Inexplicably, Fall 2011 was the very first time that I planted garlic. I'd just never thought of it before, but learning that it is totally low-maintenance and easy to grow inspired me to give it a try. My enthusiasm went a tiny bit unchecked. Because, as it turns out, we currently have 90 bulbs of garlic growing in the backyard. The green stuff around the whole border of the garden in the picture you see?
Planting garlic is SO simple. I've talked to some people who just buy grocery store garlic and plant the cloves, but my research indicates it's best to buy untreated garlic cloves from a garden center. The ones in the grocery store are usually sprayed with something that delays or prevents sprouting, and you could end up with a questionable product. So last year I hit up one of our favorite local garden stores and loaded up on garlic. Then I planted it, forgot about it, and was shocked to see how many little green things were popping up in March.
I'm keeping an eye on these guys - the first sign that they are getting ready for harvest is when the plants send up a scape. Which, by the way, is edible and tasty, as I learned from my sister last summer when she came upon a surplus of these in her CSA box. They make a lovely pesto. 90 of them? Makes a truckload of lovely pesto.
So, over the next 2 months I'll be on scape-watch. You cut them off not only because they are tasty and much easier to cook with when removed from the plant, but also because you don't want the garlic to spend its energy on feeding the scape. You want all the nutrients, sunlight and water to feed the tasty bulb growing below the ground. Stay tuned for more...