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In love with garlic!

The ancient Egyptians credited it with magical medicinal powers, and Roman legionnaires attributed their strength and stamina to the “stinking rose.” Garlic is one of my favourite garden crops.. quick to plant and very easy to grow, it stays buried  in the ground just waiting to be pulled, dried and cooked with!

I grew garlic for the first time last year and it is one of the easiest crops I know of! I have several troughs about 3 ft long and put 7 or 8 cloves of garlic in each in around October and basically just ignore them for the next 8 or 9 months! They sit in their little homes all green and lush looking and are seemingly indestructible! It was a horrible winter last year and I lost several plants in my garden, but the garlic just kept going.

We all know how great it tastes either as a flavouring or roasted whole as an accompaniment but it is also very good for us providing allyl sulfur compounds which some scientists believe have an ability to slow or prevent the growth of some cancerous cells.

It’s worth mentioning that the smaller you chop your garlic, the stronger the flavour and the more pungent it becomes. Garlic cloves which are cooked whole are generally quite mild so can be eaten whole, whereas garlic which has been pushed through a garlic press is 10 times stronger than garlic which has been chopped with a knife! Crushing also bruises the garlic so if you want a purer flavour, chopping is by far the best option. Therefore, if you want a milder tasting dish, either add whole cloves or lightly crush with the flat of a knife. I am adding some great garlic recipes shortly as I am in the process of drying my first crop of garlic, harvested about a week ago so ready to cook with next month.

I have to say I also love the whole process of pulling the garlic and drying it.. There is something really special about garlic bulbs hung up with the long leaves just draped and drying.. the faint garlicky smell permeating the room/shed. I have learnt this year how to make a garlic plait and it’s not as hard as it sounds if you take it step by step, and is really satisfying!

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6 thoughts on “In love with garlic!”

  1. JANE says:

    Hi Diva,
    Very interesting about your garlic growing.
    Do you have any suggestions how I should go about trying to grow garlic here in Crete ? The local garden shop does sell it as well as seed potatoes but here the earth goes like granite in the summer months in the heat.
    Thanks, Jane .

  2. Muddy Boots says:

    Hi Diva

    Will have to try out my garlic in troughs next time, though my deepest troughs are only 7″. I am wondering if the problem I had with my garlic is due to drainage problems. The compost was from my compost bin and checking it out in the tub, it is very damp, though I haven’t watered it for a few of days.

    It’s gone very dark up here in North Cambs, so hopefully we will get some of that well talked about rain. I don’t feel much like doing any gardening as I have spent the morning at the Doctors.

  3. Gardening Diva says:

    Hi Boots.. feel free to call me Diva if you like, it seems more friendly than GD..

    I was right about the size of my troughs so they are not that deep really but for two years now my garlic have grown great guns in them so I must be doing something right! And the scapes are such a bonus and make great garlic bread!

    I grew some spring onions last year but they didn’t really come to much, however, I left them in the ground over winter and ate them this spring and they were lovely. Radishes do indeed grow incredibly quickly and taste so good just pulled from the ground.. you won’t have long to wait for that!

    Really enjoyed your pictures of your garden, it looks lovely.

    Diva.

  4. Muddy Boots says:

    Thanks for the info GD. Didn’t know about Scapes until I started showing a bit more interest in garlic. I use garlic in just about all my cooking, but that’s not a lot as I am on my own. I have just sown some of Suttons Grow Easy Spring Onions as a try out. I have sown some radishes and am surprised at how quickly they ahve come up. They are in small troughs, but I thought I could use thedeeper trays for garlic next year and then I can use the tubs for tates. Having my second lot of tates for my lunch today. They are wonderful.

    Ken

  5. Gardening Diva says:

    Hi there Boots
    They are about 3ft long and 10 inches deep I think.. Will need to check next time I am in the garden.
    I grew Garlic ‘Ilica’ from Suttons and it has given me some lovely big bulbs and also ‘Purple Wight’ which have smaller bulbs but you do get the garlic scapes to use in cooking before you harvest so it’s almost two crops!

  6. Muddy Boots says:

    Hi GD

    Was interested to read your blog on garlic, as I like growing mine in large tubs, though this year has been disasterous – I got one small bulb to each plant and some were rotten. That’ll teach me to use an unknown type or country of origin from a supermarket!

    I wonder what depth are your troughs are as I have several spare that I could use for next year.

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