Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Whoops!

Oh dear, poor neglected blog.  I got so caught up in the harvesting and eating of the things I’d grown that the blogging got left by the wayside.  Must…..try…….harder…….

So far this year I only have garlic in the ground.  They went in over Christmas before the snow so I hope they are ok.  Last year I put them in around October and they were already poking through when the colder weather came.  I’ve gone for a French variety this year called Cristo, which I picked up at the garden centre.  Also last year I got rust on the leaves but it doesn’t seem to have affected the bulbs at all which we are still eating now.  I probably got about 25 bulbs from last year’s efforts.  I’ve given a few away and some were quite small but they all divided into cloves and taste great.

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I can’t believe it is February tomorrow!!  Must get some seed potatoes and start chitting.  I only had a small crop of 4 different varieties last year, and unfortunately, as with most people whose blogs I’ve read, they went mushy on boiling.  Some of the Desirees were huge when I dug them up.

Well, back to it I guess – need to find a good blight free tomato for this year, any suggestions?

 

Onions – first harvest

My “Radar” onions had started to flop over and as they were getting quite large, and we had a dry afternoon today, I dug them up.  They are of varying sizes but all big enough for me to be happy with.  I’d say they were all at least as big as a tennis ball.

I also dug out a few bulbs of garlic as the leaves were getting very rusty.  In last weeks “Gardener’s World”, Monty Don suggested that this is the best course of action for rusty garlic even though the bulbs may not be fully formed yet.  The ones that came out were great but I have decided to leave the rest of them in for now and see if I can get them a little bigger.  These were “Vallelado” garlic, an organic variety from The Organic Catalogue which I planted on October 4th.  These were the first things I planted in my new veg patch and now they are fully grown and on their way in the big wide world.  I’m so proud, (sniff).

Radar onions & Vallelado garlic 1.7.12

I have put them all in the growhouse out of the rain, but with plenty of light to dry out.  Hopefully they’ll last long enough for us to eat them.

Also today I harvested another batch of broad beans for dinner, along with some lovely rainbow chard from the square foot growbag.

Broad beans and rainbow chard 1.7.12

Garlic – first harvest

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Not quite ready, it hasn’t divided into cloves yet, but perfectly usable.  I just couldn’t wait any longer, and in my haste I put the fork straight through the bulb as I dug it out!!  I cut the leaves off as t was the first one and a tester but the rest I will let dry out and then plait them together.

Bursting out all over

Cripes, where did the time go?  Over a month since my last garden update and everything has gone bananas!  And these are almost the size of bananas……….

…….and growing at a rate of knots!!  These are the broad beans that I direct sowed last October.  They survived the winter and are about 4ft tall.  The larger pods are almost ready to pick, I tried one a week ago but the beans inside were still quite small.

This morning I have finally got around to planting my tomatoes into their growing bag.  It is a two sided patio bag and I have filled it with part homemade compost and part New Horizon organic peat-free.

In each half I have put 3 plants, one each of Gardener’s Delight, Moneymaker and a cherry plum called San Marzano 2.  All grown from seed, I’m happy with them at the moment, we’ll see how they produce!  The Tumbling Tom Yellow, I have also grown from seed and have put two plants in each of two large pots.  One of them already has a couple of flowers on it…

A couple of weeks ago  gave my step-dad one of each of the above 4 varieties and he is growing his in conventional grow bags so we shall see how his compare to mine as the weeks go by.

A few days ago i caught sparrows eating the leaves of my peas so we had to rig up a Heath Robinson style net using some canes, “BuildaBalls” and netting. There was much frustration from me as it kept falling over but in the end a bit of parcel tape and some clothes pegs were employed and at the moment it is still standing – just!

Thise are Meteor peas but I also sowed some Feltham First in a pot just outside the patio doors.  They aren’t growing as fast but there is already a flower.

The square foot patio bag is going great guns, and I’ve been cutting salad leaves from the front left square for over a week now.  The rainbow chard has really taken off too and everything else is catching up.  I have two types of kale, leeks, carrots, kai-lan, chard, asparagus peas and salad in there

I think there were some tomato seeds in the homemade compost I added as there are two rogue tomato plants coming up in the back right square amongst the kale!

The potatoes are doing well and were earthed up on Saturday, and the onions and garlic are swelling nicely.  One of the onions produced a tall flower spike but on advice from UK Veg Gardeners I cut it off as apparently onions that flower don’t store as well.

I am really pleased with the amount of blueberries on my two plants, but will need to net them soon to keep the birds (and dog!) off them

And finally the two non-veg beds.  In this one I just scattered some wildflower, cosmos, echinacea, and poppy seeds back in March.  I don’t know if anything is a flower or a weed at this point!!

And this one I call the Purple Patch because by pure coincidence I realise I have planted (mostly apart from the snowdrops and a white-ish lavender) all purple flowering plants – lavender, allium (which I seem to have cut out of the photo!) and a Japanese anenome.

Last but not least I bought a strawberry pot from Morrisons a couple of months back and a pack of 6 very tiny herb plants.  Since I planted them in the pot they are starting to get going

So that’s my garden round up for the beginning of June.  Hopefully the next post will be of my broad bean harvest!!

Is there a giant at the top?

My beans are growing so fast I’m wondering if they are magic beans and there is going to be a giant at the top shouting ” Fee, fi, fo, fum!”  Here they are as of this morning, 12 days after I sowed the seeds…….

I bought some bamboo canes at the weekend, I think it might soon be time to construct some wigwams.  Although saying that, there was a ground frost this morning so these are staying inside for now.

The tomatoes are slower growers but coming along with a germination rate of almost 100% (the beans have been 50%).

Outside, the broad beans are just starting to flower

and the cabbages, onions & garlic are ticking over. (The camellia flowers are dropping in from next door!)

The rhubarb crown I planted in the autumn has two large stalks now and plenty of new growth.  Would I be able to eat the two larger stalks or just leave the whole thing be until next year?

(click photos to enlarge)

Quick veg patch update

The new growing year hasn’t properly started yet but my patch isn’t bare.  Somehow the things I planted in the autumn are surviving – some just about!

Here is the bed near the end of November

22nd November 2011

And here it is today

25th January 2012

Not a HUGE difference but there is definitely growth there.  The onions and garlic have put on a little spurt since we had a hard frost.  I’m not sure if the peas (top left) are going to flourish so I’ll sow some more of those in pots to transfer later.  At the far end is where my spuds are going to go.  I’ve ordered them today – 6 tubers each of Arran Pilot, International Kidney and Desiree.  I’ve only ordered a few because I don’t want them to take up too much of the remaining space, I need some room for my beans and carrots and whatever else I want to have a go at.  I think I’ll stick with containers for the tomatoes.  I’m going to put herbs around the outside of the fencing as the dofg doesn’t seem inclined to eat those.  And also some companion flowers to attract insects.

I finally got round to phoning the council at the beginning of the month and have got my name down on the allotment waiting list!  It is at least two years long but the way I see it is that by then I’ll either really want it and have a bit of experience, or the novelty will have worn off before investing a lot of effort in a whole plot.  In the meantime I’ve got this little patch and my containers to practice in.

For those of you who have a Kindle (or other means of reading Kindle books), I got hold of these two ebooks recently.  I haven’t actually read them yet so can’t vouch for them.  They were free at the time I got them, but I’ve just checked and they are now £2.55 each

Organic Solutions to Everyday Garden Problems

Organic Compost Guide

I’ll review them when I’ve had a chance to read them.

Late November roundup

Yesterday I received two raspberry canes from a “free if you pay P&P” offer in Grow Your Own magazine.  Basically they sent me two sticks with roots on the bottom!  Anyway I’m not really sure where I want them to go but I obviously needed to get them in somewhere for now or they really would end up as just two dead sticks so I have put them in the veg bed against the fence.  One is called Polka which is an autumn fruiting variety, and the other is a summer fruiting Glen Ample.  I don’t know if I will get any fruit next year but we’ll see.

While I was outside I took a few photos of the late November veg patch

Overwintering veg

I got some of those FlexiBalls to build a low cage over the cabbages because I think the pigeons will start eyeing them up soon.  And also threw some organic wool slug pellets around them because something has already had a go.  These pellets are completely safe and made from the clinkers off a sheep’s bum! Nice!! They ponged a bit when I opened the bag. They are a good fertiliser too but whether they keep the slugs off is another matter.

Cabbages and new raspberry cane Glen Ample (back left)

There is a mystery with the garlic.  Quite a few of the organic Vallelado are coming up, but so far not one single shoot of the Solent Wight.  This is a photo of the onions with the garlic on the right, and the Polka raspberry at the back.

Onions, garlic and new raspberry cane Polka

These are my peas and broad beans, the peas are just starting to curl their little tendrils around the sticks

Peas (front) and broad beans (back)

And finally the sweet peas in pots in the growhouse

Sweet peas in growhouse

And that’s about it really.  I did have a quick look at the rhubarb and it looks like there might be a big shoot developing on the top of the crown.  I hope it doesn’t start growing yet.

I am currently reading a book a friend recommended to me called Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of Bicarb of Soda and some white vinegar!!  Haven’t tried any yet but will do soon.  It’s all much more eco-friendly than the cupboard full of poisons most people have in their houses.

A short local walk, first turnips & last tomatoes

Chester has a cycle path that runs between Connah’s Quay in Deeside to Mickle Trafford a few miles east of Chester.  It is along the route of an old railway track so is very flat and ideal for strolling along.  I have walked a couple of miles of it from the nearest access point to our house before but had never been to the Mickle Trafford end, so yesterday morning we packed the dog into the car and parked at the far end.  There is no official parking area but the owner of a nearby industrial unit allowed us to park on his forecourt as long as we didn’t break an ankle and sue him as a previous person had done!!

We walked for about half an hour along the track to where it goes under the A55, and then the skies were darkening a bit so we headed back.  Along the route were some interesting pieces of art…

This morning I had a mooch about the garden and found that the last of the tomatoes are ripening up finally, possibly because I gave them a good drenching after not watering for a good 10 days.

I picked the ripest and I think I’ll give the rest another week.

In the patio bag I noticed a couple of the turnips pushing back up through the compost I had earthed them up with a couple of weeks ago, so I investigated and pulled out these two

I don’t remember ever having eaten a turnip so this will be a new experience for me.  I’ll probably just roast them in some olive oil this evening.

My onions are coming up quite well now, there are about 20 little green shoots, but no sign of the garlic yet.  The peas are doing ok and the cabbages now have collars.

I picked some of the French bean pods that have been drying in the shed and shelled them.  I’ve got plenty of seed to attempt to grow in the spring now.

Finally I sowed a few more sweet peas in the growhouse, Tall Mixed this time, and that’s about it.

No liposuction required………

……….but I have a lovely new butt!!

This one is to go on the patio.  We have a drainpipe that collects all the water from the new extension roofs and existing rear house roof so it shouldn’t take too long to fill once it is connected.  It is a narrow “space saver” water butt, 100 litre capacity.  I ordered it from greenfingers.com in their clearance sale for £19.99 plus a stand for £7.99.  I have got a connector kit separately from this seller on ebay, so that’s a job for the weekend when we find a suitable tool for making the hole for the connecting water pipe to fit.

You get free delivery if you order over £29, so because I was a little short I ordered this (rather substantial when it arrived) dibber and a pair of very fetching knee pads!!

On Sunday morning I planted out my 7 cabbage seedlings and covered them with fleece until the cabbage collars arrive.  And I think that is now it for the sowing and planting until the spring.  I currently have onions, garlic, cabbage, peas and broad beans in the veg bed, turnips in the patio bag and the last of the tomatoes desperately fighting to ripen on the patio.  It is quite sunny (but cold) today so fingers crossed for a few more before I have to bring them in.  I cut down and hung my French beans in the shed to dry for seeds.  But I have no idea what the original plants were, (which I bought as small plants unlabelled at the local hardware store,) let alone if they are F1s so I will have to get some other seeds as well, I was thinking of Blue Lake as they look the most like the ones I had this year.

I did have a slightly amusing tomato, a siamese twin…..

I am currently reading a book called Allotted Time, an amusing account of two guys who decided on a slightly tipsy night out to get an allotment when neither of them had ever gardened before.  I’m about two thirds through so will review it when I’m done.  And I have been adventurous in my cooking with two recipes from River Cottage Veg Every Day last week and another planned for tonight.  The River Cottage TV series to accompany the book just started on Channel 4 on Sunday evening and I am very pleased to say it doesn’t clash with the Strictly results show!!

A proper gardener

I got quite a few things done yesterday.  I’m afraid Morrisons’ plant section managed to ensnare me once again but I only spent a fiver and got 2 perennials and 2 different types of bulbs.  The bulbs were £1 a packet for 6 snowdrops or 10 fritillaries.  There were various others there too but I just chose these.  The perennials I got were 2 for £3, a Heuchera Ruby Bells and a Penstemon Picotee Red. They also had good size Cordylines but I left those for now.

So the bulbs are now in the lavender bed.  It doesn’t look much yet, the lavenders are very small and the bulbs are obviously underground but you can see the Japanese anemone!  I’m hoping the 3 buds on it will open before it gets too cold.

I then checked on my cabbage and pea seeds in the growhouse.  All 7 cabbages have germinated and 3 of 7 peas so far.  There doesn’t appear to be any difference between the Jiffy 7s and the multipurpose compost in terms of germination.

I have put my three strawberry runners in there and the four large pots in the middle contain 3 sweet pea seeds each, also sown yesterday.  I’ve planted 2 pots with Spencer Waved Mixed and 2 with Butterfly Kisses.

And then I did some real planting!!  I put in my garlic!  I planted one block of Vallelado from the Organic Catalogue.  I had 3 bulbs which gave me 20 decent sized cloves.  And I had 1 bulb of Solent Wight from SimplySeeds from which I got a block of 16 cloves but some of them were quite small and may not be viable.  Here’s a picture but it is just of a bed of soil and a few lolly sticks!!

I’m not sure if I have planted them too deep but I guess all will be revealed in due course!  The skies were darkening for a rainstorm at this point so my intentions of planting the onion sets were scuppered but that is a job for today.

In other news…..it seems my rescue efforts on the blueberry worked, it has produced the first new growth since I’ve had it!!

And my yellow dahlia has finally produced a flower……(sorry about the blur!)

I’m starting to feel like a proper gardener now!!

(All photos can be clicked to enlarge.)