My friend and reader, Lisa and her husband purchased a farm in this area about six years ago. The land had been damaged by conventional farming. They’ve put the emphasis on cover crops to return much needed “life” to the soil and have done other things like mulching when they felt they could.
As you might imagine, this is a big undertaking. Since they, like most of us, don’t have unlimited resources, they can’t always put into practice everything they want to do.
One of the crops they grow to sell is garlic.
Last fall they planted one field without mulch and one field with mulch (straw) as a test.
When she visited me earlier in the year (garlic bulbs were still small but starting to grow) Lisa was excited to show me some garlic that had been pulled early to see what was happening beneath ground. The smallest bulb was from the field that was not mulched. The larger bulb was from the mulched field.
Visiting again after the harvest in June, she brought fully mature samples to show me. I was just amazed. Remember now — we’re talking an entire field of garlic all showing this drastic difference.
The Story Gets More Interesting
When they lived in Arlington, Virginia their neighbor’s mother came to visit from Tennessee and gifted them with 3 bulbs of this un-named variety of hard neck garlic. (If I recall correctly they named the garlic ‘Taylor’ after the gift-giver.)
They grew it 5 years in Arlington and have grown it 6 years here.
The variety is now very well adapted to the growing conditions of these two areas. It’s always the biggest of the varieties they grow.
The flavor is not as hot as some garlics, but rather has a milder, more subtle flavor.
My Plans for Taylor Garlic
Taylor garlic is on my list for fall planting. I’m particular excited about it since it is already perfectly adapted to this area.
Visiting the Farm
Fortunately, I had an opportunity to visit Lisa and her husband recently and see all the wonderful things they’re doing with their property.
I especially enjoyed seeing Lisa open a laying box and reach under one of the more gentle hens and get an egg. These eggs are the best! Those hens scratch around the ground and when feed is supplemented, rest assured it’s organic feed.
How I Got to Know Lisa
When Bill was critically ill early in 2015 Lisa sent me an email that I will keep and treasure forever.
Lisa had read the post updating TMG readers on Bill and what we were experiencing. Also, read all your wonderful comments of encouragement to me. She then sent me an email with the subject line “tmg reader and neighbor”.
She introduced herself and said, “We all (meaning all of you) want to help you, but I’m in the unique geographical position to do so. ––– I propose that you allow me to drop off some eggs, I can leave them on your stoop, no doorbells, no obligations to chat. We’ll leave that for later. I would also like to bring you anything else you may need –––. ––– This offer does not expire.”
I’m glad the offer had no expiration date, because it was only after Bill started to improve months later in May that I could accept her offer.
Suffice it to say that this friendship founded with Lisa (and her husband) in the most difficult of times has meant so much to me.
If you live in our area (Virginia and/or zone 7) and want to raise garlic that is already conditioned for the area, email me (or tell me in the comments section below) and I’ll put you in touch with Lisa.
Eggs and potatoes are also available at the farm. And other vegetables in season.
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