For many thousands of years garlic has been used and revered by humans. It has been a staple in our food, used as a medicine for a slew of ailments, and also believed to be an aphrodisiac. This delicious little allium bulb was understandably worshiped by ancient Egyptians and fed to the hardest workers in their society as it was believed to increase strength and endurance.
While it is up for debate still, it is believed garlic is native to Asia and is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops. While it was brought to America with our early settlers, it wasn’t fully embraced by the average American household until the 1940’s.
The common name garlic was derived from the Old English word garlec, which when literally interpreted, it means “spear leek,”. It is believed this is in reference to the lanceolate shape of the plant’s cloves.
Best of all, now is the perfect time to plant garlic here! If you decide to pick up a bulb from the farmers market or store just make sure it still has its roots attached! Simply separate the cloves and plant, root side down, about 3 inches deep and at least 6 inches apart! Harvest the garlic when leaves and stem start to turn brown, usually in the late summer.
Written by Janet Douberly, Program Coordinator at Downtown Greens.
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