Cooking isn't the only thing that garlic is good for, because ever since garlic was first featured in ancient-Greek mythology as a plant with paranormal powers, it's been associated with defeating evil. Some folks keep a fresh garlic clove or two in their wallets for superstitious reasons — such as for warding off the "evil eye.

It was dinner time, and the aroma of homegrown garlic being sauteed in olive oil filled our kitchen.

But cooking isn't the only thing that garlic is good for, because ever since garlic was first featured in ancient-Greek mythology as a plant with paranormal powers, it's been associated with defeating evil. So just to be safe, some folks keep a fresh garlic clove or two in their wallets for superstitious reasons — such as for warding off the "evil eye."

"What's the evil eye? If you're being stared at, for instance, and the intent of the person staring at you is malicious, garlic supposedly possess the power to deflect sinister intents.


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In fact, garlic is presumably so powerful, just saying "garlic" out loud is enough to deter evil. Keeping some garlic close by, though, is suppose to work even better.

Plant a clove

My wife was cooking with homegrown garlic that I started from cloves that were sown 1 inch deep and root-side-down last October in full sun and in soil that drained freely. The bed measured 16 square feet, and 25 cloves were planted 6 inches apart to facilitate periodic weeding with a hoe. The sprouts appeared several weeks after the cloves were planted, and the garlic bulbs were ready to harvest in July.

Incidentally, garlic sprouts are so frost hardy, they've never failed to survive a severe winter during the decades that I've grown them.

We grow thin-necked garlic, and the variety is New York white. Even though the original cloves were purchased from a mail-order catalog a decade ago, all subsequent plantings have been made with cloves taken from fresh bulbs harvested in July.

Which reminds me. I harvest garlic when I first notice its leaves yellowing, by pulling bulbs from the ground with their leaves still attached. Then I shorten their roots with scissors, and "rub" the soil from the bulbs, before the bulbs are braided together by their leaves and hung indoors to dry.

Garlic is good to eat, reliably hardy, easy to grow, easy to store and supposedly a good paranormal shield, too. So why not give it a go.

This week in the garden

Columbus Day is the traditional day to plant garlic. I've prepared a bed that will receive this years cloves by tilling compost — decomposed organic matter — into the top few inches of soil. Why compost?

Although compost adds little fertility, it greatly helps clay-based soils to drain more freely: Garlic doesn't grow well in soggy soil.