This Halloween is the first Holiday that I really put up decorations since Adam and I got married two and a half years ago. We were in the process of building our home and lot of things were in boxes, not just decorations. It always seemed like too much energy to sort through everything and put them up in a place that was always temporary.
It’s fun to get a little festive.
Something we also did recently that fits in with Halloween festivities, thanks to some old folklore, was plant garlic.
Let me rephrase that, we planted one hundred cloves of garlic.
Anyone we tell this to responds with something along the lines of, “Good God. Are you guys trying to keep vampires away?!”
Well, fortunately, we have not been too concerned about the threat of vampires. (… Phew!) But, it still made me curious to see where this connection between vampires and garlic was made.
Turns out it goes back far in history, but was made popular by the novel “Dracula” in the late 1800s when characters wore garlic around their necks to protect themselves from vampires.
The theory was used in real life as well and was based on the idea that vampires are symbolic of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes suck blood and spread diseases. One of the common diseases spread by mosquitoes is Malaria. Victims of malaria appear to be drained and suffer from anemia, much like eerie Dracula stories describe victims of vampire bites.
Garlic is often associated with longevity, good health and also happens to be a mosquito repellent!
This is why garlic would be worn, hung, or rubbed on doors, windows, chimneys, and keyholes… People felt as though they needed to repel vampires.
Like I mentioned, vampires have not been too much of a concern, but it could be because I cook with garlic nearly every evening.
Okay, so maybe it’s not the best thing to have on a first date, but it is so versatile. Garlic goes well in almost any dish. Asian. Mexican. Italian. You name it. Not to mention, Adam and I think it is delish.
I love this quote about garlic.
Thanks to our passion for garlic (… and five years together, making garlic breath a non-issue) we decided to plant the hard-neck garlic variety in the backyard. Hard-neck garlic grows best in cooler climates and it is also what I am most familiar cooking with.
When planting garlic, you want to plant in the fall so that the roots can develop before the winter. Plant only the large, plump cloves. The small inner gloves will likely not develop correctly.
Make sure your garlic bed will receive good sun and water.
Create three inch deep holes spaced eight inches apart and place the flat end of the clove down, pointy tip up, in the hole.
Cover the cloves with two inches of loose soil then about four inches of straw. The straw will help prevent damage from frost and cold weather to your growing bulbs. The straw will be pulled away in the spring.
In the spring, we will also thin the garlic and pull out every other when they begin to look like scallions. The bulbs will likely be harvested in late summer.
So, yes, it sounds crazy to plant one hundred cloves, but we will likely only get fifty bulbs. Which I am pretty confident we will be able to use.
And, if not?
We will use them to keep the vampires (and pesky mosquitoes) away.