archived 8/21/2014


Some things will never change

We've been curing our garlic for the past few weeks. It's the same variety we have been growing for4 years, German Extra Hardy Garlic. We started with 25 bulbs, all lined up in a perfectly weeded row in our pristine little garden we first started in Kent, Ohio. We have slowly grown our seed every year. Eat most, plant some. There never seems to be enough for eating or planting. This batch of garlic was almost completely neglected. I think I weeded around it once. The chickens, the dog and the kids knocked over more plants than I want to think about. There was no time to weed or think about the garden this year. It has been all about chickens, pigs, cows, market and homeschool.

Last October was my mom's first and sadly, her last visit to our farm. We planted these garlic cloves the day she was here. I have been thinking about that day a lot since we harvested the garlic. We seeded some red winter wheat. I lassoo'd an escaped pig that day. It was so hot still. My mom died just a few weeks later.

I will always grow this garlic. I will save it every year until it just quits on me. It reminds me of the first garden we planted as a family just a few years ago. It reminds me of my last real moments with my mom. I want to fill up the pail they are stored in one day. I want to grow this garlic crop to a ridiculous amount. I want to know that in some way, that day in October wasn't wasted doing unimportant things. I don't think I will ever stop trying to impress her. I certainly don't feel finished trying to make her proud. So I grow garlic, I will always grow garlic.



If you've never planted a single thing, I recommend starting with garlic. It is such a rewarding little crop. You plant it in the fall when the chaos of summer is winding down. You throw some compost over it... and forget about it. In spring it shoots up scapes as a little teaser of things to come, and then in the boiling sun of July and August it's ready to come out of the soil and hang to dry for a few weeks. I love it because it is ready when all the other wonderful things that like to be roasted are ready too. To me summer is a vase full of black-eyed susans and a plate of roasted garlic, tomatoes and red peppers. Hope August is treating you well.