Friday, December 10, 2010

Aglio fresh and local

This is Nancy and Michele with our Garlic harvest. Garlic is a remarkable plant, easy to grow but it has given me several years of grief. I think the grief is over now purely because Kaye picked up a bag of locally grown Garlic late in the autumn.

The trouble with Garlic has been getting quality bulbs. Without proper preparation and planning we were forced to head down to the market to buy Garlic which was either far too expensive or amazingly cheep.  Of course if it was amazingly cheep it has been freighted to Australia from the other side of the world, bleached and treated to prevent it sprouting. I'm not sure, but I think this is a quarantine regulation. Anyway first Kaye then Lisa found some cloves, a different, smaller variety it turns out. Just went out an got them. Probably got so frustrated that I prevaricated (fiddled) for so long. OK so what do we do with it? There's hardly enough to pot and sell. Well they were planted into one of our Magic Square Gardens and given the winter and spring to develop. And guess what! After the latest big dump of rain the plants were looking a little poorly so I dug one up and low and behold, beautiful fat Garlic cloves. One thing to note our Garlic plants never looked stunning.  Dangerous Don the font of all horticultural knowlege (and sadly crippled at the moment) tells me that the potting media needs additional lime for Garlic. Makes sense as our general mix is relatively acid. We'll need to work out something clever before we plant in the Autumn.

Nancy got involved because she and her husband dry Garlic at home (you might remember that Nancy also cleans Tomato seed beautifully... Oh and makes fantastic Bruschetta and Pizza and...) We'll hang this little stash up in the shed to dry, then pot up individual cloves perhaps in February. Of course we'll have to keep a small bag full to plant out for next year's crop. Considering our industry it's remarkable how little really seasonal growing we do like this. I'm very proud we have grow our little Garlic crop and I'll be very proud to sell this as Genuinely Australian Grown Garlic.

Just as an aside we also were given about 4 Elephant Garlic cloves and the same quantity of Egyptian Walking Garlic. I'll treat these a little differently and try to collect seed. They're interesting plants in their own right so I give them more detail at a later date.

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