Sustainably grown Garlic – Available in January 2019

By April 19, 2018 July 30th, 2019 No Comments
In April and May 2018 we planted about quarter a hectare of garlic in beds that were prepared sustainably using organic and biodynamic fertilisers and preparations. The planting is a direct response to the irradiated Chinese (a staggering 77% of global production) and Argentinian imported product that is sold in supermarket chains. That just cannot be good for us and since garlic is one crop that can be stored for 6-9 months and preserved it has to be a worthwhile effort. 

Allium sativum is a member of the onion family and relatively easy to grow in a temperate climate preferring acid soils – okay so far at Owl Farm Braidwood where the soil was pH 5.6 in the plots selected.

Wild and cultivated garlic has been eaten and used medicinally for thousands of years by Egyptians, Syrians and Romans. It even gets a mention in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions, including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. The Romans saw it as a cure-all.

Some studies have found  garlic to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. It is also claimed to help prevent heart disease and cancers. When crushed, garlic yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and antifungal compound. The sulphur containing phytochemicals responsible for the sharp flavor of garlic are produced when the plant’s cells are damaged. The strong odour causes “garlic breath” (garlic is also called the ‘stinking rose’) and the allyl methyl sulphide “smell” is excreted through the skin. Ever sat on the Paris Metro and you’ll recognise it!

As an aside if you ingest the metal Tellurium it will make your breath and sweat smell of garlic. Tellurium was discovered in 1783 and was known as ‘metallum problematicum’. However, given its scarcity and uses in alloys, unless you are a jeweller trying to create a black patina on gold or silver it is unlikely you’ll ever come across Tellurium in your day to day life.

Garlic myths and legends abound – after Satan left the Garden of Eden the smell of garlic came from his left footprint and onion from his right. Garlic cloves ward off vampires, werewolves and devils. Hindus and Jains avoid using garlic as it heats and stimulates desire and Islam views eating garlic and going straight to the mosque as inappropriate.

Whatever the myths and health benefits we will have bulbs available for sale in January 2019.

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