Garlic’s growth cycle is different from everything else, so it feels mysterious and magical. Tucking cloves in frigid soil late in the fall and then retucking (and swearing) after my chickens kick them all about, covering with a thick blanket of dried leaves and then waiting. Waiting while the snow falls and falls and warmth feels like a lifetime ago. All the while those spicy cloves are readying themselves in the icy earth, knowing with spring they will spit a tender green shoot straight up through that cold, wet soil. The first green of the season.
The first year I grew garlic I filled one whole bed and then, come August when we harvested garlic, I was left with an empty plot. My neighbor had the greatest idea: We now plant our garlic in single rows straight down the middle of every bed. That way, we can plant everything on either side of the garlic come spring. It works wonderfully because right when the garlic is pulled, the other veggies need more room. Brilliant.
Cleaning up the freshly dug bulbs
Our curing bulbs. This is a good site about curing and storage.
Usually, I just pile the bulbs in a basket to store but this year I braided. And, why oh why haven’t I done this before?! It was so fun and feels so swoony and festive to cook under garlic chandeliers.
Those braids are back-to-back. That’s a lot of garlic! Also, in looking at this photo I realize that patched spot on the wall looks like Africa.
I love harvesting food with my kids. It is such a heartening, satisfying, educational, fun activity. Margot is helping a lot this year and when it is just she and I in our small garden digging and chatting I am sublimely at peace. She is my daughter and she is my pal. Love that kid.
Speaking of that kid…in this week’s mama digs: threesome I wrote about our new slumber trio. ’Threesome’ is Andy’s punny joke about the third person who joins us in bed, who wedges herself like a rigid starfish between my husband and me so any chance at a twosome is a goner. Click to read.