What’s coming up on the allotment?

Garlic – yes, even the stuff that went in this spring is showing beautifully. It’s something of an annoyance to me that Maurice grows better garlic than I ever have, although not because of Maurice – he’s very generous about sharing his produce and his garlic is just wonderful: strong but sweet, full of flavour and not fibrous. The reason I get so annoyed is that I grew up on the Isle of Wight, the home of UK garlic production, and a place that actually has a Garlic Queen every year (go figure!) and so surely I ought to be able to grow it really well? My garlic is okay but I think Maurice’s soil is better than mine, or something.

One problem is that, as you can see in the picture, garlic casts no shade and so it gets swallowed up very fast by weeds because it doesn’t shade its own roots to keep them clear of lower weed growth. The RHS recommends growing it through opaque mulching film but Maurice doesn’t, so neither do I.

On the plus side, it doesn’t need watering and only suffers from virtually not problems. A lot of people don’t realise you can cut the green leaves to use in a salad (or on top of a hearty omelette, very tasty!) but really you get the joy when the leaves turn yellow and you lift the bulbs, carefully, with a hand fork, before laying them out to dry in an airy place, ensuring no bulb touches another. Once they begin to make that rustling sound you can move them to a ventilated container or plait the stems and hang the plait in an airy but not too warm place.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, April 28, 2008


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