Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Clove Tuesday

Garlic. The stuff of vampires, the French and pizza express dough balls. When the world moves at breakneck pace, nothing like some old fashioned stereotypes and lack of imagination to bring things to a grinding halt.

Back in March, it was quite something to undress a garden centre bulb, peeling back the delicate layer to reveal a cleavage of promise. I didn't really think about how garlic starts out but it all comes from planting a clove. Apparently, you shouldn't plant supermarket garlic - it's often from abroad and not resistant to our pests. Given that garlic repels everyone from a first date to creatures with fangs, wings and an ability to Count (ha ha ha), it perhaps shows why garden diseases are the hardest things to fight.

I read that the secret to growing good garlic is, ironically, protection. From weeds. It needs nutrients that weeds are only to keen to get their roots into.

And of course, leading a busy fun filled life as I like to think I do but probably don't in the eyes of your average university 'student', I let the weeds take over. As a result, out of my 5 cloves planted this year I only got one bulb. But it did something only onions are supposed to do, it made my eyes water. Well, actually no, but I did get quietly emotional at successfully lifting out this small thing, possibly a little early but its leaves had withered and it had to be rescued from impending weed doom:

I'm sure many of you have got those bunches of garlic tied up, drying out and looking all continental ready for a winter of fragrant warm dishes to banish les bleus, and one day I hope to join you. I know a friend Jess of radish fame is even experimenting with elephant garlic, so these pages may yet reveal more impressive photos than what you see above. But for now, I take mini pride in what I grew and those cloves will undoubtedly make my roast chicken that little bit classier... 

A bientot


Laura said...

Love this picture and as usual makes me wish I had thought about growing garlic! What are you planting now, let us know so that we can copy-cat, saves me thinking :)

Hapless gardener said...

Morning Laura, thank you! I'm popping to the garden centre at lunchtime to pick some winter veg, but have carrot seeds ready to try again and will be taking up some suggestions from Split Pea Troupe comments, incl chinese greens and kale. And more chillis! I think there's stuff you can plant in October too so don't despair. And you could always just try planting a clove anyway, in a pot and keep indoors? Worth an experiment I reckon!

linniew said...

You know, if you can grow one garlic you can grow a row of 'em! And that ONE is a beauty.

Here in Oregon I plant them in October (like tulips), feed them in Feb and maybe April and dig them about early July. --Dependable garlic helps me get over "les bleus" from the tiny peppers, invisible carrots and occasional vampire.

Elspeth said...

What a fabulous photo! Do you use a macro lens? I'm about to move house, and plant a load of garlic - so might photograph its journey I think.

Enjoying your blog
Kind regards

Hapless gardener said...

Hi Elspeth, thank you for the comment, very kind. My camera is an old digital SLR 'all-in-one' with built in macro lens. It's not that great, very sensitive to shakes but every so often it comes good! Thank you for following and hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.

Linniew, vampires in oregon?! Yikes. Thank you too for the garlic complement, yes I'm thrilled with it and will be planting a lot more and will see if we can plant them in autumn here too, hope so (though no vampires that I know of round my way!)

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

My photo
I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.