Sunday, 29 November 2009

Garlic time

Garlic should be planted before the end of November which has been something of a challenge this year but finally with 1 day to go the weather was dry enough, and actually even a little sunny. Luckily I had dug and raked the garlic bed a few weeks ago when I was planting the onions so all I had to do was break apart the bulbs and push the individual cloves into the soggy soil.

Last year I bought the Garlic Lovers pack from T&M and ended up with rather a lot of garlic so this year I have replanted some of my own cloves, but just 4 bulbs instead of 8 this time. The garlic did suffer from a little rust this year so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will grow up and swell as they're meant to.

Obviously I could have just played it safe and bought some new bulbs this year but the problem is I read somewhere that if you keep replanting your own cloves after 3 years you will have effectively cultivated your own variety of garlic which is completly suited to your allotment or garden. I think I have a romantic attachment to this idea so I'm risking the complete garlic failure of next year to give it a try. Who knows you could all be clamouring to try "Souper garlic" in just a few years time. Or maybe not.

Sorry about the lack of photos there wasn't much to see on the garlic front (well you know what a clove looks like and they just went into mud right?).

Sunday, 8 November 2009

How not to plant onions

Don't order packs of onions until you are sure about your planting plan and have considered your need for fresh onions vs. storage onions. It helps to have some idea of just how much space onions will take up, if possible clear the weeds and dig this area over before the packs arrive. If you fail to do this don't put all 3 packs in the shed for a warm autumn, they tend to sprout at best or just start rotting. Rotting onions are disgusting.

Once you come to plant the sprouting sets be very careful when getting them out of the packaging or you will break each and every one of the sprouts. Mark the rows with a proper string and post thing, don't use bamboo canes laid on the floor; bamboo canes aren't straight. Remember not to mark your rows in relation to other wonky rows or you will have to look, and everyone else can laugh, at your wonky lines of onions until next July.

Once you start planting the sets make sure you don't stand on all the previously planted rows and most of all keep any eye on which row you are up to; it takes a long time to plant a row of carefully spaced onions, each covered with a crumbling of soil only to discover you have planted them on top of the previously planted red onions. Digging up the sets and replanting will be a slow and tedious task.

If you can avoid all of these pitfalls planting onions will be quick and painless. It took me the best part of 2 weekends.