Hard work and patience have finally come to fruition with the harvest of our first crop; garlic. I am currently feeling a sense of accomplishment after a nine-month wait.
When I committed myself to moving in full time at the Edge of the Woods Farm our fields were rented out by the previous owner and covered in a cash crop monoculture of roundup ready soybeans. With the arrival of October, I anxiously awaited the moment when we could get into the fields and start healing the earth and planting.
Given the time of year, it made sense to plant garlic as our first crop. I already had an interest and passion for locally grown garlic. The distance that Chinese garlic has to travel and it’s ecological footprint on Mother Earth is quite worrisome.
As late-October rolled around anxiety about getting garlic in the ground set in. Instead of waiting for the fields to be cleared of the soy, we built up a few beds using a variety of organic matter we had on the farm. We grabbed old newspapers, leaves, compost, twigs, anything we could find and turned them into our first garden beds. A friend and cattle farmer, Stan Martin provided us with nourishing manure. With help and guidance from friends like Stan, we successfully built a garden bed full of the nutrients that our garlic would need. The beds quickly filled up with local, naturally grown garlic and we then moved on to the recently cleared fields. Before we knew it we had planted nearly 30 pounds of garlic.
To prepare for the winter we gathered even more leaves and straw from around the property to mulch the garlic that we had planted. We did this so that the garlic could establish itself, be protected from temperature fluctuations, and get comfortable over the cold winter that was coming.
I won’t forget the joy of seeing the first bit of greenery break the surface. It quickly filled our garden and field with beautiful green stalks. With plenty of rainwater and sunshine the stalks grew into curly green scapes that we started using to flavour most everything we cooked. Just over a month later we were ready to harvest. We are currently letting them cure for a couple weeks so they can keep well over the fall and winter months.
I’ve been known to eat raw garlic cloves. If that isn’t for you, a great way to take away garlic’s bite and to sweeten it, is to roast it. You can use it to enrich sauces or your favourite dish or simply enjoy it on it’s own spread on a piece of crusty bread.
How to Roast Garlic
- Local Garlic Bulb
- Olive Oil
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Cut off the top of the garlic bulb, set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt.
- Place in oven and cook until the garlic is soft and aromatic.
- Squeeze out the roasted garlic and use it in whatever preparation you choose.