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Have you ever noticed a garlic bulb is like life?

My garden helps me with changes in my life. I find when I go out there and weed, sow, harvest or just enjoy the beauty it helps me “understand” the changes I encounter in my life…..


I had a lot of weeds in my garlic bed this week. I usually try to keep it weed free but the past month I have been busy helping our youngest get ready to move out East. He graduated in May from College and was hired by a young company in Boston. It is exciting for him but for a month it was a busy place around here trying to help him get all the things he needed to make this big change in his life


He is gone now, and things have calmed down. I found myself back in the garden, and it sure needed my attention! I found my garlic bulbs ready to be harvested yesterday, but I needed to weed my way to find the bulbs! As I was weeding my garlic bed and harvesting the bulbs, I thought about how the area was all clear in the fall as I put a “single” clove in the soil.


I looked at my youngest child as he stood in front of his ” packed” car and thought, He is on an adventure + I have had those in my life. I hope to have some more, but that first one, when you leave home is like no other. You leave your family behind for a new career in a city far away, not knowing a soul and excited to do what you studied and worked hard for in college.Yep, I remember driving down the road to the town we live in now, after my husband, and I graduated from college. It was an adventure. We did not know a person in this town. We started our first jobsΒ here and raised a family…it seems like yesterday, but it also feels like a lifetime ago…it went by too quickly.


Growing garlic is one of the easiest things to grow, and I have no idea why more people don’t grow their garlic.


As I was starting to write my post this week, I thought, our life is like a garlic bulb. Silly as it may sound it does demonstrate our life.From one small clove that is planted in the fall and goes through the seasons, a bulb is created. A cluster of cloves that become a “bulb” of many….an interesting miracle in the garden. It starts as “one” just as our children do as they go out into the world. They are planted in the soil of life and what happens is an adventure that grows over a lifetime.

For more detailed information or resources for growing garlic check outΒ Immunity Gardens-Garlic at the end of the blog post. I have more sites for resources to help you plant perfect garlic next summer!

Happy Gardening!






56 replies »

  1. What a poignant corollary. I hope your youngest collects many wondrous memories!
    How do you cure and store your garlic? I’ve found the bulbs go soft on me before we can eat them all…or sometimes even before it’s time to plant next year’s cloves.

  2. Robbie, this is such a beautiful reflection. I’m glad to hear that your son is happy with his new home city. (And I’m grateful for your inspiration to plant garlic this fall πŸ™‚ )

    • To be young + bright-eyed! But there is some contentment with wisdom:-) I am excited for him + I look forward to planting the garlic in my life each fall:-)

  3. Well, this was quite informative on many levels. Life is an adventure and I hope your son’s are all wonderful. Relating it to the garlic bulb is a great way to look at it. I have always wanted to grow my own. I’ll check out your link and see when I should plant mine. I’m in the Pacific NW. I hope to have the garden beds ready soon. Thank so much for the information and best wishes to your son. Are you empty nesters now?

    • Yes, we are empty nesters:-) You better be careful with the HOA they may not like that garlic-LOL, but you can put a lot of pretty flowers around it to make them happy:-)

      • They still have no idea that I’m burying my organic matter to amend the soil. I’m not allowed to compost either. Nimrods. I’m good at hiding things. Already made one neighbor mad because I wouldn’t use roundup on my weeds. I pick them out carefully by hand or use vinegar for large sections. Works just fine. Organic.:)
        I’m going to look for what I can plant around the garlic. :))

  4. So nice to see someone else planting and harvesting garlic! It IS easy–I’m in Virginia and plant in late August/early Sept and harvest in June. I just put the bulbs in baskets so they dry well and they keep all winter (on a bottom shelf near my cold kitchen floor). So many life metaphors come from the garden I find. It’s a good way to think things through.

    • I can hardly wait for my basil to get a bit larger-I started it late this year. I am in the mood for some fresh pesto:-) So true, the garden does provide a place to ponder life and learn about how to live a good life:-)

  5. This is a lovely picture Robbie – I’m pretty sure we could easily find many metaphors for life in our gardens if we take the quiet time to ponder these things while planting, weeding and harvesting. I hope your little clove has many happy adventures as he begins to tend his own new garden – you have certainly gifted him rich soil to plant in! xoxo

    • awww…I sure hope so-Pauline. I have to admit, I teared up + thought, I would be use to it since he was number3-LOL-nope-I teared up when he drove off! We truly are the empty nesters now:-)

  6. My kids went for a two-night sleep over to my sisters last week and I was thinking how quiet it was without them, and I can’t imagine what it would be like if they were moving away to another city – It seems a lifetime away but I know it’ll come around quick. I love you idea of life being like a bulb of garlic (as opposed to a box of chocolates, as in Forrest Gump the film) and I hope your son has a great ‘adventure’ in Boston.

    • A box of chocolate-ya never know what you will get-LOL. I am a planner- so I like knowing it will be a lot of cloves-tee hee. It does go quickly! I am so grateful that I had the time to enjoy my time with our kids. We slowed down and simplified when it was not “cool” to do + I am forever grateful. I have to admit when I had a house full of animals and kids it did seem a bit too much at times-LOL. You do get use to the quiet but never not seeing them:-)

  7. I enjoyed this post, as I have seen two boys off to college (both graduated now) and I also really like garlic. One son lives in Chicago now and the other in Minnesota. Best of luck to your son in Boston!

    • Thank goodness for skype!-Our oldest is in Sweden, middle in our town, + now he is in Boston.I guess my husband and I will go see them now in our old age-lol-our adventures:-)I can’t imagine a fall without my fresh pesto from garlic + basil in the garden. My basil is just taking it’s time this summer:-)

      • I’d love to go to Sweden. Our oldest has lived in Quito, Ecuador, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Judy went to visit him in Ecuador and I visited him in Russia. Thank goodness he now lives here in Chicago. The younger one moved to Minnesota and stayed put.

      • wow-those sound amazing places to visit:-) Yep, my turn to go to Sweden this time and my husband may go next time and after that possibly together! My oldest married a guy from Sweden and they had twins this year( one that just turned 3-too), so I figure we will be going quite a bit:-)They have his family there so that is nice:-)

  8. Love the garlic/life analogy – my son harvested our garlic a couple days ago and I pulled some fingerlings – garlic potatoes, yum! So your son is only a couple hours away from me – almost neighbors! πŸ˜‰ I lived there for a few years at his age, it’s where I met my spouse. It is a great city for young people – they can deal with the traffic! πŸ™‚ Now I go there and so much has changed and the traffic makes me a nervous wreck! What ‘burb will he be living in? I wish him loads of luck and fun!

    • Eliza-Alton? I will be visiting him next year-road trip!!! We need to meet halfway:-) I checked my spam and found this comment-shoot-I would of missed learning how close you were to Boston!

      • He did get an apartment with a parking space in back-one of the few in town-LOL. He walks every where but the young people love that lifestyle. I agree, for the young!

  9. You’re right about garlic being so easy to grow. What a joy to harvest.
    and what a great way of looking at our lives – starting with one small clove.

  10. Wonderful post! It’s always bittersweet when our kids make those big changes. I don’t grow garlic because I grow so few vegetables. But maybe I should. πŸ™‚

    • It is a big change. I was telling someone that I was not going to get “teary-eyed” when he left— shoot, I had 2 before leave and one lives in Sweden. Yeah, Right! As I waved good-bye and gave my last hug, I teared up! I am a wimp-lol

  11. It is wonderful to see your son going off happy and confident to start on the next phase of his life.
    I grew garlic here, but the Pianist , who is a!so the chef, complained that it was too mild. I wonder if it needs a hot climate to get a strong flavour.
    You’ ve gone from purple to brown. Are you feeling more earthy?

    • lol:-) I feel a bit more earthy weeding since my nose is so close to the ground!That is an interesting observation about garlic. I feel the “garlic” I grow gives mine the kick it needs to make it “great” pesto. I use “music” garlic and have been saving the bulbs since 2010. I can’t use more than two cloves per batch for it is jut too much:-) Music is a mild one so he must love his garlic very hot! I am a wimp:-) LOL

  12. I have to harvest mine – it is time but I have been afraid because of my encounter with Leek moth. I, savvy gardener that I am (please hear that heavy hint of sarcasm), planted a trumpet vine over my arbor hoping that eventually it will become a living arbor. Well, trumpet vine likes to send up suckers and they are indeed coming up through my garlic. I will say it is not as weedy as last year and that I will harvest ahead of last year so all is right with the world. I laughed when you said bare patch of soil. I have a picture of the Potager in early spring I call “the calm before the storm” – I need to take another for comparison. It is like life. My garden teaches me and helps me cope with life, too, Robbie. I wish your little one nothing but happy trails. It must be difficult. Are you going to plant an empty nest plant to confide in?

    • OH, How I can relate to trumpet vine growing every where! I love the plant but it is very invasive and I do have to pull it out and it likes to climb on my house. When I see the hummer visiting it’s vines and birds building nests in the arbor, I realize it is there for them-too:-) I am inside today nursing a bad case of poison ivy! Yep, I was not careful and usually , I am:-( Bare soil was my goal and now I have the poison ivy-lol. It was bad this year getting into more beds than years past.In the cracks of my side walk-YIKES. It is a native plant-lol
      Empty nest plant-my entire garden are my children! I grow them from seed and feel like a proud parent when they bloom or reach maturity:-) I am a proud plant parent!

      • Oh no! I just posted about vines and that is probably the ONE vine I don’t have, ha ha. I hope it clears up quick. Jewelweed? I keep jewelweed around just in case. My husband boils it and then splashes it all over himself. They say if you do it right away you won’t get the ivy. You would/could be proof. I know what you mean about seed children! I feel like a mom even without human kids. You should be the proudest plant parent of all.

      • πŸ™‚ I will have to get some of that for I have heard of it:-) I knew better but it was hot out there and I wanted to clear some weeds but what you can’t see ( sweat in my eyes it was humid)sometimes gets you later!

  13. Interesting reflection, Robbie… I am running barefoot these days, and each time I run, I always have this notion that life is very much like barefoot running itself… perhaps one day, I should pen my thoughts on this subject matter and post it in my (the other, personal) blog… anyway, as always, love your post, your pictures… and wishing the best for your youngest in his new adventure… Lrong

    • Oh My Lrong-barefoot running-WOW! I would figure if you can barefoot run it prepares you for anything in life:-) I bet there are stories there to tell:-) Best Wishes to you Lrong + I miss him but the best thing he is doing what he loves in an exciting, young town:-) oh to be a clove-LOL

  14. Garlic is the life!!! (Was going to suggest a Bela Lugosi-style voice to say this but would a vampire really say that?!) Best life wishes to your youngest & keep those spicy foods coming. πŸ™‚

    • I have two areas that you can hide in and camp out anytime! One is a morning area + one is an evening area + I don ‘t have a large lot, but I have a place to hide!

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