Growing garlic right in our own backyard
As we’re harvesting garlic, we reflect back on how we got here.
It was almost a year ago that we decided to try growing garlic. We’d heard how our area is perfectly suited for growing garlic, thanks to the annual Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival. Since we use a fair amount of garlic in our savory dishes, we thought we’d give it a try.
We started our journey talking with garlic grower, Brian Hugick, of Hugick Farms, at last year’s Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival. Not knowing anything about garlic growing, we stopped by and asked Brian what we needed to know to start. Facing north on the side of a hill in the valley, we weren’t sure our location was ideal. Nevertheless, we decided on starting with three White German garlic bulbs from Hugick Farms–each one about as big as the palm of my hand. Brian took the time to explain separating the bulbs and planting each clove telling us that the soil in the Mohawk Valley is ideal for garlic. We planted all three bulbs last fall–and in the spring, every clove sprouted yielding its own perfect bulb!
About the scapes…
Before planting garlic, we hadn’t heard of garlic scapes. In fact, the first mention that I can recall was Brian talking about them. As the growing season progressed, we saw the scapes come up. Before they had time to flower, we cut the scapes to ensure the plants growing energy went into the bulbs and not the production of flowers. Nature’s time is wonderful as the scapes came up and were cut at about the same time our first zucchinis were being harvested. We sautéed the scapes along with diced zucchini in olive oil, added some salt and pepper along with some diced tomatoes and then topped it with some grated Parmesan cheese. It was quick and simple over rice, but goodness, the scapes made the meal delicious. We loved the flavor and can’t wait until next season to try more recipes with the garlic scapes.
Expanding our garlic patch
We are counting down the days for this year’s Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival as the organizers finalize their preparations celebrating their 20th festival on September 9th. Since last year was our first year planting, we were in learning mode, and honestly, still are. This year, we want to expand our garlic patch a bit and since we had such great results, why not? I’d love to have a year’s worth of garlic for all of our favorite dishes and marinades. In just over two weeks, we’ll be at the Garlic Festival ready to buy some more garlic bulbs for planting, try some new herbs, and check out what all of the vendors have in store for us! So excited!