A quick internet search of “garlic benefits” gave in 303,000,000 results. Need I say more? One of my go-to remedies for just about anything that ails me is raw vinegar and garlic shooters. In theory the raw vinegar balances stomach pH and rejuvenates the gut microbiome, while the garlic provides beneficial nutrients and compounds that support health. It seems to work, but it could just be the psychology of my brain telling me to get better so I don’t have to suffer through another shooter.
According to Medical News Today, garlic (Allium sativum) has been used around the world for 5,000 years. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. From reducing cancer risk to curing the common cold, there are countless peer reviewed scientific studies that show garlic is powerful medicine. But maybe the best thing about garlic is what it can add to your favorite food.
Michael Beavers was the chef who taught me how to make soup. A big man from New Orleans, I will never forget him standing over the 40 gallon steam kettle throwing in pounds of butter with a big smile on his face. In a typical Louisiana drawl he stated, “Doesn’t matter what soup ya’ll making, ya always start with garlic, butta, and onuuon..” I’ve never forgot that and it has yet to fail me.
Another great thing about garlic is that it’s easy to grow. There are two main types of garlic, hardneck and softneck. Hardneck is the one best suited to our cold climate and can be identified by the hard stem that runs through the middle of the bulb. Hardneck garlic tends to have larger cloves. Hardneck garlic should overwinter.
In one of our earliest videos, you can see a jig that I put together to help with the planting. As you can see, it’s late fall. This is the perfect time to start planting your Hardneck garlic.
I try to have garlic planted by the first of October, or at least three weeks before the ground freezes solid, Plant approximately 2” deep to the top of the clove, pointed side up, root end down. You will want to mulch heavily, 4- 6” deep with clean straw or leaves. If you use straw, make sure it has been combined. As crazy as it seems, straw is worth more than oats, and often farmers will harvest the straw with oats still on the stems, which creates a weed mess when the oats sprout the following spring. A perfect example of how something that is typically not considered a weed becomes one, because it’s growing in the wrong place. You can mulch immediately after planting or wait for the cold weather to set. I typically do it right away.