8.08.2011

garlic

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Garlic's growth cycle is different from everything else, so it feels mysterious and magical. Tucking cloves in frigid soil late in the fall and then retucking (and swearing) after my chickens kick them all about, covering with a thick blanket of dried leaves and then waiting. Waiting while the snow falls and falls and warmth feels like a lifetime ago. All the while those spicy cloves are readying themselves in the icy earth, knowing with spring they will spit a tender green shoot straight up through that cold, wet soil. The first green of the season.

The first year I grew garlic I filled one whole bed and then, come August when we harvested garlic, I was left with an empty plot. My neighbor had the greatest idea: We now plant our garlic in single rows straight down the middle of every bed. That way, we can plant everything on either side of the garlic come spring. It works wonderfully because right when the garlic is pulled, the other veggies need more room. Brilliant.

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Cleaning up the freshly dug bulbs

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Our curing bulbs. This is a good site about curing and storage.

Usually, I just pile the bulbs in a basket to store but this year I braided. And, why oh why haven't I done this before?! It was so fun and feels so swoony and festive to cook under garlic chandeliers.

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Margot and I watched this video about braiding. Bug helped trim the roots.

PhotobucketThose braids are back-to-back. That's a lot of garlic! Also, in looking at this photo I realize that patched spot on the wall looks like Africa.

I love harvesting food with my kids. It is such a heartening, satisfying, educational, fun activity. Margot is helping a lot this year and when it is just she and I in our small garden digging and chatting I am sublimely at peace. She is my daughter and she is my pal. Love that kid.

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Speaking of that kid...in this week's mama digs: threesome I wrote about our new slumber trio. ‎'Threesome' is Andy's punny joke about the third person who joins us in bed, who wedges herself like a rigid starfish between my husband and me so any chance at a twosome is a goner. Click to read.

30 comments:

oversewn said...

What a super post! Forwarding it to many.....

I was thinking more India?
:)

dig this chick said...

India! You are right. ha.

Jenn said...

via mamalode.com:

“..a short child who consumes the space of Andre the Giant.” A truer statement has never been written.

Tina said...

Your pretty garlic braids have made me decide that yes, for sure I will be planting garlic in the fall. Wouldn't have even known to do it in the autumn so I'm certainly glad this post told me to do so! ;)

6512 and growing said...

via mamalode.com:

I love how children defy labels. Like, the one who was always a good sleeper, one day…isn’t.
I think they’re just trying to keep us on our toes.
You’ve got a good attitude, which seems the best parenting skill of all.

Lisa said...

via mamalode.com:

A starfish! That’s the perfect description for my boy whose feet are kicking me in the head while his head is jammed into my husband’s lower back.

Jennifer said...

via mamalode.com:

I enjoy your take on this Nici! I needed the gentle reminder after my nights of no sleep from my youngest (see my post from last week…)

I LOVED when I had my kids snuggled into bed in the morning…..AFTER a good night’s sleep. Some of my most fond memories lie in the “fivesome” bed we had when the kids were little– early in the mornings after they awoke in their own beds.

A change is a comin’…..enjoy those precious, fleeting moments of sandwiched safety and sweet snuggles.

Tina said...

via mamalode.com:

I am beyond in love with the intimacy that comes with sharing your bed with a child (or children). Although my own sleep does suffer when one of our girls (or both!) are wedged between us, I swoon over the closeness and the comfort that comes from it both for them and for us. Neither of our girls are in our bed very often, but when they are it’s always worth it!

Zoe said...

via mamalode.com:

Our daughter, whom we called the ‘H-bar’ is recollected at this reading. LOL

She would just stretch out, arms above her head, digging into me, little legs fully stretched to the other side, digging into her dad, he and I just barely hanging onto the edges of the king mattress, backs to her/each other, fingers gripping the binding, pretending we were still able to sleep. HA!!

Ah, sweet and funny memory now. Yes, you will treasure it. For now, more coffee.

clove's corner said...

via mamalode.com:

Oh, this is lovely! Usually we hear about how independent Margot is, so adorable to hear about her new nighttime routine.

Jeanne said...

via mamalode.com:

Could be she’s processing everything that’s happened recently. It’s been quite a ride for that little thinker. Tell her I said Hi.

Sarah said...

My third child went through numerous "episodes" where she would come into our room at night for weeks at a time. I didn't want to turn her away, but by the time number four came I was plumb out of room (and so, so tired). My compromise was to fold a small bedroll and pillow and tuck it under my bed. She was just fine with coming in at night, pulling out the roll, and sleeping right next to me on the floor. It worked out perfectly for both of us.

Baby By The Sea said...

Wow. I like the space here -- it's like you've cleaned your desk. So fresh. Nice blog change.
Man, I love how you write about cherishing the lack of bed space only to know that all the room beneath the sheets in years to come will mean bigger, older girls and a time so far from diapers, teething and night terrors.

colette said...

love this post! i never knew that you planted garlic in the fall. learn something new everyday...

btw, love your yellow cabinets!

Gary said...

Oh those garlic braids! I'm planting garlic this year just for those gorgeous braids next year! Thanks for all the inspiration you give me!

Marti said...

Those garlic braids look pretty bad ass!

I'm not so good at story telling but I finally did get my virgin harvest post up today if you are interested....http://martismoments.blogspot.com/

TRB Holt said...

I Googled "India $ Garlic"....WOW it is grown so prolifically there....maybe your kitchen patch is ahead of the game!

xoxo

April said...

Have you ever eaten garlic scapes? I had a friend give me a bunch and I used some as a pizza topping, but I wasn't sold on them. Maybe as a pesto?

Puget Sound Mama said...

Love the braids...so clever you are!!

Louise said...

Hehe! Loved threesome! My son has been joining us in bed st some point in the night since the day he was born. Like you, I have always welcomed him and thought it was adorable. But then since the summer started something changed and he would toss and turn and we weren't getting any sleep at all. We finally just got over this by pulling his twin mattress into our room and having him sleep there, close to us but not between us. For the first time in his left he is sleeping through the night and his sister at 13mths old started sleeping through the night too now she is alone. You don't realise how sleep deprived you were until its over! Good luck!!!

elizabeth said...

I've had a different experience growing garlic. Last year I planted it down the middle of my beds and all my garlic turned out very small. I think the other crops shaded it too much and also it was hard to cut down on watering to just the garlic for two weeks before harvest. This year I planted my garlic in its own bed and it turned out much better, I just harvested about 10 days ago. After I havest the garlic, I plant another crop like spinach, arugula or kale in the bed. I also live in MT and planted Chesnok Red which did well. My poor results last year could have been because I didn't plant the appropriate type. I have never dunked my garlic in a tub for washing either. Anyway, your garlic looks great so whatever you are doing is working well. I like your braids in the kitchen.

Annie said...

There certainly is something about gardening with children. The world is more magical with their insights.

TRB Holt said...

About the threesome...I so loved your brother crawling in bed with me every morning....with Blue Bear. We called it "snuggle time". It was a sad day for me the one morning her did not show up...I asked him what happened and he said he was "Okay"...guess it was just time.

Cherish every rigid starfish moment! xoxo

Crystal Pence said...

I saw this online and it totally reminded me of you! http://seekatesew.blogspot.com/2011/04/scrap-map-tutorial.html

rebecca said...

,,,mmmm, i can smell and taste that lovely garlic of yours,,,suspended braided garlic the best kitchen accessory!,,,

Bikini By 30 said...

I've been told many stories about ninja-ing myself into my parents bed. Apparently at age three in a dead sleep I would raise my legs straight up into the air and promptly fling them over onto my mom. Somehow the stories are hilarious now, but I am sure there were some achey mornings that my mom did not find it so endearing.

Kelle said...

I'm back. Lots to catch up on but love the colors in the new design and any Ode to a well-packed bed. xoxo

Happiness is... said...

I just watched the garlic braiding video. I am amazed at how simple (at least the braiding) is. Now lets see if growing some this winter will be easy or not. I have no chickens around to foil my well laid buds, but I must figure out where to plant it without sacrificing other garden space. Hmmm…maybe edge the galvanized bed with garlic.

BTW, I made your beet/carrot soup for my sister in law this week and she was crazy about it. Everyone, including the kids, ate it up in a flash. As always, thanks for sharing.

-Jennifer

Amy said...

Love the braids... how long can they stay like that for? I always thought they were just for decoration, hahaha!

Melina said...

Braided garlic: another seasonal tradition I hope to have myself one day. You should be so, so proud of all those beautiful heads of garlic! Well done!

Well Nici, I hope you celebrate the beginning of autumn and the colors and the smokey air and you post tons of photos, so that I may live vicariously through you. As a Vermonter I used to live for the seasons turning, but in Seattle it's kinda all one grey slop these days....

xox
Melina

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