Please join us for an online Garlic Planting Party sponsored by Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply! Simply post your favorite way to use garlic and you’ll be entered to win a prize package that includes 1 pound of Purple Italian organic garlic seed.
Join the Garlic Celebration
The folks at Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden have partnered with 8 garden bloggers for a one-of-a-kind online Garlic Planting Party to celebrate Allium sativum.
It’s easy to join the party. All you have to do is post a comment on this blog and on as many other participating blogs as you like. The party starts on October 10 and ends October 17.
Each blog will offer a different kind of organic garlic seed from Peaceful Valley/Grow Organic.com, experts in growing garlic. I chose the organic Purple Italian because it’s a classic garlic that’s perfect for all kinds of Mediterranean recipes.
In addition to the garlic, the prize packages include 1 quart of Liquid Kelp extract for soaking garlic cloves overnight before planting, a 10-gallon Smart Pot for growing garlic in a container, 1 Garlic Twist for easy mincing of your garden fresh, homegrown garlic and a full-color garlic print suitable for hanging.
I hope you’ll attend our online garlic festival as we sing the praises of this ancient and indispensable herb.
- Plant 4-6 weeks before the first hard freeze so the garlic can start to root and grow.
- Buy good quality, organic garlic seed. Look for fresh, unblemished bulbs that don’t have any soft spots or other problems. Soak seeds overnight in Liquid Kelp before planting.
- Locate a sunny spot. Plant in well-drained, loose soil that’s rich in organic matter (like compost). Plant only the largest cloves for best results. Separate cloves from the bulb carefully and plant each clove with the pointed end up, 1-2 inches deep and about 3-5 inches apart. Cover with soil and a thick layer of mulch. Keep garlic from drying out over the winter.
- Feed garlic with a high-nitrogen fertilizer in spring when the garlic starts growing. Garlic is ready to harvest when about half the leaves turn brown and fall over. Carefully dig garlic with a garden fork. Use garlic fresh or let it cure to extend shelf life.
If you plant hardneck garlic–like organic Purple Italian–watch for the tall flower stalks called scapes to emerge and cut them while they’re still young and tender. (The scapes are delicious grilled, sauteed or stir fried.)
Bulbs will grow larger if the plant’s energy isn’t spent on producing a stalk and aerial cloves called bulbils. Leave one scape intact to signal when garlic is ready to harvest when the scape unfurls.
One of my favorite recipes for home-grown garlic is baked and spread on crusty bread or crackers.
This is an easy recipe and the rich fragrance of the garlic baking adds to its appeal.
Whenever you use fresh, chopped garlic, allow time for it to sit a few minutes before cooking.
This respite, about 10-15 minutes, allows the garlic’s health-promoting compound called allicin to form.
One or two whole garlic bulbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried herbs such as oregano or leaf thyme
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel the loose, papery skins off the garlic bulbs; slice off the top of each clove.
- Lightly drizzle each clove with olive oil and sprinkle with the herb(s) of your choice.
- Place in a garlic baker or seal in a foil bundle and bake for about 45 minutes.
- Remove garlic baker lid or carefully open foil and return to the uncovered garlic to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned.
- Cool slightly before serving; squeeze cloves from their skins while still warm and spread on bread or crackers.
What’s your favorite way to use garlic in your cooking? Please post your comment here to be entered to win a Peaceful Valley/GrowOrganic.com Garlic Planting Party prize package. One comment will be selected at random from all comments posted by Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at midnight Pacific Time.
While you’re at it, please stop in at the other garden blogger’s sites for a chance to win these varieties, too:
Chiot’s Run has the Garlic Combo Pack (4 varieties of garlic, plus French Red shallots)
North Coast Gardening has organic Russian Red hardneck garlic
Living Homegrown has organic German Red hardneck garlic
Dirt Du Jour has organic French Red shallots
Gardenerd has organic California Early White softneck garlic
A Suburban Farmer has organic Purple Glazer hardneck garlic
Peaceful Valley/GrowOrganic.com has Bogatyr hardneck garlic