I was just thinking about how garlic (and the Internet) has helped me get back in touch with old friends and also begin friendships with others who are as passionate as I am about gardening, family farms, and sustainable living.
For example, I recently had the chance to reconnect with people I haven’t seen for 30 years or more. I caught back up with a friend who mushes dogs and continues to explore the deeper workings of the world in obscure places. Thirty years ago, she taught me how to spin yarn. We share a love for Samoyeds and old hiking shoes. This last weekend I met up with someone I used to know in kindergarten (we were both the shortest in the class and were immediately friends for life!), and lo & behold, we’re still both vertically challenged, and we also love to read, do crafts, and have a passion for dye plants (she greeted me with a bag of osage orange! I was ecstatic!).
And then there is the guy with whom I went to the high-school prom, who could have been lost in a South American jungle and swallowed by a giant Python for all I knew – and turns out we still have common interests (as in early Beatles music and peace necklaces? um, no…). We share a love for the thing that unites so many of us: GARLIC!!
This was great news to me (as in – OMG – who is this? the guy I went to the prom with? Like – 40 years ago?) No – as in he bought a LOT of my garlic, and he effused over the individual characteristics of each one as if they were his own progeny (which, I assure you, they were not). And what is even more amazing (the passage of time only being amazing in retrospect) is that he has managed to get some of my very best garlic bulbs (keep in mind these have adapted to Pacific Northwest conditions over nearly 25 years now) to grow – get this – in the Mojave Desert.
That is one dedicated garlic grower. That is his garlic at the top of this post – living proof.
So without further ado, we interrupt this broadcast to give you . . . .
The Mojave Desert Experimental Garlic Station Progress Report
“The winter rains were timed just right and I didn’t need to set up automatic irrigation until right about any time now. A bit of mulch would go nicely to restore the surface. And a few zinnias would be fun to look at back there.
The garlic out front is ahead of the back, thanks to more sun and thanks to the anti-cat trellises covering the soil. (The cats don’t bother the back yard beds—too far from their food dish, probably.) When the heat hits we’ll see if the extra sun is a good thing.
In general things are growing and leafing but the real charge hasn’t happened yet.
Thanks again for selling garlic to me. I have eggs–just waiting for scapes.”
(Thank YOU, Mark!)
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Yes, thanks to the Internet, I sold garlic all across the country last year, and it is really fun to hear how these bulbs are taking off – but even more important, are the friends I have made in the process.
This is in from a some great folks in Pennsylvania who trusted me enough to buy a lot of my seedstock for their comparatively very large garlic-growing operation. It is seriously amazing what they are able to accomplish by just working hard and adhering to their values. We live on opposite sides of the country, but have so much in common. They think it is great fun to give me a hard time about my garlic:
Hey Blythe, it appears some of your garlic really likes Pennsylvania. In fact I heard them talking amongst themselves how happy they were to be out of Washington State. The standouts so far appear to be Juan de Fuca, Carpathian, and the Siberian. They’re the ones that seem to have the quickest start. The Persian Star seems to start out like the Chesnok Red, but a little behind. I think the Choparsky will be standout [purchased from my neighbor, Teri Crockett]…. It’s kinda neat growing all these different strains and comparing them with the German Extra Hardy, which we’ve been growing for 11 years now [and which I am giving a try this year]…. I truly believe we are just seeing a surge in gourmet garlic interest. Had a fellow call the other day that will buy all our scapes for making vinegar. Sooooo, yea, we are optimistic about the future of quality garlic. How bout you? [comments in brackets are mine]
Two things: one, my garlic bulbs are hardy souls – and they are just expressing immense relief to be out from all that snow they’ve had back East! And second, YES! I am SUPER optimistic about garlic! The timing is right – people are appreciating more the high quality of gourmet garlic and all the things you can do with it. Vinegar from the scapes? Love it! Can’t wait for the scapes to come on!
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Good things – gardens, garlic, friendships – and no matter how hard times get, if you have these three, you will be wealthy indeed!