Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Great Garlic Multiplier

What do you need to multiply one one bulb of garlic by ten?
  • Dirt,
  • Some cracked flowerpots, and
  • Time.
That's it!

Late last fall, I disassembled a nice garlic bulb into its component cloves, and pressed them into pots of dirt in out-of-the-way corners of our patio. These were the same pots I'd use to grow tomatoes & nasturtiums, so my only expense was 1 clove of garlic and 5 minutes of time. I figured that around springtime I might see some activity; imagine my surprise when they swiftly raised their Green Flags of Sunlight Absorption and started to grow!

When Seattle got hit by more than a week of freezing cold, I figured the experiment was over; the shoots fell over and look sad. But a week later, they were perky as ever. Imagine growing food in the winter!

Now these bulbs won't make anyone rich. In a few months, they'll be ready to harvest and maybe we'll grill them, or bake them with bacon. Yum! But we'll definitely save a clove from each bulb because I just love the magic of turning 1 of something into 10! If only this would work with money, or at least chocolate!

I suggest that you give this a try,if you have an out-of-the-way corner of a patio, balcony or window. The flowerpot need not be fancy; as you can see from the photo, I use chipped pots that more fastidious people leave at the recycling center. The most expensive part of this project was the dirt! Here in the city, you just can't dig anywhere, and "cheap as dirt" doesn't mean what it used to. But even the dirt I stretch out by reusing coffee grounds, eggshells, and ambient plant matter, e.g. leaves. The potting soil I purchased is more like a soil starter, to be nourished as it gets used up over time.

This money-and-environment project was very little work, amply repaid by the pleasure of working in the dirt and the prospect of totally fresh organic produce.

And best of all: 10-for-1 !

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