Several years ago my husband and brother-in-law were participating in the Customer in Residence program at the Thomas Moser studios in Freeport, Maine. If you aren’t familiar with Freeport it is the home of the Moser furniture empire and an old-fashioned outlet store town all wrapped up in one. It is also in one of the prettiest parts of our country. Husband was there to build a chair and I, and my sister, were there to get in some sister time and to shop. A perfect plan, I’d say.
While the guys were hanging out with the woodworkers, they learned one of the craftsmen was a grower of garlic. When he found out we also grow, or more accurately, had grown, garlic, he wanted to share what he had with us. I didn’t take a picture of what he gave us because I wasn’t sure it would amount to anything.
He gave us one clove of garlic to take home and plant. Yes, you heard that right.
One clove. One precious clove of his treasured heirloom garlic varieties, of which I can not, for the life of me, remember which one it is.
As soon as we got back to Michigan, among the winter dormant plants, I dug a small hole and planted that single clove of garlic. I then marked it with a spoon. Hoping no one would mistake it, come spring, for a weed and pull it or that the deer or squirrels would dig it up and destroy our entire crop. That was November 2009.
Come late summer, the one lonely stalk of garlic had somehow survived. We carefully dug him up and dried him and come November we broke apart the cloves and planted them. This time there were 7 cloves to plant.
Luckily they all took! The next November we proceeded to break the heads up and replant the cloves again beneath the gravel of our landscape and into the soil.
And this summer we had a great harvest. All 24 of stalks came up. We may have harvested them a bit late, there wasn’t much paper left on them to protect them, but they look really healthy, nonetheless.
And after *one* more year, we might venture to taste it. We should have enough then.
And it is just that easy to grow garlic. And with all the healthful and interesting uses for garlic, you really should give it a try!
And just for the record, yes, you can usually smell us coming. Garlic is known for making your body odor garlicky smelling, that’s a fact that no one can escape. The thing that most people don’t realize about this smell is that it is the one responsible for making garlic such a health food.
So really…. we don’t just smell of garlic, we smell of health!
If you ever get a chance to visit Maine, Just Do It!!
My daughter in Boston had a similar story and a whole closet of hanging drying garlic when I was there. I have heard the mosquitoes avoid garlic eaters,
You know, mosquitoes haven’t bothered me as much in recent years as they did in the past. I wonder if that’s why? Interesting to think about!
Hmmmm…I will have to see if I can find some heirloom garlic. Would be awesome to grow!
You can probably get some good garlic, to plant, at any of the farmers’ market. We’ve been buying and eating others’, that you can plant, too.
What a nice story, thanks for sharing! I work at Thos. Moser at the workshop in Maine and I printed a copy of this for “Garlic Bob”, the veteran cabinetmaker who supplied your original head of garlic and who’s furniture making skills are only rivaled by his gardening skills. He is thrilled to hear that you are having success with it! He told me that what you have is either Russian Red or German Red garlic.
Bob started out much the same way you did, planting just three gloves that he bought at a farmer’s market. After about 8 years or so he was up to 5,000 garlic plants until one snowless but bitterly cold winter he lost nearly all of them when the heads were pushed up out of the ground by frost heaves. He was devastated and almost stopped growing garlic. But his passion for growing won out and he started over, and this year harvested about 6,000 heads of garlic (about 3,500 are his, the rest are his neighbor’s). They expected to plant about 8,000 this year, and they’ll do it all by hand in just one day!
Here’s a link to Bob’s bio on our webstie: http://www.thosmoser.com/page.php?page_id=171
We just posted some photos from Bob’s recent garlic harvest on our Facebook page, thought you might like to see what thousands of garlic plants looks like!
Thank you, Scott!
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