Thursday, October 23, 2008
Knoblauch is the German word for...
I've decided to try something new this year.
I guess this isn't really big news, since pretty much everything I've done in the last year has been new to me. So, adding to the list of
- Quitting my job
- Selling my house
- Moving to the country
- Buying a dozen chickens
- Becoming a foster mama for a group of donkeys from a national donkey rescue
- Giving penicillin injections to calves
- Plowing a 20 acre field with an discer hooked to an International tractor...
I've decided....to grow garlic.
I know, another big step, right?
But, I love garlic...it smells good, it tastes delicious, and it looks pretty when braided. Until about 2 months ago, this was pretty much all that I knew about it.
Since then, I've done a bit of research. Garlic supposedly grows quite well here in Oregon, so the only thing delaying me was where to plant it and what kind to plant.
I found what I thought was the perfect spot for it in an upper garden plot that I hadn't planted anything in this year. It's up against some big rocks, so I hope to use some passive solar heating to my benefit here:
After turning over the dirt and amending it with a bit of compost and chicken manure, I figured it was ready to go:
All I had to do now was obtain my garlic sets. This was harder than I would've thought - none of my local farm/agriculture stores carried them and all the nurseries close to me didn't have any. What's a girl to do?
My pal, Angie, at Children of the Corn, was, as usual, able to help. "Go to your local farmers market", she stated matter of factly. So I did just that and I scored big:
I came home with five different varieties of garlic all grown locally here! Four of my choices are hardneck varieties, the fifth type (the Italian) is a softneck variety - just what I need for my garlic braids!
The next step is to break each of these heads into individual cloves for planting:
It's important to select the largest and healthiest looking cloves to plant and then plant the cloves pointy side up and about 1 to 3" deep in the soil:
Now that I've found my garlic and see how many individual cloves I've got, I'm clearly going to need a bigger patch of ground!:
Wouldn't it be fun to have my garlic garden ultimately look like this? (not my garden):
Do you have any obsessive personalities in your life? If not, you do now. Me. Those five varieties of garlic weren't enough for me, apparently. When I happened upon a local nursery yesterday afternoon and saw they not only actually had garlic sets but even some new varieties that I hadn't seen yet, I just HAD to get a few more:
The Nootka Rose is a Northwest Heirloom variety of garlic and another softneck variety (more braids, yay!):
The Inchelium Red is labeled as an "Artichoke Garlic". I'm not really sure what that means, but it is another softneck variety that has won taste tests, has a bit of "hot" to its flavor and stores very well:
And, being the good half-German that I am, I needed the German Porcelain variety. It supposedly does well in any environment, which if all the others fail, may be the only type I wind up successfully harvesting:
Of course, I will be diligently charting how each variety does, how much I harvest, and which ones taste the best - similar to my egg counting/weighing nerdliness that I have been engaged in since early July.
So, keep your fingers crossed that by next September, not only will we be making the most incredibly delectable garlic dishes, I may also have a few of these hanging around:
After that, I can work my way up to making these!:
Ja, es stimmt: Knoblauch macht Spass!