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Renovation & Design

Homegrown garlic beats store-bought

Q: My goal this year is to be-come a self-sustained gardener, able to grow most of the vegetables I use, including things like garlic. A few years ago I started growing garlic and couldn't believe the difference in taste from the store-bought. I am looking for a good reference on how to grow garlic and was hoping you might be able to help me.

A: I understand what you're saying about the taste of homegrown garlic compared with store-bought, some of which comes directly from China. By the time it gets here it has already started to sprout and dry -- the flavour long since lost.

Your question arrived about the same time I received a copy of Liz Pri-meau's new book, In Pursuit of Garlic -- An Intimate Look at the Divinely Odorous Bulb (Greystone Books).

Over the past few years, garlic has become an 'A' list item for foodies and gardeners alike. Liz does a wonderful job introducing us to garlic and its role in history, art, medicine and science. She then gets into the many garlic varieties, from Russian Red to Kettle River Giant. Her chapter on how to plant, grow, feed and harvest it is a must-read for anyone wishing to grow garlic.

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in growing or even using garlic for their own cooking.

I also highly recommend growing your own garlic. After your first taste, you'll wonder how you ever cooked without it.

Q: I received an azalea as a gift just before Christmas and it bloomed beautifully, but now is losing its leaves. What I might be doing wrong?

A: With indoor or florist azaleas, the loss of leaves is usually a sign of lack of water. They should be kept evenly moist, but not wet. When you stick your finger into the soil and the top feels dry, it's time to water.

Put the pot in the sink and let the water run on the soil until it comes out the bottom.

-- Postmedia News

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