I LOVE garlic! A delicious cup of coffee comes in at a strong 2nd, but nothing beats the taste & simplicity of fresh garlic. It is the perfect addition to just about anything. Soups, stews, roasts, poultry, vegetables, breads, pies & cupcakes. Okay, okay, we’ll draw the line at cupcakes…for now. When forced to buy heads at the grocery store, I try to avoid the overseas selections and opt for the organic/heirloom varieties. Yes, they are a little more money but totally worth it when it comes to flavor. Heads should feel firm with no soft spots or missing skin. Reject any head that has sprouted cloves – the garlic has been in storage a long time, and sprouting drains the clove of its goodness. In the past we have tried our hand at growing our own crop, which turned out fairly successful. So this year we thought we’d give it another go. We’ve placed our order for a few different heritage varieties & are currently anxiously awaiting its arrival. Each individual clove will lovingly get planted this fall. In Canada (and because of our shorter growing seasons) most varieties of garlic do best when planted in the fall. The roots have a chance to develop and the tops do not break the surface before winter. Plant cloves with 4 to 8 inches between each to encourage larger heads of garlic, however tighter spacing will also produce a great number of smaller bulbs. Tip: Separate the garlic cloves as close to planting time as possible (within 24 hrs). The root nodules won’t dry out and the garlic will be able to set roots quickly. To mulch or not to mulch? Some consider mulching to be insurance against winter kill. It conserves moisture, moderates soil temperatures & inhibits weeds as well. I have tried both ways & actually had better luck without the mulch. Harvesting will happen late July to mid-August the following year, with the dying back of the leaves an approximate indicator. To determine whether the garlic is ready to harvest, inspect a few bulbs in the ground by carefully scraping away the dirt. You can feel the bumps of the cloves through the wrappers of a mature bulb. Happy planting!