Today is the shortest day and I guess you could say it is technically the first day of the new season as it is the day for the first crops that will be harvested this year to go in. Fortunately the sun was shining weakly on this cold winter day which made a nice change from the previous day where it was raining so desperately you didn’t think it was possible for it to ever stop. So I did what I should on such a day – I planted my garlic.
I was overly cautious this year after my disaster of a harvest of last year. Which you can read about >HERE<. I am determined to have a good harvest this year. In the past I must have been lucky, as with little more than a cursory glance at the garden guide I popped my garlic in and hoped for the best and have always been rewarded with a fabulous harvest, although some years the plump bulbs were a little lean, but I grew them and it wasn’t too much of a phaff to peel them so we ate them. But ‘she’ll be right’ is a risky approach as inevitably I ran into problems that I hadn’t considered would happen to me.
The soil for my garden has been prepared in advance with a good helping of organic material, and a balanced mix of fertiliser and blood and bone. The soil is rich and home to many fat worms. This had to be a good sign. It’s light and fluffy, but moist not soggy despite the rain. It looks good.
I deliberately chose the fattest cloves from the seed bulbs and was ruthless with any that had even the slightest hint that it was less than perfect. Then I took a step I’ve never done before, and I’m not even sure it the right thing to do, but I dusted the cloves with a fungicide. I am not giving the rust the slightest chance this year.
I laid down my grid trellis and pre-poked the holes so as not to damage the root plate of the clove by just shoving them in to the soil. My plastic trellis has 5cm gaps in it and I usually use it to measure how far apart to plant my crops. I normally plant the garlic in every other square, but as they grow healthy and strong then they take up a fair bit of space and I decided that the rust may possibly have been caused by reduced airflow, and roots competing for space and nutrients below ground. So I gave them more space and in one direction they were in every other square, but in the other direction there are 2 spaces between them.
While giving the garlic the best start, this has a knock on effect. Ordinarily my garlic takes up a third of my long bed, and the remaining space is set aside for the onion. The new spacing has stretched the garlic territory into half the bed for 128 garlic. This should be enough to last us the year, however it has encroached on the onion space. And so there is only space in the bed for 128 onions.
I do have an overflow bed that has 216 spaces which gives me room for 344 onions, which could work as that is almost an onion a day leaving a few evenings for Hubby the Un-Gardener to take me out to swanky restaurants. I’ll pop it in the calendar now – “Honey you have to take me out – it’s an onion free day.”
However this doesn’t take into consideration leeks, elephant garlic, spring onions and shallots. They need to go somewhere too. Do I need an overflow onion bed for my overflow onion bed? This doesn’t bode well – the first crop of the season and I’m already short for space.
Come again soon – I may be extending the garden, but shhh, don’t tell Hubby the Un-Gardener.
Sarah the Gardener : o )