The Year of No Garden Fireworks

My Heirloom Garlic came and went this year without any fanfare. No purple explosion. No amazingly tall stalks of the Heirloom Garlic. In fact, no fireworks at all. I can’t remember a season in which I didn’t have at least one clump bloom. Even last year, in the horrible drought, I had garden fireworks. Allium bulbs are quite the show-ponies of the garden, and are some of my favorite bulbs. I have just begun to touch the surface of collecting Alliums. Onion, Chives and Garlic are all part of the Allium bulb family, and the flowers are unique.

I will be digging up garlic next week, braiding the foliage to let the bulbs cure. In the Fall, I will plant the choicest of bulbs in different areas of the garden, with plenty of compost. Many sites suggest cutting off the bloom, which makes the bulb stronger. I actually grow my bulbs for the bloom, so that isn’t an option for me 🙂

I originally found these heirloom beauties growing wild by an old tree. I asked a neighbor, who lived across the street from the bulbs, about the history of the property. I was happily told about the old German homestead from the mid 1880’s that had been torn down decades earlier. The bulbs were the only thing that was evidence of the original home. Ofcourse, there were plenty of overgrown Oxbloods as well. (German homesteads always seem to have Oxbloods.) The land is currently used as a parking lot for the neighborhood, so I was happy to dig, with the neighbors’ borrowed shovel! The heirloom garlic bulbs have been a favorite in my garden ever since. The actual garlic bulb is large and quite delicious. We use it in pasta sauces and other Italian dishes. The flavor is warm and spicy.

Apparantly, garlic bulbs don’t enjoy close neighbors, which is problematic in my gardens. All flowers seem to be squished in together. I will move the garlic bulbs to an open area of the garden, and I will separate the bulbs for space. I’m also going to try to propagate them by seed, the next time Fireworks come back to the gardens.

Happy Gardening, my friends!