One of the successes of the 2011 garden (my first ever) so far is the garlic. The cloves were taken from a CSA basket garlic bulb and put into the ground last Novemeber. After much anticipation, the resulting bulbs were finally dug up during two weeks ago and have been drying ever since.
I was torn between cutting the scapes and letting them form bulbils (flowers with baby cloves), but I decided to go with the latter. Many people insist that the bulbils zap energy from the garlic bulb, making it smaller. I suspect it might be true. What I should have done is tested this theory on half the crop. Oh well, next year.
So, I have a bunch of bulbils now. I cooked with two of them since they’re essentially teeny tiny cloves of garlic. The others have dried, and I’ll probably plant them this Fall in the hopes that they get bigger. Bigger cloves means I’ll get bulbs the following year. Yeah, garlic is complicated. I’m also going to sacrific half of this year’s garlic yield, and half of what I get from the CSA basket, so I’ll have more cloves to plant. I’ll select the best of the best to ensure I get nice-size garlic next Summer.
Local garlic is really pungent, fresh and tasty — unlike those cheap grocery store bulbs from China. I’ve read that local garlic is hard to find, and I suppose that’s true. But I think our globalized food system is partly to blame because it’s altered the our food shopping habits (and created unreasonable expectations when it comes to out-of-season variety and exotic foods). If you’re into breaking that habit, now is the time to stock up on garlic from farmer’s markets. Not just a few bulbs, but rather enough to keep you going until next year’s harvest. I hope to grow enough of my own garlic at one point to achieve this.
In the meantime, why not visit this nifty-sounding event a visit?
The 5th annual Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Garlic Festival on Saturday, August 20, 2011 from 9am to 2pm. I might swing by to check out some potential additions for the garden.