Monday, October 18, 2010

We Planted GAHHH-LICK This Past Weekend

From my perspective garlic is an absolute necessity.  It's a kitchen staple.  I can't imagine food without garlic.  Excluding ice cream, that is.  We decided to go whole hog this year and plant a bunch!  The bulbs and cloves are HUGE!

Seed Savers has fourteen varieties to choose from including such intriguing names as Music, Persian Star, Pskem River and Broadleaf Czech.  Of course, there is also Elephant Garlic, which is not a true garlic, but rather a type of leek and much milder in flavor.
Of the 13 varieties of true garlic available from Seed Savers, we decided on two:  German Extra Hardy and Georgian Fire.  The Georgian Fire probably goes back to Russian origin; however, Seed Savers obtained the original stock from the Gatersleben Seed Bank in eastern Germany.  Chefs call it a truly "white hot" garlic.  It has a strong garlic taste and raw is said to be great for salsa and salads.  It's a hardneck garlic, which means it's not braidable inasmuch as the neck (above the bulb) is stiff. 

The other variety, German Extra Hardy also has what is described a strong garlic flavor and is a vigorous grower with deep roots that enable it to overwinter. Our garlic last year was planted in an area of the garden that was too wet, so this year we're moving it to the opposite end. This variety also has a high sugar content and is one of the very best for roasting, and is also a hardneck.

The label that came with each variety has a little history of garlic. It dates to Central Asia about 4000 BC. Among other things, it was fed to pyramid builders, probably for strength, used as currency and found in King Tut's tomb in Egypt. In Rome, it was consumed by Olympic athletes and game cocks, also for strength. And, it was used as a medicine in India and China.

Currently, there are over 600 sub-varieties cultivated all over the world.

From time to time, the supplement industry suggests that ingesting a goodly amount of garlic provides healthful properties that will ward off colds and flu, but there doesn't seem to be much hard evidence for this except for the fact that with a heavy garlic breath, nobody wants to be around you!

If isolation is the price I must pay for enjoying this universal flavor additive, that's just fine with me! 


  1. Elora -- what a fine crop of garlic you will have next year. I am a believer in eating two cloves of garlic a day for good health. Even if it doesn't improve your health it is a good excuse to enjoy its wonderful flavor. Your sky in your header is gorgeous!-- barbara

  2. I planted a garlic last spring. First of all if you're planting now I guess that was the wrong time of the year right? And second, my whole herb bed died while I was gone so my one garlic bit the dust anyway I guess. :) Maybe I should run get some to plant now! blessings, marlene

  3. Barbara,
    I know many people that do likewise! Sure can't hurt! Marlene, if you want to start garlic this year, and are leaning toward something other than the supermarket variety, go to Seed Savers ( and buy two cloves. They're outrageous as far as cost! But it'w worth it. You'll get "seed" for the following year, and of course, geometrically thereafter. Choose one of the thirteen varieties (I'd suggest you ignore the Elephant garlic as (1) it's not real garlic and very mild (2) you can buy that at Sam's Club. (3) you'd probably enjoy experimenting and see which ones intrigue you. All you're going to do is fluff up the ground and get it weed-free. Split the cloves off the bulb; plant them in the ground (just set them up in a bit of a trench and lightly cover around each clove --don't cover the little tuft of skin that sticks up0 and mulch with about three inches of straw. You should be able, there, to plant way up into November. If you like garlic, you simply can't go wrong (except with drought and departure!!)OTOH, you may be surprise to discover that your garlic did't may still be extant, so keep watching for it!