Open Thread - Thurs - 18 Aug 2022: Garlic!

Garlic - Why Not?

I decided to 'relax' and write a bit about something we just harvested here in the last few weeks. Garlic.

I'm one of those people who really likes garlic. Although, hmm, lemme modify that. I really like fresh, home-grown, garlic. I don't like powdered garlic, or dried garlic. Those two things really make a person stench after they've eaten them. And I don't like that. I do love the smell of fresh garlic though, especially after it's been cut up before it goes into a meal!

When my husband and I were farming for our CSA and selling our produce to others, garlic was one of the regular items we offered. It is easy to grow; if feed a couple of times throughout its fairly long growing season (here it's September/October to August) and watered regularly, it will grow very well indeed.

Garlic and Lettuce growing on the farm back when we grew crops for sale. Yes, we plant lettuce in between the young garlic. If your soil is fertile enough this works and keeps down the weeds (for a bit)
garlic_lettuce_2493987369_o.jpg

So, the basics of garlic: there are two 'types' - hard-neck and soft-neck. Hard-necked garlic has a hard to bend stalk which grows up out of the center of the garlic head. It looks much the same as soft necked garlic (and both look a lot like leeks) but it often puts on a flower head, or scape. The young stalks of the scapes are edible! Hard-necked garlic can grow huge cloves, but there are generally only eight to a head of garlic. If the scapes are removed while young, the garlic plant will put all its energy into making garlic cloves and they can become huge.

2022 Harvest of Hard Neck Garlic. It's still curing. In a few days we'll cut off the stalks and put the garlic away for storage.
garlic_hard_neck_2022_harvest.jpg

Soft-neck garlic doesn't grow huge cloves, but grows many cloves per head. This is the kind of garlic available in the stores in the USA, generally a white soft-neck variety grown in or near Gilroy, CA. Soft-necked garlic is, as it says, soft necked. Its stalk can be bent. It generally doesn't flower.

Soft Neck Garlic. This is 2022's harvest. It's ready for storing.
garlic_soft_neck_2022_harvest.jpg

There are many, many varieties of garlic within the two types. Garlic has long been a staple food/herb/whatever. It originated in Asia. It was cultivated in Mesopotamia for at least 4,000 years, and was being used in Europe by the first millennium BC or early. It was quite popular in the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Basically, it's spread with mankind all over the world and quickly adjusted to its new growing areas.

So, it's possible to find varieties of garlic that will grow all the way up into northern Alaska and east across the continent to Maine or Newfoundland. The thing is, a lot of these different varieties, originating in Alaska, Siberia, China, Russia, or wherever, are not even close to the mild white California garlic most of us Americans are used to. They can be strong tasting, full of flavor, and can look very different with streaks of red and pink and purple.

If you find a variety of garlic you like, and it grows well where you live, you'll never need to buy seed garlic again. In fact, if you just keep growing the variety you like, even if it doesn't grow that well at first, it'll adjust to its new conditions and suddenly you'll have your own stable garlic variety. If you try to change to a different variety of garlic, over time, that new variety will adjust to your growing conditions and location and you'll, once again, have your own local variety. That's what happened here at the farm.

Garlic growing is easy, as I said. There are differences in the time of planting and harvest, depending upon where you live. But that's it. There are not, at least in my experience, many problems with insects or other pathogens attacking garlic. Garlic is stinky and strong and bugs tend to stay away. Of course, in wet and hot climates, you might have to watch out for moulds and mildews.

Garlic can survive harsh, freezing winters (down to Zone 4!). In the colder areas garlic needs to be planted early enough, in August basically, to put out roots but not stalks/shoots. So about 6 weeks before freezing happens. In milder climates, such as the PacNW, garlic is planted in September/October (and yes, November, I was late once or twice!). It grows and overwinters easily here, even if there's freezing or snow (or ice).

Garlic planted in a raised bed. We've scaled down and are only growing for ourselves now. This pic was taken in April. This is enough garlic for ourselves and for planting next year, and giving away as we wish.
garlic_3_apr_17.JPG

Check out the Wikipedia article for more on the history and cultivation of garlic. This webpage, from Gardeners Supply Company, has some good information about growing garlic. There are some good farms growing seed garlic for sale in the PacNW. Here's a couple, Great Northern Garlic and Hood River Garlic. I personally used Filaree Farm Garlic to develop our own varieties. They have a lot of different varieties of garlic for sale and a lot of information to learn from on their website.

We feed our garlic twice, after planting it into soil that's been enriched with composted manure. We feed the garlic by piling composted manure around it. That's all. Keep it well watered until about mid July (here). Check it from late July on to see if it's forming cloves. When cloves are forming (this happens for soft-necks earlier than hard-necks) then harvest the bulbs, let them dry in a place that doesn't get direct sun, then cut off the stalks and put them in a dry and dark place for storage. They will last until late spring (here) before they start trying to grow again.

To preserve it even longer, in late winter I separate all the cloves and take the garlic papers off them. Then I put them into a cuisinart and chop them. Then the chopped garlic goes into little storage containers (holding about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup) and I drizzle olive oil over the top. Then, I freeze the garlic in those little containers. I take out one once a week or so and defrost it and store it in the fridge. It's nice and fresh tasting, and already chopped for putting into food.

Ohh, and I always keep a few of the biggest and nicest bulbs of each garlic type for planting in the Fall. It's not easy to do this with store bought garlic because that often has sprout inhibitors sprayed on it, but if you grow it yourself, it's a breeze!

So, thanks for reading a bit about garlic and here's the open thread - and remember, everything is interesting if you dive deep enough, so tell us about where you're diving!

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Sima's picture

Hope it's not too hot, wet, sticky, icky where you are. We are supposed to hit 90 today, high for the Seattle area. I've got crabapples to harvest, gardening/weeding to do. Fun stuff!

Spent most of last night until around 1 am making pickles, hamburger chips, and relish. Husband and I have a decent stash of such now for about a year. Just as well, the chips and the relish are what make hamburgers and hot dogs edible for me!

What's on your minds? Whatcha doing/reading this week? Would love to read about it in the comments!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Lookout's picture

A nice summary on garlic today. Timely as it is almost planting season. Thanks. We use garlic in so many dishes. This time of year we keep a parsley salad going almost all the time with parm. cheese, garlic, ground nuts, and EVOO. We use it as a stand alone and topping.

We like to intercrop with with both garlic and onions to aid in pest prevention. We've just harvested a table full of tomatoes which I plan to put up once they fully ripen. We continue some fresh consumption, but after tomatoes everyday for two months we're beginning to tire of them. Funny how you can't wait till they ripen and then at the end of the season when you can't wait till they play out. I've got a couple of late tomato plants which will probably carry on till late Oct. or early Nov. Peppers are still kicking as well as figs. We've been shelling crowder peas in the evening and finally have about finished that task. Sweet potatoes have grown slowly this year for some reason. We had a bumper crop last year and still have a box or two if our harvest is poor this season, but we've still got over 2 months of growth remaining.

Been out bush hogging this morning. I've about got this round done, which should last till late fall. Well thanks for the OT, and all the best to all of you!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Sima's picture

@Lookout
Sounds like you are getting some good harvests of veg and more! Our tomato harvest this year is zilch, zero, nada. Why? The pasture rats and mice and other vermin are eating the half ripe tomatoes before we can harvest them. Have had this happen before. Last time, it was because the dog was too old and the cats were too old and eventually went off into the wilds and disappeared, as feral cats will do. As soon as the tomato crop disappeared, we adopted a couple more feral cats, and that took care of the problem! This time, again, the dog is getting very old and so are the cats (the ones that rescued us last time). Thing is, are WE too old to adopt more ferals? Heh.

On the other hand, the pepper crop is amazing. We've chopped and frozen about, hmm, 4 or more quarts of peppers so far. This was about 60 peppers or so. That doesn't include the hot peppers.

Anyway, it sounds like your growing is doing super well, and you are getting the rewards now (after all the work of storing everything of course!). Be well and have a great weekend!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

usefewersyllables's picture

an herb. Garlic is a *vegetable*. The people who only use leetle teeny dabs of it have it all wrong.... (;-)

My favorite recipe for garlic (with some protein impurities added) is from the Stinking Rose in San Franscisco: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (originally credited to James Beard). It *kills* in the wintertime, when one has a cold. Now, this is a fricasse. Such a treat!

4 ribs of celery, cut into long strips
2 medium-size onions, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
⅔ cup vegetable oil
16 chicken legs, any mix of drumsticks and thighs
½ cup dry vermouth
2½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
40 cloves garlic, unpeeled
French bread for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole (we use a cast-iron Dutch oven) with the celery and onions and add the parsley and tarragon. Place the oil in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces into the oil, coat all sides evenly and place in the casserole. Pour the vermouth over the chicken and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg. Tuck the garlic around and between the chicken pieces.

Cover the top of the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and fit the lid over the foil to create an airtight seal. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes without removing the cover. Check for doneness; return casserole to the oven if the chicken seems underdone. Serve the chicken along with the pan juices, the garlic and thin slices of heated French bread spread with garlic squeezed from the root end of the clove.

Num num num! And no vampires- that's another benefit...

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Sima's picture

@usefewersyllables
not an herb but a vegetable. However, most people seem to use it from the herb section, dried and processed in a shaker jar. Blech.

One of the things that Roman soldiers ate a lot of (Greek soldiers too) as a vegetable was garlic. Ancient writers talked about it. Wonder if you could smell them marching into battle??? Smile Smile

That recipe sounds great, btw. I'll try it come winter!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

that I was considering buying seed garlic this year because we have spotty success and quality with the stuff we normally use which is just stuff that we get for culinary uses divided into cloves and planted. Very timely column and I learned a ton. I'll get ours from Renees Garden, they have a mexican heirloom variety that is supposed to be wonderful, and maybe some shallots too.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Sima's picture

@enhydra lutris
I often grow those and really like them. The Mexican variety of garlic sounds interesting. I've found that if I get a variety that grows further south, it always eventually turns into something similar to the varieties that grow in the north. But for the first few years, they are different!

I'm glad this little post got you to thinking about garlic planting!

Have a great weekend!

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Not exactly the kind found in the garden:

https://t.me/sputnik/11154

Awesome Trolling--short video clip

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NYCVG

@NYCVG @NYCVG

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Sima's picture

@humphrey
I just don't get why people do this? Us, them, anyone... why???

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Sima's picture

@NYCVG
want to visit Moscow!

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4 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Edited to add:

I am not a fan of Trump and his supporters but Tulsi does make a valid point.

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Sima's picture

@humphrey
I dunno where to go with all of this though. They ALL need to be prosecuted and jailed, ALL of them. But... not a frapping chance that'll happen.

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

QMS's picture

Garlic has a long history of helping with health issues. Of course, everybody knows it
repels vampires and other devilish beings from folk lore. like to roast a head while
the grill is working on whatever else. Wrap it up in foil with a bit of olive oil. Develops a
nice nutty flavor. Also like to embed cloves in roasting meats. Make a slit and stuff it in.

My trouble with garlic is the peeling of the cloves in the raw state. Chop off the ends,
roll it in a rubber tube, and sometimes it takes a lot of the skin off. Then peel the skins
off the fingers and out of the tube. Quite a process. Usually worth it tho.

Thanks for the OT!

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Sima's picture

@QMS
Yum, yum, yum! Love it in meats too. Peeling the stuff is the hardest part with garlic, I agree. I have one of those rubber mats which, as you do, you make a 'tube' with and then press the garlic and roll it around to remove or loosen a lot of the skins. I also use a large knife and crush the clove with the flat of the knife, which also releases the skins.

Some varieties, not those available in the store, tend to have loose skins after they are cured, or easily peeled skins. Basically cut off the root end and the skins come off with the cutting!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

https://thecradle.co/Article/News/14481

As Washington mulls over the final text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) approved by Iran and the EU, details have emerged on the deal’s term, which include guarantees against future US attempts to abandon the agreement.

The new terms, which include comprehensive sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic, also allow Iran to revive its enrichment program more quickly than before, in order to deter the US from exiting on a whim.

“The platforms of the centrifuges will not be destroyed and their connections and electricity are collected, which brings our rebuildability to under one year and is a kind of guarantee,” explains an Iranian source, giving an example of one of the deal’s terms that are more favorable to Iran than in the original 2015 document.

The ball is in Washington’s court to sign off on the final terms, which Iran approved earlier this week.

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@humphrey but they will come up with something Just in Time.

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NYCVG

Sima's picture

@humphrey
Our govt will probably sign the agreement to look good, then destroy it because of some fake attack that they (our govt) made up and executed.

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

snoopydawg's picture

Shitlibs are cheering for the Ukraine Nazis while denigrating every Trump supporter as one here. Pelosi too calls them that while supporting them in Ukraine. You can’t make this sh*t up.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

CB's picture

@snoopydawg

Women and the Azov battalion in Kyiv, Ukraine 4:58 minutes

Mar 10, 2017 The Azov battalian is far-right and has a reputation for being a fierce fighting force. The group openly uses fascist symbols.

The group is recruiting more and more young people - many of them are women. Concern about democracy in Ukraine is growing.

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Sima's picture

@CB
Opinion changes when they are 'our' nazis /sarcasm/. Drives me nuts. Thanks for this video about how 'we' thought of the Azov battalion BEFORE they became 'ours' (meaning western Europe and American).

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Sima's picture

@snoopydawg
OUR Nazis, so we like them /sarcasm/. And they are WOKE too, so that makes them even better!

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

snoopydawg's picture

Remember that he declassified lots of the information before he left office and he wanted them released.

FBI Sought Documents Trump Hoarded for Years, Including about Russiagate

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last Monday was specifically intended to recover Donald Trump's personal "stash" of hidden documents, two high-level U.S. intelligence officials tell Newsweek.

To justify the unprecedented raid on a former president's residence and protect the source who revealed the existence of Trump's private hoard, agents went into Trump's residence on the pretext that they were seeking all government documents, says one official who has been involved in the investigation. But the true target was this private stash, which Justice Department officials feared Donald Trump might weaponize.

"They collected everything that rightfully belonged to the U.S. government but the true target was these documents that Trump had been collecting since early in his administration," says the source, who was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

The sought-after documents deal with a variety of intelligence matters of interest to the former president, the officials suggest—including material that Trump apparently thought would exonerate him of any claims of Russian collusion in 2016 or any other election-related charges.

"Trump was particularly interested in matters related to the Russia hoax and the wrong-doings of the deep state," one former Trump official tells Newsweek. "I think he felt, and I agree, that these are facts that the American people need to know." The official says

Too bad he didn’t do it right after Mueller's investigation fell flat on its face because he’d have had more time to get them released. But he got lots of pushback from the people who didn’t want it released.

My thread is dead so I’m posting it here.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

https://t.me/sputnik/11154

No words necessary

58 seconds of Great trolling.

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NYCVG

QMS's picture

may be seen tonight as far south as 40 degrees north latitude.
Something about solar flares, solar winds and plasma bursts attacking
the earth's stratosphere. May be able to see some color dances in the sky.
Affecting satellites and all the little electronic boxes is your closet.
Don't panic!

53403af3bb709f8ca4d8688d2e70867d.jpeg
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@QMS for sky viewing! I may travel to Alaska just to see them. It is on my list of places to go, things to do.

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Sima's picture

@QMS
We have clouds in western WA. Nature, or whatever, almost always times it so that we have clouds when something cool is supposed to happen in the night sky. In fact, the possibility of seeing the northern lights was there last night (Wed. night) so we had clouds then too. The clouds, combined with the hot weather, made for a very steamy Thursday. So unusual here!

Hope others get to see the northern lights! They are so gorgeous!

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Garlic was one of the things I grew with ease. They always harvested as planned.
Most all of my main dish dinner meal recipes require garlic.
Must take a little break, enjoy the rain!

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Sima's picture

@on the cusp
That rocks!!! We might get some in the mountains tonight. The PacNW, unlike a lot of other places, is not in drought... yet. I'm so glad to see other areas getting rain, although perhaps not the amounts Death Valley just got!

Enjoy the rain, and have some garlic to celebrate! Smile

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

janis b's picture

I’ve only tried growing garlic once. It was my first garden here in NZ and it was an utter failure, for multiple reasons, but primarily I think because the soil was so soggy for too long. Also maybe not fertile enough, considering there was no former soil building and the ground is mostly clay. My garden has condensed over the years due to a decent sized area lost to bamboo running underneath, and less energy. Now I just grow a good variety of leafy greens (favourite is arugula and cabbage family greens), leeks and scallions, beets, fennel, green beans and tomatoes.

Whenever I ask myself “what 3 flavours I would choose to have in my pantry if I could only choose 3”, the answer is consistently garlic, lime and chilli. Herbs would be cilantro, tarragon and basil. Salty ingredients would be sea salt, tamari, and fish sauce. Vinegar and olive oil naturally.

I look forward to reading about the history of garlic.

Thank you Sima, and happy gardening and harvesting.

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Sima's picture

@janis b
I didn't even know what they were until I moved to England in the early '80s. Learned to love them almost immediately. One of my favorites is 'leek and tattie' soup (Leek and Potato). Love that stuff!

I grow leeks and onions as well as garlic. I think you are right about the soggy soil. Garlic does not like soggy soil.

As for flavors in the pantry, I agree, garlic, lime and chili. I also use a lot of cilantro, which is weird, since I hated it when I was a kid. I guess I grew up! I adore basil. My husband would insist upon oregano as one of the three staples, I think. Me, I might add dill instead :).

You should be moving into spring soon!? So happy planting! Smile Smile

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

janis b's picture

@Sima

I also didn't have any experience of leeks before living in Germany. It would be difficult now to live without them ; ).

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