Garlic! Yes, that pungent, vampire slaying and healthy edible garden super star. We made garlic #7 because we use tons of it, it grows well for us, and it’s really healthy. There are a lot of health claims for garlic and we are not sure exactly which ones are true. What we do know is much of the garlic in our local supermarkets come from far off places like China. Kind of odd since “the garlic capital of the world” is Gilroy, Ca.
Why is locally grown garlic healthier than the supermarket varieties? In our opinion it is a matter of trust. China has not proven to be a great trading partner to the rest of the world. Google “China and food exports” and read for yourselves. Tainted or fake honey, chemically laden fish, false claims around organics, the list can go on and on. We are not saying every food from China is bad for you, but why take a chance?
In the case of garlic we have options. First, with some planning it is easy to grow your own. Here is a quick, easy video we made to help first timers learn the basics of planting garlic. The bad news is you are too late to plant garlic for the 2014 growing season. Garlic is planted in the Fall of the following year. Do not worry, you have options (beyond moving to the Southern Hemisphere).
There are many local farms growing garlic these days. Sure, it may cost a bit more to buy local, but what a difference in quality and taste. In addition, we think it is nice to know where your foods are grown.
Another option is to trade with someone who grows garlic in their backyard edible garden. Garlic is picked around June in NJ. We do not need a calendar to know this because each June and July we see signs declaring “garlic for sale” all around our area. Maybe you have an abundance of early summer squash or greens to trade with your local garlic grower?
Finally, it is a treat to see the green shoots of garlic popping up from the soil as Winter sets in. Our garlic shoots are covered in mulch right now, but a quick peak beneath the mulch reveals the vibrant, green garlic tops. A nice signal of Spring life to come!