Garlic

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Cosmos in bloom with blue dragonfly, Sat 9 Nov 2019. (Photo by G)

It’s been monsoons – too wet & mucky to garden.  Last weekend was a complete wash out. This week there’s been flooding up North and one woman died when a river overran its banks.  Yikes.

This morning started with heavy mist – the hills of the heath were invisible in the milky skyline.  But by mid-morning the sun started shining and it looked like it would be nice, so we went out to the allotment.  Brought up three more water jugs to use as cloches in the early spring, as well as the bag of onion, garlic and tulip bulbs – and the little dragon fly garden twirler that Peej sent for my birthday.  Put together the little dragonfly right away and installed him to watch guard over the blueberry pot.  After that I only got the garlic planted, as by the time we were done with that simple task it had started to drizzle.

But in the meanwhile, before the drizz, the big guy hung up the Canadian license plates on the front side of the shed and tidied up the paving stone steps.

I puttered, and harvested us a sweet treat in a handful of ripe yellow raspberries.  Raspberries in November!  Go figure!  The pink flowered cosmos are also still in flower. Amazing!

Eventually I got around to preparing the plots for our autumn garlic beds, after tidying and weeding in the rhubarb bed and then spreading fresh horse manure around the base of all the rhubarb.  These are the divisions that Richard gave us last autumn – they are not looking great to be honest, and the plan originally had been to dig them up and transplant them to the back patch.  I can still do that anytime before Christmas….

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View of blue dragonfly from inside the shed. (Photo by G, 9 Nov 2019)

Then to the garlic beds.  Had to pull off all the super-wet rotting hay, turn over the heavy clay soil, sprinkle bonemeal and then add some new bagged potting soil to lighten it up a bit.

Transplanted two big clumps of forget-me-not to beside the lemon verbena (and outside the raised bed) – not sure if they will survive the transplant but there’s no room in the growing beds for wildflowers.  Hopefully they survive.
Into the small square bed at the bottom of the path between the raised beds at the bottom of the plot we planted two Giant Elephant Garlic bulbs.  Go bulbs go!

Into the part of the raised bed where this summer we had tried winter squash (not fantastically successfully) and tomatoes (the cherry red & yellow tomatoes did quite well there) we planted rows of Germidour French Garlic (soft-necked).

The front part of that bed still has lots of calendula in it – some still flowering bright and yellow – but I’m going to dig them out and cultivate that bit a little better over the winter.  Calendula isn’t a wildflower per se, but it also now has no part to play in the raised bed area.  We can get them growing at the edge of the pathways and also in the areas reserved for flowers – like where the cosmos are planted.

Once the garlic bulbs were planted into each bed we topped it with the fresh manure organised for delivery by the allotment committee.  This should help activate the worms in the soil and break up the clay a bit.  To achieve rich, crumbly, friable soil will take years of improvement, but hopefully each season shows benefits.

Germidour French Garlic (soft-necked): plant 1 inch deep, 4 inches apart; keep soil moist during growing season; remove weeds.  Mid-summer leaves will start to die down.  Lift the garlic from the soil and leave on the surface to ripen for a few days.  When dry, store in a light, dry & airy position.  Said to have a mild flavour, with violet cloves.

Elephant Garlic (Giant): plant 1 inch deep, 4 inches apart.  Keep the soil moist during the growing season and keep the soil weeded.  In mid-summer when the leaves start to die down, lift the garlic and leave to ripen for a few days.  Store in a dry, airy position.  Said to be excellent for roasting or eating raw in salads.

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