Medicinal Herb Garlic: How To Grow & Braid It
If you have never grown garlic…why not? It’s a very ‘independent’ thing to do. We are slowly disabled when we become dependent on others.
One of the best ways to be part of the solution is to decrease our needs from the grocery and the pharmacist, which bring questionable goods in from long distances. A MORE sustainable means of acquiring food is to purchase locally. The BEST way is to grow your own organically. Garlic needs no chemicals since there are virtually no pests.
Garlic is one of the best antibiotics around, and when you find out how easy it is to DIY, you may never go back to antibiotics except in an emergency. If you check out a specialty catalog like the one from the folks at Filaree Farm, you’ll find dozens of varieties listed – or simply buy organic garlic at the Whole foods and plant the individual cloves.
Garlic (Allium Sativum) is known to have tremendous anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties.
Garlic Health Benefits
It can be used to treat high cholesterol, parasites, respiratory problems, and poor digestion. Studies suggest that regularly eating garlic helps lower blood pressure, controls blood sugar and blood cholesterol, and boosts the immune system. It has also been found to reduce the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer.
Our health-conscious friends eat raw garlic cloves with chunks of cheese or raw fruit (so they don’t get that stomachache) and do it on days they aren’t going anywhere. We have done it here, too, and it has wiped out many a cold and congestion!
It is one of my best plans for a medicine if things get very tough economically. The Russian army in WWI sent out their troops with cloves of garlic to to treat wounds incurred by soldiers on the Front Line. The Red Army physicians relied so heavily on garlic that it became known as the “Russian Penicillin”.
My Favorite Garlic Tips:
- If you want to avoid ‘garlic breath’ eat a few leaves of any chlorophyll rich herb like fresh mint, parsley, cilantro, or basil afterwards.
- When using garlic in recipes, 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
- The longer you cook garlic, the milder and sweeter the flavour.
- To release the skin without fiddly peeling, lay a clove flat on a board, slice off the root and place under the blade of a wide knife. Press down hard over the top and the skin will pop off.
Two Kinds of Garlic:
Hardneck varieties grow best in cool northern zones and produce a curling flower which is called a scape. The scapes are very tasty eating when sautéd with butter and sea salt.
Softneck varieties are also known as braiding varieties. They do not produce a scape and are therefore easier to braid. They’re also better adapted to hot summers, a bit more productive, a little spicier, and can be stored longer than the hard-neck garlic.
How To Plant Garlic:
Each clove you plant will produce one bulb of many cloves by the end of the season. You’ll want to use good-sized cloves because a bigger clove = a bigger plant = a bigger head of garlic at harvest time. Break the head apart and plant the individual cloves with the tip up. Put them 2-4″ deep and 6-7″ apart.
Next spring you will find lovely long green straps, not round tubes like onion greens. You’ll harvest sometime in June when the tops start to turn and can braid the straps and bulbs into beautifully rustic bunches you can hang for use in your kitchen or pantry. Here is one way to do it and some good instructions.
Braiding has been done for centuries so it could be hung up to dry. I thank the Lord for this worthy, tasty, and healthful herb.
“Since garlic then hath powers to save from death, Bear with it though it makes unsavory breath.” ~Salerno (Italy) Regimen of Health (12th century)
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Thanks for reading!