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Garlic from Folklore to Today’s Organic Garden

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Garlic from Folklore to Today’s Organic Garden

Its bounteous bulbs with their flavorful bite and unmistakable aroma make garlic a notable ingredient for spicing up our culture.

Garlic bulbs on bench

Author Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat describes in A History of Food how ancient peoples both loved and hated this member of the onion family.  Toussaint-Samat writes that garlic is thought to have originated from Central Asia and that a key ingredient once called sulphur of allyl is regarded as an aphrodisiac.

Garlic bulbs, some dirty

In 1897, novelist Bram Stoker popularized garlic as an amulet to guard against vampires! This inspired numerous movies that feed off the interested in gothic vampire lore, including the mystical role of the garlic  bulb.

If you love to cook, or just love to eat, chances are you have a strong opinion about garlic. My grandmother loved cooking with the pungent bulbs, and I do too.  I wonder if she had some sense that the diversity of real foods like garlic help keep us healthier?

Last year I purchased garlic bulbs at the farmers’ market and separated the cloves to plant them.  We had moderate success growing our own garlic with organic methods.

segmented parts of garlic bulb

After the failure of our little pumpkin patch from suspected squash vine borers, I decided to try the advice shared at Appalachian Feet and grow garlic along with squash and pumpkin plants next year.   So, I purchased bulbs for planting from heirloom seed company Sow True Seed.  Then, a neighbor generously shared extra bulbs from another local garden.

So, we’ve planted a variety of several hard and soft garlic bulbs throughout the garden, in hopes of scaring off next seasons garden pests. We should have plenty for our cooking needs.  It will be good having extra garlic for homemade mosquito repellents.  And certainly the vampires will know to stay away!

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