I love garlic. Just LOVE it! All of it, cloves, greens and even the roots. Some are repelled by the smell of it, I am not one of them. Maybe got it from my Dadi (grandma) who would sprout her own mung beans, mix it with chopped tomatoes, minced green chili (tons of them), cilnatro, a good squeeze of lime juice, toss in salt and pepper and had that as breakfast every morning with the side of a couple cloves of raw garlic, every morning, for as long as I remember. She lived until just shy of a couple years before hitting a century, washed her own clothes and made her own bed till her last day. Or my dad, another lover of raw garlic who can still run a half marathon and can easily beat his kids on a tree climbing competition. Well I do not say that garlic gave them the super power but I do know that eating a garlic everyday did play a good role.
I might not be brave enough like my folks who can eat raw garlic as is and rather mix it with other flavors like in this cilantro chutney or this garlic chicken but I still love the robust flavor garlic brings to my food. And this love recently made me take the next step and grow some in my backyard. Now midsummer is the best time for harvesting garlic living in the Bay Area, close to Gilroy, its in abundance around that time but the prices for the same garlic skyrockets in winters in many place. So its a great idea to just sow your own garlic in fall, which is the best season for sowing garlic, enjoy your greens through winter, and then harvest and store them in summer. A healthy and matured garlic bulb stays for almost six months. And the best part, its so easy to grow your own garlic that if you try this once you will be hooked like me. So much so that you might end up writing a full post about it. Now I do not say I am an expert, instead I am still learning and waiting for my first crop to mature but I just want to share the happiness with you!
Things you need:
1-2 garlic bulbs (depending on how many plants you plan to grow)
If sowing in a pot, which is totally doable but beware you will not get whole matured garlic with the potted plant but you can still enjoy your greens. For this you will also need:
Potting soil, Pot (approximately 4 inch high), A saucer to place the pot on to hold the drippings
Find a spot in your yard which catches good sun. Soften the soil of about 2ftX2ft. If using a pot, fill the pot with potting soil.
Break the garlic cloves apart. Sow the cloves vertically into the soil, tail facing up. Press cloves into the soil so they stay at place. Water them well for the first time and make sure they get direct sunlight at least 4-6 hours a day. Soil should stay moist to water them every time you see the soil drying out.
If using a pot, follow the same rules making sure the pot is placed at a spot that gets enough sunlight. Potted plants ask for lesser water compared to an outdoor plant so make sure you do not over water or underwater them. Best way to find whether your plant needs water- stick your finger in the soil, if its moist then the plant is happy but if the soil is dry then the plant needs to be watered.
Enjoy your greens that should sprout within a month and if you are patient enough you should be able to enjoy some homegrown garlic in about 5-6 months time. Just save a couple bulbs from the harvested matured garlic to be sowed again next season.
Some garlic loaded recipes: