Friday, April 10, 2009

Garlic v Garlic Mustard

I'm proud to report that my garlic continues to grow, despite the fact that I never mulched it, though everyone told me I had to.

While I practically cheered when the garlic came up, I have no such feelings for the patch of garlic mustard growing a few feet away.

This invasive plant dominates many yards and wild spaces and is difficult to control; however, it is edible. The pungent leaves can be cooked as a potherb or used raw in salads, and the root is a dead ringer for horseradish.

The garlic required timely planting and grows slowly, yet the garlic mustard appeared of its own volition, as though transported from an alien world. The second that the snow melted, it began a The Blob-like growth explosion that, if left unchecked, will surely take over the world. In other words, the garlic took effort, the garlic mustard did not. (Therefore someone who didn't fully understand English could take "mustard" to mean "effort.")

When it comes to selecting food, humans have historically gone for the highest calorie count per least expenditure of energy. Originally this meant picking the largest berry, though it has come to mean exchanging money for corn syrup.

My decision to favor the garlic instead of the garlic mustard marks a departure from this trend: I'm working harder for less food.

So why eat garlic when I could get garlic mustard, and tons of it, for free? Because I like garlic better and because you don't want to encourage an invasive. Just look at the Burmese python problem in Florida.

Clearly, nature is waging a showdown of garlic v. garlic mustard down in the kitchen garden. Why else would the garlic naturally grown in a "v"?

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