If you are married to an Italian (like I am), are Italian yourself, or have any fantasies of being Italian, you probably want to grow garlic. Don’t tell the Italians, but it’s one of the easiest things to grow in your garden. Recently Pat Corpora, a real 100% Italian born in Sicily, stopped by to stake my tomatoes, but while he was in my garden, gave a brief lesson in growing garlic (which my husband does). Here are his 5 easy steps:

1: Plant single cloves of garlic in the fall (October is perfect). Take a whole clove, break apart the single cloves and stick them in the ground in rows or any pattern you want, really.

2: In the spring, the garlic will start to grow nice and big all by itself, and then the “scape” will appear, which looks like a giant curled blossom. Cut them back in late spring (so more energy goes to the bulb than the bloom). You can use the scapes for cooking.

3: When the stems start to brown and tilt in early to mid summer, harvest the garlic by pulling it from the ground.

4: Rinse the bulb and cut the roots.

5: Hang the garlic in a cool, dark and DRY place until ready to use. A garage is perfect.

Your garlic will be ready just in time for fresh tomato season. And if you store it well in a cool, dark and dry place, you can use the garlic all winter long.

This article was reprinted with permission. For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.