10 years ago our sweet friend Jodi brought us 6 heads of garlic from an organic garlic farm in New York where she worked for a summer. (And if you’d like to come home brown as a nut, and without an ounce of fat on your body, you should consider organic garlic farming!)
We split those 6 heads into about 30 cloves and planted them in the fall with care. They were harvested in the summer, saved and planted again that fall.
Repeat. And repeat. Then one year, you reach the tipping point and the numbers get crazy; this year the 2,000 garlic cloves we planted will grow into 10,000. If we do it one more time, 50,000. Mind boggling.
Growing organic garlic on our scale means we hand split every head by hand (harder than you think!) – a messy job best done sitting around for a long morning with coffee and a lot of helping hands. (Cough, cough, 4 kids, and obliging grandfather)
Then this same crew brings up a few loads of compost, spreads it into the 85 foot long beds and begins to place each clove into the soil by hand. Spatial-relations master, Nate, works out the planting pattern and we just follow it.
I get a dirty look, when the kids see I’ve stopped planting to grab the camera. This is all hands on deck, and no one has patience for Mom’s hobby. So I run it back to the house fast, and return for the quad workout of the century.
All the shoots are up by March, and by May we will have to hand cut 2000 scapes (delicious!) and then in late July, it will be time to harvest, braid, and dry. And next fall we’ll decide just how far we want to go with this whole thing :) In the meantime, if you know anyone looking to purchase a bulk of organic garlic, that stores fabulously, and has huge flavorful cloves, by all means, pass this along.