Planting garlic is an easy way to start your own vegetable garden. Garlic needs little in the way of attention and provides a satisfying reward. One clove goes in the ground in October, and ten months later, a full bulb is there in its place. Aside from covering the seed with a few leaves for warmth, there isn’t much else to do.
In my opinion, there’s a lot of reasons to like garlic. First, it’s a plant with an especially strong spirit. While most other plants can’t survive the Ontario winter, garlic thrives. It roots itself through the fall, and by the time the coldest days hit, garlic is in a deep sleep. Also, garlic offers a great return on investment, where a single clove planted in the fall will yield a full bulb (eight to ten cloves) the following season. If you were willing to pass on the chance to eat the garlic, you could plant the eight new cloves the following year, and then they each would offer eight more cloves, totalling 64 (8 cloves becoming 8 bulbs). If you follow that logic, after ten years, a single garlic clove could return as much as 135 million garlic bulbs. At that point, you might keep a few for use in your kitchen.
I’m not alone in wanting to celebrate garlic. This coming weekend, The Toronto Garlic Festival is happening at Evergreen Brick Works. I’m not exactly sure what happens at a garlic festival, but Saturdays, the Brick Works hosts a weekly farmers market, and it’s a great place to go for a walk.
Starting your own vegetable garden can be a terrifically satisfying project, and while it may seem a bit counterintuitive, October is the perfect time to get started.