Garlic is my kind of crop. In fall you bury individual cloves in rich, well-drained soil, and then you forget about them. Which is what I did, literally, leaving the ’07 cloves in the ground by mistake, and they sprouted a second time last fall. Long story short, one old clove became five heads of garlic this summer.

So it was time to harvest the heads before a more permanent takeover occurred. My Rodale guide describes the optimal harvest time as when 75% of the leaves are browned — early July in my plot. They came up covered with dirt, of course, but with sunny, dry conditions and a couple of weeks’ cure in a dark-ish spot, it was easy enough to brush off most of what still clung to the papery skins.

So we’re finally enjoying their strong, almost sweet flavor in the kitchen. Even the smallest central cloves yield up all the garlicky essence needed, and I love how juicy and fresh they are compared with store-bought.

It’s such minimal work for tremendous flavor that I’ll definitely be planting more cloves this fall. And if there’s still more that’s yet unharvested, well, all the better.