Today I want to talk about garlic. Growing your own garlic is a very fulfilling task. The varieties available to home growers are far more diverse and flavorful than what you can find at the grocery store. Plus, growing garlic is easy. What I like is you can even grow it in a pot if you don’t have room anywhere else. Garlic has a long growing season. It takes about 8 to 9 months for a small, planted garlic clove to develop into a ready-to-harvest head of garlic. I started mine during August in my greenhouse in a pot.
There are two types of garlic for growing in containers or in the ground: Hard neck and soft neck. Due to its hardiness, hard neck is the best garlic for growing in cold climates where cold winter temperatures are the norm. Because soft neck varieties are often less winter hardy, they are best grown in mild climates.
When picking the pot to plant the garlic, make sure your pot is frost proof and has a drainage hole. My garlic-planting pot is 22 inches in diameter, and I plant 8 to 10 cloves inside. The larger the container, the more cloves you can plant, and the less frequently you have to water.
Garlic needs a well-drained soil mix, or the cloves may rot, especially during the winter if you receive a lot of precipitation. But garlic also needs fertile soil that’s heavy enough to support the tall plants and expanding heads in the spring and summer. Put a granular organic fertilizer that is formulated specifically for bulbs into the pot. Then you should top your pot with leaves or straw when winter really arrives.
Garlic may be one of the world’s most versatile culinary herbs and greatest medicinal plants. It’s the herb of choice for colds, flu, sore throats, and sluggish digestion. Garlic also stimulates immune activity, improves circulation, and helps lower cholesterol.
To pickle garlic, pack a clean sterilized wide mouth 1 pint jar about ¾ full of whole peeled garlic cloves. Warm together 1 ¼ cups of apple cider vinegar and ¾ cup of honey until melted and pour over the garlic. Allow to sit at room temperature overnight, then refrigerate for 3 to 4 weeks before using. Pickled garlic will last for several months in the refrigerator. When a recipe calls for garlic, I use the pickled garlic and it tastes so much better.
Remember, let’s plant some herbs!!!!
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