But even if chefs & foodies couldn’t, it’s nutters advice to folks who wantto grow some of their own foodsuccessfully enough to get to eat some of that food, ideally over the whole of the year. Different varieties of garlic -- of every plant -- have been grown & bred over millenia with an artful + scientific eye to: slightly different conditions of soil, size, weather, seasonality, humidity, pest resistance, beauty, storagecapacity, crunchiness. This massive,natural diversity –where it still exists -- is crucial to the on-going vitality of crops, and thus to our eating and nutrition. seed garlic attests to the wild proliferative nature of nature. But it is never just about ushumans: about our eating and nutrition. Other elements in an ecosystem, even a small one like a backyard garden plot, need to eat and be nourished by what they eat. Countless other beings come to exist in relationships with the plants we plant; with the microbiology in the water, soil and air, and thus with insects, shrubs, trees, birds, small mammals, amphibians and rodents who also live in and around our backyards. Surely those relationships amongst all the elements are also stronger and weaker depending on a myriad offactors, factors.
A living backyard is a collective, and it is probably too porous, complex and fluid tobe mapped out. Why do we think we have to map them all out, to sense this deep truth and to be guided by it in our planting decisions? Can we not allow ourselves to imagine – to know in our guts -- that the health and vitality of the whole willbe, in principle, negatively or positively impacted, even a little, by the variety and diversity of garlic we grow? We do know that, and we know it in our guts. That’s a teaching of the Stinking Rose(s)! Action Jackson!! Planting as many different varieties of one crop (tomatoes, peaches, bananas, garlic) no matter how big or small our little patch is, is what each and every one of us can do to pushback against the double-vulnerability built into industrial, globalized Big Agriculture: ecological gutting of the soil & market-chain vulnerabilities (which mean food shortages for all and often famine for many).
Keywords: biodiversity, garlic, backyard gardening, urban agriculture, ecology