Have you ever tried to kiss someone after they’ve eaten spaghetti sauce that was loaded up with garlic? Phew! You can nearly smell them from a mile away let alone when they’re right in front of you! But while that scent can be quite a powerful smell to inhale, the rewards of eating garlic definitely outweigh the stinky negatives.
Garlic falls into the same category as onions, leeks and shallots, but unlike its family members, it’s known for being a medicinal plant in addition to flavoring any number of dishes. Garlic contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, helps to improve cholesterol, and may even reduce toxicity levels in the body, according to various nutritionists.
It’s also relatively easy to plant and maintain garlic, so you may want to consider growing your own this year, to be ready just in time for Spring. The ideal time to plant garlic is in the Fall/Winter (you can plant in Spring, but experts say that your bulbs will grow larger and potentially more flavorful if you start the process in the Fall or Winter). Here’s what you need to get started:
- A sunny spot of soil, reaching 12 inches deep
- Cloves of garlic (from a plant or garden shop, don’t just plant the cloves from a bulb of garlic that you can purchase at a grocery store). There are several types of garlic cloves to decide from. You can check out www.motherearthnews.com to find out which is best for you.
- Your thumb
You’ll want to prepare the soil by loosening it and applying a thin layer (1 inch) of manure on top of the soil. You’ll want to plant each clove about a hand’s length away from each other with the pointy ends up and the fat ends down. From there, you’ll stick your thumb straight into the ground and then plant the clove about 2-4 inches deep, packing the soil tightly around the top.
Harvesting the plant: the harvest time may vary, but when the tops start to yellow, you know that it’s just about that time When you see this, you’ll want to use a digging fork to gently pull the plants up and then store in a cool place for 1-2 weeks.
Enjoy your freshly planted garlic and make sure to warn your sweetheart before going in for a kiss!