Friday, March 23, 2012

Buried treasure

While I was clearing away winter debris in preparation for tilling the kitchen garden yesterday, I noticed some very un-weed-like sprouts poking up from one of the garden beds.

I scooped the dirt away from the base and found this.

The greens in the cold frames won't be ready for a few weeks, so this find was like unearthing buried treasure.

While most of the onions that I'd harvested in the fall have long since been eaten (it was a disappointing harvest), and the rest sprouted (not good storage onions at all) and I'd say only half made it to this size (most were the size of golf balls), this robust specimen overwintered beautifully. I pierced the skin of one and it just dripped with sweet living juice. There were several more like this, too.

I noticed some similar sprouts in the garlic bed, even though I didn't plant any cloves here last fall (the kitchen garden is undergoing a renovation, of sorts). A pack of marauding deer had infiltrated the garden late last summer and in one night of debauchery I lost my lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, sunflowers, leeks and all the tops on my garlic and onions. When it came time to harvest, without the greens to guide me, I didn't know where all the cloves and onions were anymore. I thought I'd harvested all of them. Guess not!

Rather than individual cloves, these are fully-sprouted garlic heads, pearly white and smooth, without their papery overcoats.

While Lucas has little to no interest in growing food (he's all over the eating, though) he loves growing garlic. Or the idea of growing garlic. Me growing garlic. Truth be told, maybe he just loves garlic.

When I showed him my find, he dug up one of the garlic heads, pried away a clove, dusted off the dirt and popped one in his mouth. At first it tasted milder than cured garlic, but then delivered a firey kick.

I haven't yet decided what to do with these -- I think I'll roast then mash them, then smear a thick paste over some crusty bread for a early season homemade garlic treat. In the meantime, I have roughly six heads waiting in a basket in our multi-purpose laundry-bathroom-farmcrap room... and it smells delicious in there; a mix of spring earth, greens and of course, garlic. And to think they call it the stinking rose!

It's funny how this tiny harvest has got my green thumbs (and fingers) even more itchy to sink my hands into the sun-warmed earth and get growing. And to think it's only March!


mtnchild said...

What a pleasant surprise and a great motivator for this year. If you had a mild winter, that might be why they overwintered so well. Mother Nature is just full of surprises ...

Mama Pea said...

I think your onion and garlic finds were presents from the Good Garden Fairy! I almost always manage to miss some onions when I pull them in the fall. When I'm spading or tilling the soil in the spring, there they are . . . hale and hardy having grown nearly through a snow cover. Makes me wonder why we "baby" our garden crops as much as we do.

Anonymous said...

"multi-purpose laundry-bathroom-farmcrap room"
Cracked me up! I have one of them too! said...

@ Yvette -- Mother Nature is full of surprises, to be sure. The marauding deer were certainly a surprise! So this was a pleasant surprise indeed. :)

@ Mama Pea -- I hope the Good Garden Fairy sticks around for the rest of the season -- I could sure use the help! And funny, I, too, was wondering why we baby our garden crops as much. I'm thinking about trying a little tough love this year... we'll see how long that lasts!

@ Laura -- haha! What I didn't say is the room is also our main bathroom with the shower/tub in it, and it's the one guests use when they come to stay. So while it smells like lovely garlic today, there are sometimes (often?) not-so-savoury smells!

jilly-bear said...

Those are beatiful bulbs! What a treat to find them and I'm just a tad bit jealous of your early season bounty. :) said...

@ jilly-bear -- thanks! I thought they're looked awfully nice too! And I must say I'm just a tad bit jealous of your beautiful red tulips! :)

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