Jun 192013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to bring you a Brand New Cozy Series today
and to welcome Edith to Escape With Dollycas!

MaxwellCrop
tine to liveGrowing Garlic

Thanks so much for asking me over, Lori! My new cozy mystery, A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die, is set on an organic farm, and I wanted to share a bit of my own background in farming.

Twenty years ago I operated and co-owned a small certified-organic farm in northeastern Massachusetts. One of my specialties was garlic. I grew hundreds of bulbs of both stiff-neck and soft-neck (braidable) garlic.

Seed Garlic

Seed Garlic

Finished Bed

Finished Bed

April

April

June

June

It’s a fantastic crop. You plant it in late fall, when everything else is dying off for the winter, preferably on a nice sunny Indian-Summer kind of day. After the ground freezes in December, I mulch the beds with salt marsh hay, which prevents frost heaves.

In April the green shoots push up through the hay, and I harvest it in late July. I learned much of what I know about growing garlic from a great book, titled Growing Great Garlic.

Garlic has no pests in our area. It doesn’t need pruning or thinning. It feels like a free crop in the spring, because the work was done so long ago. I use lots of garlic when I cook, and it stores well. What’s to lose?

Here is a paragraph from my second Local Foods mystery, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, which takes place in the fall but will be out in early spring 2014. Farmer Cam Flaherty is planting her garlic. She has already split the garlic bulbs into cloves, selecting the fattest ones for planting and using the rest in her own kitchen. (Preston is her Norwegian Forest cat)

“She took the basket of cloves and a pitchfork to the field. She loosened a large bed that had held bush beans earlier in the season, so it was now rich in nitrogen from nodules on the legume roots, and covered it with several inches of finished compost. Kneeling, she pressed a clove, root side down, about an inch into the loose rich soil. The next clove went in four inches away. She continued that way along the length and width of the bed, every clove a hand’s width from its neighbor. Preston sidled by to visit and sat on a bale of salt marsh hay to watch her work.”

Scapes

Scapes

Scapes

When you plant stiff-neck garlic varieties like German Red and Rocambole, the cloves grow in a single layer around a central stalk. Right around now in the season, the plants throw up a scape. It’s the stalk becoming an alien-looking pointy growth that loops around into a circle and then keeps growing. The scape ultimately wants to become a garlic flower, but that robs the bulbs of energy, so farmers clip them off with scissors. I like to saute them. These crunchy green stalks, either whole or chopped, provide a nice mild garlic flavor.

After the Equinox, the garlic starts bulbing underground. I harvest it when two-thirds of the leaves are yellowing, and lay it out first in the sun and then in a cool dry place to cure. Soft-neck garlic varieties, which grow in several concentric layers and don’t have the rigid central stalk, can then be braided.

What about you? Have you grown garlic? Do you have any varieties you prefer, or would you rather just shake a little dried garlic out of a jar?

~Edith

About Edith Maxwell
Locavore Edith Maxwell’s Local Foods Mysteries published by Kensington let her relive her days as an organic farmer in Massachusetts, although murder in the greenhouse is new. A fourth-generation Californian, she has also published short stories of murderous revenge, most recently in the Fish Nets and Thin Ice anthologies.

Edith Maxwell’s pseudonym Tace Baker authored Speaking of Murder, which features Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau and campus intrigue after her sexy star student is killed. Edith is a long-time Quaker and holds a long-unused doctorate in linguistics.

A mother and former technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. You can find her at www.edithmaxwell.com and
989166434badge125 (2)

tine to liveA Tine to Live, A Tine to Die
(Local Foods Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Books (May 28, 2013)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758284617
E-Book File Size: 502 KB
ASIN: B00B60D92E

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47It’s the start of the farming season in Westbury, Massachusetts, and geek-turned-novice farmer Cameron Flaherty hopes to make a killing selling organic produce. A colorful Locavore Club belongs to Cam’s farm-share program. But when a killer strikes on her property, her first foray into the world of organic farming yields a bumper crop of locally sourced murder. To clear her name, Cam has to dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of Produce Plus Plus Farm. And when the police don’t make progress in the case, she has to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be, “Eat Local. Kill Local.”

Dollycas’s Thoughts
An excellent debut!!

Cam Flaherty is a protagonist that is easy to identify with. She has come back to Westbury to take over the farm where she spent so many summers growing up. Just when her ideas starts to bear fruit a man is murdered.

Maxwell has surrounded Cam with more than a few suspects and friends that keep her strong as she fights to clear her name. These characters are really well fleshed out for the first book in a series. We learn a lot about their backgrounds which always makes the reader invested in their lives and the story. It also makes the book extremely hard to put down.

With issues like a local militia, some residents with immigration problems, and the localore way of eating many Westbury area residents are adapting makes this a very interesting story in addition to a well plotted mystery.

Edith Maxwell has firmly planted a great foundation for what I know is going to be a very tasty series!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to Edith Maxwell
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
My Advance Review Copy and 1 Brand New Hardcover!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Edith for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End July 3, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

tine to livereadalattechallenge_zps01d248d0

  72 Responses to “Cozy Wednesday with Author Edith Maxwell (Giveaway too!)”

  1. Sounds like an interesting new series, would love to win.

  2. Sounds like a great book, and very timely with all the interest in organics and local eating.

  3. It strikes me that a gardener would be an ideal candidate to be amateur sleuth in a murder mystery … the possibility of finding a body while turning the soil, and all … Good luck with the new series!!

  4. I use a lot of garlic when I cook but I’ve never tried growing it.

  5. We tried growing garlic, but the heads were very tiny. We now get ours at Two Sisters Garlic in Canterbury, NH every fall. My favorite one is Music. Looking forward to this book. Dee

    • I love that variety, Deanna! I had small heads, too, when they didn’t get enough sun and I planted them too closely. I’ll have to check out Two Sisters Garlic (love the name). I learned to plant garlic from my own sister.

  6. Can’t wait to get this at the library.

  7. I do not use a lot of garlic and have never tried to grow it. But this sounds real good.

  8. It sounds as if garlic is a bit easier to grow than some other foods. I’m wondering if I should try my hand at it, if it will grow in a fairly small bed. Edith, I’m eager for your next locavore mystery to be out. Cam is an engaging character. What trouble will she find next?
    Claire

    • It will grow in a small, bed, Claire, as long as you don’t crowd the cloves and it gets full sun. Try it! (The next book won’t be out for a year, I’m afraid…)

  9. If you grow garlic casually it’s easy to forget it’s been planted. After a long cold winter it’s a nice surprise to have them sprouting up. I plant cloves inbetween other plants for bug control. I plant on a very small scale though. I will pick just one spot next year and follow your instructions Edith.

  10. This sounds interesting. I have never grown garlic but have thought about it.

  11. I love to get in on the start of new series and follow it through to the end. This one sounds like a great start. Garlic is so healthy for us and I try to use it as much as possible, but I have not tried to grow it before. Thanks for a chance to win the book.

  12. Love trying out new cozy series! Thanks.

  13. There is no comparison between fresh grown garlic and store bought. I don’t know what they do to it, but the flavor just isn’t there. I’ve been growing garlic from the original 6 blubs for over 5 years now. I’ve learned how to do the garlic braid and I let them hang in the garage until the weather turns colder, I then replant the best ones, dehydrate some for garlic ganules, and the best garlic powered ever.

    • You have the right approach, Peggy! I haven’t thought of dehydrating but that’s a great idea, especially for the little cloves that are a pain to cook with.

  14. I enjoy books that entertain and teach–this one definitely does!! I am a foodie and LOOOVE to eat, especially anything loaded with garlic!! Can’t wait to get my fork into this book;)
    Cindi
    Mommasez…
    ccclubbs.com

  15. Growing garlic sounds very interesting, I may have to try it someday. Fresh garlic is much better than shaking dry out of the jar. The book sounds very good!

  16. Your book looks intriguing as well as enticing.

  17. Food, delectable ideas and special ingredients. all make this wonderful.

  18. So glad to see a “farming” cozy series! Definitely adding this to TBR list! Great review and love the synopsis!

  19. Congratulations on the publication of A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die! It sounds like a great mystery. I have not grown garlic, but at one time I lived near Gilroy, CA where garlic is a major crop. The garlic in the area smelled wonderful.

  20. never tried growing garlic but I have successfully grown other herbs and spices

    • Vesper, I grow other perennial and annual herbs (I’m in the Northeast) but what I would consider spices don’t grow in our area. Garlic is easy anywhere – give it a try.

  21. This sounds like a fun new series!!

  22. Going to keep comment short — gotta to get to reading my TBR pile so I can hopefully add Tine to Live A Tine to Die! Thanks for visiting & for the chance for a free giveaway!

    • Linda – if you don’t win, ask your library to order it! As I said in a previous comment, tell them Library Journal gave it a positive review.

  23. Thank you for the article and I’m looking forward to the book…. Since I don’t have a green thumb, I probably won’t try to grow my own garlic….

  24. Congrats Edith on the release! The books sounds great. My family loves to eat garlic, raw, cooked, roasted and pickled. I have not however, tried to grow it. What is the one food that you could not live without growing and eating? Mine would be tomatoes.

  25. I live for garlic. Have not thought to try growing it but seems like a logical solution for someone like myself. Thanks for the idea!

  26. I love garlic too. And your book sounds great to as I am into farming and love cozy mysteries
    -my favorite kind of reading

  27. I wonder if garlic would grow here in Northern Minnesota? The deer seem to eat everything I plant, but maybe they would let me have some garlic.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  28. This sounds so good! I’ve been working on a small herb garden, and garlic is on my to-plant list.

  29. This sounds like a fun new book for me. Thank you for the chance to win it.

  30. I’m going to reply to a bunch of comments at once here – look for your own reply!
    -Alicia – thanks! I’m sure you can find good garlic locally somewhere.
    -Christine A – Hmm. I have grown Sun Gold gold cherry tomatoes for more than two decades and it’s just not the same buying them!
    -Fredamans – It’s pretty easy! Go for it.
    -Ann*H – I think you’ll like the book!
    -Sukey12 – Garlic loves northern climes. If the deer eat onions, then they might eat garlic. Worth a try, though.
    – Tammy – Give it a try!
    – Griperang – Hope you win! (And if not, see my comment about libraries…)

    I so much appreciate everybody stopping by.

  31. This sounds like a great series, I’ll have to add it to my list. I love garlic, do you know if it can be grown in a few planters?

  32. Congrats to Edith, would love to read the start of this new series. I think a farm has infinite possibilities, both for sites and devices for murder!

  33. The story sounds terrific. As far as the garlic, I don’t think it would work for me…bad soil and too many dogs that would eat the plants. I don’t think it would be healthy for them. They eat anything.

  34. -HoldenJ, indeed, a farm hold many possibilities! Thanks for stopping by.
    -Ikish77123 – Glad you like the sound of the story! Funny – I had no idea dogs would eat garlic greens. But then, I’m a cat owner. ;^)

  35. Your book sounds wonderful. As for the garlic, the only thing I will eat is garlic bread. My Mom says I’m a very picky eater. Maybe so.

  36. Sounds like a good read. I’ve never grown garlic but I love to eat it.

  37. -Barbara – Thanks! Garlic bread is a treat.

    -Rita – Thank you!

  38. Currently growing some organic garlic. Scapes probably need to be cut. I didn’t know that. Bet they’d be good with fried potatoes. Some bad chipmunk ate one of the plants so there are a few predators. I have come to the belief that chipmunks will eat anything, but maybe it was a rabbit. My son brought me 50 garlic buds from some Walmart in Nevada, currently stinking up the whole garage. I will make “Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic.” Every week. 🙂

    The entire garden, flowers, herbs and veggies exploded after the recent rains.

    Onward,

  39. I’ve been meaning to try growing garlic, now I will. It sounds easy. I shall try it along with my favorite food, potatoes. Thanks, Edith, for the lesson. I will bookmark this post.

  40. Judy and Polly, thanks for stopping by! Garlic and potatoes are of course a great combination. I threw chopped scapes in a quiche a few days ago and in scrambled eggs, too. You can also lightly steam them and then marinate in a vinaigrette.

  41. I used to have a horse farm, but between caring for the broodmares, schooling the young horses, caring for boarders, giving instruction, growing hay, etc. I didn’t have time to grow a garden. Fortunately, my neighbor had a produce farm and I traded lessons for his daughter for lovely fresh produce all through the season. Now I live in a mobile home park where we are not allowed to have a garden, only flowers and shrubs. I wonder if I could grow garlic in pots? This sounds like a wonderful series and I’d love to win.

  42. Many hard neck garlic varieties (including rocambole, porcelain and striped) store beautifully in cool, dark, dry conditions. Porcelain garlic bulbs, such as German White and Music, are exceptionally good selections for long-term (up to 9 months under optimal conditions) storage. Russian Red, another good-sized porcelain hardneck variety, is also a top-notch keeper. I hang garlic braids in my kitchen and always have a few bulbs on hand in ceramic keepers, but most of my garlic is stored on shelves in a cool (approximately 55 degrees) part of my dark, dry cellar. After harvest and curing (for more detail, see previous post by clicking here) I like to store my garlic bulbs in braids (click here for my popular onion/garlic braiding tutorial with step-by-step photos) and in loosely folded, brown paper bags (this provides ample air circulation). I mark the name of the variety on the outside for quick reference. Some bulbs return to the garden every autumn, and the rest remain in stock on my shelves for winter and springtime use.

  43. This sounds like such a great book!! It has been on my TBR list. I really enjoyed reading this post and getting to know more about Edith.

  44. Congratulations on your new book, Edith! It sounds great. And thank you for the information on how to grow garlic. I’m tempted… I use store-bought garlic bulbs when I can, except when powdered works better (in hamburgers and dusted onto the crust of the no-sauce pizza we make, before adding toppings.) Fresh would be nice. Will it grow in pots?

  45. Irene and Lark – I don’t know if you could grow garlic in a pot, but it’s worth a try! As with any herb or vegetable you grow in a pot, make sure to water it often if the weather is dry, and feed with fish emulsion or other natural fertilizer (according to directions) because pot soil can get depleted. Thanks to you both for your interest!

    Kris – You’re clearly a garlic expert! I like the brown paper bag method. I use that to dry herbs, too.

    Brooke – Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy the read.

  46. When you plant stiff-neck garlic varieties like German Red and Rocambole, the cloves grow in a single layer around a central stalk. Right around now in the season, the plants throw up a scape. It’s the stalk becoming an alien-looking pointy growth that loops around into a circle and then keeps growing. The scape ultimately wants to become a garlic flower, but that robs the bulbs of energy, so farmers clip them off with scissors. I like to saute them. These crunchy green stalks, either whole or chopped, provide a nice mild garlic flavor.

  47. My mother’s name was Edith. She and Daddy had quite a garden of vegetables, but I don’t think they’d say ‘organic’ – and I don’t think they’d have liked to find bodies anywhere on their property!
    I do, however, like to read about murder — and mystery, and all sorts of zany characters. Thank you for writing some interesting sounding ones.

  48. Will enjoy for sure. My master gardner sister in law will faint!

  49. My two favorite things in life, food and books. Wow! I love it already!

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