Duke says to eat a couple cloves every day to stay healthy. I follow his advice and add it to my salads. Years ago my health food store owners said not to refrigerate garlic -- something about the flavor and loss of nutrients -- cant't remember exactly but this I also follow in using my garlic.

    My tiny garden patch always grows a few garlic plants -- not enough -- but enough that I still feel like the gardener I once was. I believe I will try one of the garlics you mentioned from Seed Savers. I like the idea of BIG garlics. Oh , and I let the tops just begin to blossom before I pull them. I then use the tops in salads.

    As a died in the wool garlic advocate, I really enjoyed your post -- very informative! -- barbara

  4. How could one cook without garlic! I like to plant a few cloves in a pot for the kitchen window and use the green shoots in scrambled eggs.