By Jenny Spring
Garlic typically can be planted in the fall but can also be planted in the spring. It is very hardy and will go dormant over the winter months. Usually garlic is the first thing to poke out of the ground in the early spring. I usually plant my garlic around Halloween and harvest in mid summer. However, I also do a spring planting for a harvest in late August/early September.
There are three ways to eat garlic, all at different times of the season. Right now, spring garlic is ready to be harvested. Spring garlic, also called green garlic, is harvested before the scapes form and before the actual bulbs start to form as well. At this time of year, farmers usually thin their garlic if the crops are too close together. It is very flavourful and the green stems can be chopped up as well as the immature bulbs. That’s right, the entire plant at this stage is edible. Spring garlic looks much like a scallion, sometimes even with a tiny bulb on the end and it may even be tinged with a bit of pink. Spring garlic can be used raw or cooked like scallions.
Garlic scapes are also edible and they will start to form in early June. I will share another recipe and gardening tip when the scapes are in season in Huntsville.
- Plant garlic around Halloween – pointy end of the clove facing up
- Space cloves 4-6 inches apart. Push the cloves 2 inches into the ground
- Water the bed if its dry
- Cover the bed with straw to protect it in the winter. This also suffocates the weeds in the spring and summer. Make sure you don’t use hay as it will have weed seeds in it
- Harvest spring garlic at the end of May.
- When garlic scapes start to form you have to pick them off. By picking them off it will shoot energy into forming the garlic bulb.
- Harvest garlic in mid July, a couple of weeks after scapes have been harvested
- Hang garlic up to dry out any moisture in the crop
Green Garlic Gnocchi
1 ripe avocado
3 bulbs of green garlic, with a bit of the green stalk
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (roasted and salted), plus extra to serve
A pinch of coarse salt
2 (16-ounce) packages gnocchi
- Blend the avocado, green garlic, basil, parmesan, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and salt in a blender until smooth.
- Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and combine the gnocchi with the pesto.
- Enjoy right away, garnished with sunflower seeds and parmesan shavings.
Green Garlic Potato Pancakes
Sweet potato or regular potato (1 ½ pounds)
4 tablespoons of chopped green garlic-white and green parts
A pinch of salt
- Peel and finely grate the potatoes
- Place the grated potatoes in a strainer and push a potato masher over the potatoes to try to get out the most amount of water possible
- Mix the potatoes with the eggs, garlic, salt and chopped parsley.
- Over medium heat, splash some olive oil into a frying pan
- Drop a tablespoon of the potatoes into the pan and flatten with the back of a fork
- Cook until the bottom turns crisp and then flip
Jenny Spring and Oliver Wolfe are co-owners of The Spring Farm with Andrea and Brian Currie. Each week, Jenny will share a recipe featuring in-season, Muskoka-grown produce from their local farm, which is just five kilometres from downtown Huntsville. She’ll also share a gardening tip about the chosen vegetable. You can find these vegetables and more at the Huntsville Farmers’ market on Thursdays after Victoria Day in the Canadian Tire parking lot, or at The Spring Farm gate on Bethune Road North starting in June.
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