Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pungent, attractive, repulsive! Garlic!

Pungent, attractive, repulsive, garlic has an ability to to penetrate wether invited or not.  We have found garlic to be one of our most easy going friends in the Conucos.  Contrary to most vegetables, garlic is planted in the fall, endures the harsh winter with ease, and is harvested in the heat of summer.  We have not purchased garlic from the market in years, as a little sweat and attention on our part gives us more than enough garlic to use in the kitchen, in medicinal preparations, and for spiritual purposes.  The beauty of growing our own garlic is that we replant part of our harvest for next year's garlic.  We replant the best of our harvest, and so every year our garlic improves and becomes more in harmony with the soil, microorganisms, fungi and climate in our unique location.  In this way our garlic becomes more and more suited to our environment here!  
The main two events in the garlic year are planting (anytime from October to December) and harvesting (early July).   We plant 3 varieties, hard neck, soft neck, and elephant.  Each have their strengths. In the next few years we will be giving each variety their own names as they will have become selected specifically for our location here.  Every year we choose the best to replant.  The best being based on how well they store, the size of the garlic, and disease resistance.  
After harvest the garlic is hung to dry in our loft and later roots are trimmed off them.  They must be handled gently as any bruising will destroy their ability to store.
Once garlic is dry we take it down and store it in a relatively cool and dark place (not too cool or it will sprout (40-55 degrees F)).  
Some of the added benefits of growing our own garlic is that we have access to parts that are usually thrown away such as garlic scapes (garlic flowers), and the discarded garlic roots, which we patiently wait for all year, which then takes up its magical place in our Munanso.  

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