Vampires Need Not Apply

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let's just say that the "Prince of Darkness," aka "Dracula," would have a hard time hanging out in the garage. Because, if the rumors about vampires and strong garlic really are true, the Prince of Darkness would be begging for the stake-through-the-heart treatment right about now.

The wife that is Venus is holding our latest harvest from the garden this year -- and this is another "first" for the both of us. Venus is holding onto the world's most pungent and hottest garlic known as INCHELIUM RED.

One visit into our GarageMahal would tell you that there's something very smelly going on inside there. To be perfectly honest, drying 40-50 fat bulbs of INCHELIUM RED garlic does result in quite the aroma.

But I like it.

What is INCHELIUM RED garlic? Hah! I'm glad you asked, because the fine folks at the website LocalHarvest tell us the following:

Hailing from the Colville Indian Reservation in Inchelium, Washington, this garlic is a large and beautiful artichoke variety. The dense bulb can have anywhere from 9-20 cloves and a thick outer bulb wrapper to protect the bulb. The flavor of the Inchelium Red is softly robust but not so strong as to be overwhelming; the flavor often sharpens in storage...

I disagree on one minor point: 49ers Coach Mike Singletary would like this garlic because, quite plainly, it "smacks you in the mouth." This is one good garlic.

We grew garlic and onions together in a couple of raised beds like you see in this photo. This is one of the cheap planter box creations utilizing wood, brackets and screws from the nearby North Natomas Home Depot. Like every planter box in the yard, the soil is a mix of planter mix, steer manure compost and other types of pelleted fertilzers.

Venus and I started with three simple heads of INCHELIUM RED garlic (I can't remember where we ordered it from). And the cloves from just those three heads of garlic resulted in 40-50 heads of garlic that we harvested just last weekend. When the tops and centers of the plants started to die back and whither away completely, we knew it was time to come out.

And what came out of ground, quite frankly, surprised us immensely. Big, fat, pungent, juicy heads of garlic pulled easily out of the ground. It looks like my frequent watering trips to this bed for additional irrigation paid off handsomely. I did experiment somewhat in my watering patterns this season, by soaking the garlic and onion beds with either a common garden hose on a slow drip, or gallons of water from a one gallon watering can.

The effort appears to have paid off quite handsomely. Some of these cloves are the size of baseballs. Still others are normal sized. We did pull a few small heads out of the ground, but that was not the norm.

What are we going to do with this wealth of garlic? Good question! Venus and I will save some of the largest heads for the always popular, and always in demand, Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomato Salsa canning project. Still others will go into various summer meals. We will also take great pains to save six or seven heads for next year's planting efforts.

That's right, this fall, we'll plant twice as much. Why? Because, even with 40-50 heads drying away in the GarageMahal, it's still "not enough."


Fred Hoffman said...

Good mailorder source for organic seed garlic:
Filaree Farm, in the state of Washington.

Bill Bird said...

Thanks Fred,

I should create a special folder for EVERY single site that you've sent to me so I can keep them all in the same place. You've sent me so many through the years that I can hardly keep track of them all.


Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Nice! Garlic makes the food!