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Garlic Planting Party

Promise Agriculture is winding down for the season, so we decided to have a party to celebrate! A Garlic Planting Party, to be exact. After surveying the chefs at Promise Culinary School and the Community Soup Kitchen, we determined that one of the most common ingredients across many of the meals we prepare is garlic. It’s a staple of flavor profiles across many cuisines and dishes that our Promise Culinary students are learning how to prepare, and it’s used regularly at our Community Soup Kitchen for lunch and dinner. Soups, marinades, vegetable sautes, seasonings… you name it. It probably has garlic. 

To work towards our goal of supporting Elijah’s Promise kitchens with our own organic produce grown right in New Brunswick, we decided to dedicate 5 long rows of space adjacent to Promise High Tunnel to this nutritious allium. We were able to plant several hundred cloves of garlic thanks to a generous donation of garlic heads from our friends up at Earth Sky Time Community Farm in Manchester, VT. 

Volunteers of all ages braved the November wind to get their hands dirty. Special shout out to our partners at Foresters Financial in Edison, NJ, who came out in big numbers. Foresters Financial has been supporting Promise Agriculture since November 2017, and we are so grateful for their continued and regular support at our events. Our garlic planting process has a few phases.

  1. Process garlic heads by removing their stems and separating them into cloves. Leave the papery skin in tact! This protects the clove.
  2. Bed prep: weed all beds, and loosen soil with forks. Generously add compost, and pass through the bed again with broadforks and narrow forks to mix it in. Rake the bed smooth.

3. Teach 3 people about how to properly space and plant the garlic. Roots down! Pair these 3 up with more volunteers to assign roles of measuring the distance between cloves, poking holes, and placing the garlic clove into each one. 

4. Loosely cover with soil.

Once the ground thaws in the spring, green stalks will start to emerge from where we planted each bulb, and we will continue watering and fertilizing with compost until mid-June. Garlic will be harvested in early August.

If you wanted to be involved with Promise Agriculture in 2019, contact Suzy at suzy.jivotovski@elijahspromise.org to learn about volunteer opportunities, gardening workshops, and events. 

Photo credit to Rafael Felix.