There are many ways to celebrate Farm to School month. You can organize taste testings, participate in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch
, learn about local farms, or invite the community to visit your school garden. These are all excellent ways to celebrate. But I'm here to advocate for garlic. Plant it. Eat it. Celebrate it this October!
Disclaimer: I love garlic. I never realized how much kids could love it too until I witnessed our middle school students go crazy for it this summer. I usually expect kids to seek out the sweet, colorful vegetables in the garden - sun gold tomatoes, snap peas, carrots - but garlic? We couldn't stop them. They wanted it cooked, raw, and in a bag to take home. While we waited for harvest time, the kids were the ones telling the staff that we needed, please,
to weed the garlic.
So, why is garlic the perfect vegetable for Farm to School month?
- It is one of the only things you can plant in a Wisconsin garden in October (other than a number of perennials or bulbs).
- It is the first vegetable to show green leaves in spring, generating excitement about the garden as soon as the snow melts.
- Because garlic can be stored, you can keep it around and enjoy it all year.
- If you are able to cook with students, garlic is a versatile as a good wooden spoon. Green garlic can be harvested in April and May for early spring snacks!
- Garlic has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years, and is a great starting point for a garden-based history lesson.
- Save the best cloves from each year's crop to use as seed garlic. Your garlic patch can expand each year with no additional cost buying seeds. (Also a great lesson in vegetative reproduction!)
- No vampires in your garden. Obviously.
See the Resources section below for a planting guide and tips for helping kids work with garlic. We hope you enjoy introducing kids to this amazing food - happy Farm to School Month everyone!