It’s mid-Autumn–the perfect time to plant garlic!
Even if you’ve never gardened, garlic is a super easy and satisfying crop to grow. You don’t even need garden space, just pot will do. If you have a feed store or garden center, you can buy garlic for planting. I am using feed store garlic for the first time this season. In previous years, I purchased the biggest, prettiest garlic I could find in the grocery store. Either way will do, but if you buy garlic from the grocery be sure to use the small cloves in cooking rather than the garden. I will say that that feed store garlic I bought had consistently large cloves, unlike the grocery store variety that had various sized cloves.
To plant your garden in a container or garden, you need loose soil. Garlic will grow in soil that’s tight, but it will be smaller than garlic grown in loose soil. It’s not too picky, but I do like to amend the soil with a little blood meal. Bulbs like blood meal and will grow larger if you add a little.
Break the cloves apart and leave the papery skins on them. Shove them into the soil about 2 inches deep (pointy side up!) and give them a little mulch and water. Garlic likes full sun and mulch (to keep down weeds and conserve water).
In several months, your garlic will send up a scape. Many people snip off the scapes to encourage larger bulb development. Don’t toss those scapes! Cut them when they’re 4-6 inches tall and still curly, and use then to make garlic scape pesto! Thanks to the Accidental Locavore for this great recipe.
- bunch garlic scapes (about 20-mine loosely fit my food processor work bowl )
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
In the work bowl of a food processor add the garlic scapes, pine nuts and Parmesan and process until finely chopped. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil. Keep adding until the pesto is the desired consistency—I like it to be a fairly thick paste. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice, process until mixed. Taste and check for seasoning.