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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Shultz

Great Garlic!

Updated: 3 days ago

CULTIVARS CURRENTLY IN THE GARDEN:
  • Romanian Red - Porcelain hardneck. Rich, very hot garlic with lingering aftertaste when raw. Originated from Romania. High allicin content.

  • Chesnok Red - Beautiful purple striped bulbs. Medium garlic flavor great in olive oil and salad dressing.

  • Ivan - Porcelain hardneck with rich, garlicky, strong, robust jumbo cloves are easy to use in the kitchen

  • Metechi - Purple striped hardneck. Known as one of the HOTTEST garlics raw!



Description of photos: Left: white and purple striped garlic bulbs in wicker basket. Center: peeled garlic bulb showing white and purple stripes on purple towel background. Right: purple garlic bulb split in half showing four cloves connected at the base with roots visible.

Images by: Murfreesboro Community Garden


HISTORY

Garlic is a member of the lily family, native to Central Asia and cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. Because of it’s strong flavor, garlic was shunned as food in the earliest American cookbooks, with most people thinking of it more for medicine than meals. Most of us in modern times double the garlic in recipes, and benefit from the taste AND medical advantages.


Scientific name: Allium sativum Flavor: xxxx Uses: xxxxx Origin: xxxxx


Related: onion, shallot, leek, chive, Welsh and Chinese onion. Companions: Tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, beets, parsnips, and carrots are all crops that benefit from garlic's powerful odor to deter common pests. Though few, there are some plants that actually suffer when planted near garlic. Be sure to keep asparagus, peas, beans, sage, and parsley far away from it, as their growth can be stunted. Pests: Bulb Mites, Purple Blotch (Embellisia fungus), Nematodes, Black aphids, Onion maggot (Delia antiqua) Pollinators: Garlic's flowers are hermaphroditic and arranged in a globular fashion in a cluster called an umbel. The flowers are typically white in color and have six tepals. Garlic primarily pollinates via cross-pollination, however self-pollination may also occur. The plant relies on insects for pollination.


Description of photo: Left to right: fresh garlic cloves, a peeled bulb showing clove formation, and an unpeeled bulb or 'head'.


GROWTH & HARVEST

Garlic is one of the crops that over-winters here in zone 7. We plant garlic cloves in the October/November and harvest scapes in May/June then harvest garlic bulbs in mid June/early July when the plant is turning yellow and falling over. This is a visual sign that the plant is finished feeding and developing the bulb. We like to order our garlic from the Northwest - they have longer cold seasons and produce great bulbs to start with. Keene Organics also carries several varieties that grow well here.


Hardneck / Softneck

Softneck garlic stems remain flexible. The plants can be braided together for drying. Softneck garlic is the common type available at grocery markets. Hard neck varieties tend to have larger cloves and thinner more papery skins.


GARLIC AS FOOD

Garlic plants produce three edible plant parts:

  • scapes - the curly stem of the flower. Usually one per garlic plant. Check out this recipe for Scape and Walnut Pesto.

  • early bloomed flower - once they mature the flower buds/seeds hard and not desirable

  • garlic bulbs - each clove planted grows into a whole garlic bulb with 6-10 cloves.

What is Black Garlic?

Black garlic is a type of aged garlic that is colored deep brownish-black. The process is of East Asian origin. It is made by placing garlic in a warm, moist, controlled environment over the course of several weeks, a process that produces black cloves. Black garlic is used in a wide variety of culinary applications.


Description of Photo: two garlic bulbs on a countertop with skin removed from the tops. The left bulb is fresh and the right clove is aged to black garlic.

Photo from: Wikimedia Commons




Recipe: Garlic Scape & Walnut Pesto



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