Here's something that blows me away, something to get you flabbergasted: about 80% of garlic sold in the U.S. is from China. Eighty percent! I heard this statistic awhile back on CNBC and didn't believe it until I saw it. Next time you buy your little pack of three, check the label at the top: Product of China, it will say.
Obviously, the reason we import garlic here is because it's much cheaper than our U.S.-grown stuff. A pound of garlic from China can cost as little at 79 cents. A pound from the U.S. can cost as much as $4.99. The average American consumes about three pounds of garlic a year. Do the math and see if it makes sense for you to buy garlic from China. It's about $55 extra per year for a family of four to buy garlic from the U.S. versus China. Nevermind the environmental costs of shipping food all the way from the other side of the world... whew, I don't even want to think about it.
I have no problem with China. But I do have a problem with China's soil. Due to soil degradation (caused by rapid urbanization), farmers have resorted to using large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to keep production levels up. Another result of rapid urbanization is industrial waste, of which there is plenty in China's air (and I imagine in the soil as well). We all know that garlic grows under the ground, rather than on top of it. This makes it more likely to soak up whatever "stuff" is in the soil.
They have a lot of mouths to feed in China, and a lot less of those mouths belong to farmers who know how to grow their own food. Which brings me to my point: growing our own. We've decided that we should grow as much of our own food as possible here at our lovely lizard lair. One of those foods is - you guessed it - garlic. I have read that I can plant a clove and get a whole head after about 90 days. Beautiful! I have also read that garlic and roses are great companion plants. If roses were my thing, I'd plant a few garlic cloves near them to keep aphids away. That's lovely, times two!
Garlic also goes well with a variety of other garden vegetables, like tomatoes. Apparently, a lot of insects/pests don't like the smell. Cool. I need all the help I can get. I'll be planting two or twenty here soon...