If you have read any of my gardening posts you understand that I classify myself as a Garden Virgin. I suspect no matter how many years I garden, I will always think of myself as such. Why? Because other than the occasional foray into ‘how to?’ on the internet I make much of it up as I go along. Okay, I admit, I do apply an ounce of common sense now and then as well. And this includes my foray into growing garlic.
I’ve listened and watched the odd gardening programme (oddly addictive) in my lifetime and someone always seems to be saying ‘you have to do it this way’. I get that experts have worked out the best ways to do things through experience. But I also realise that every plot, country, climate, soil, etc. all add up to make each garden unique and different. So I’m all for rules are meant to be bent, if not broken, e.g. what applies to one, does not apply to all. And~ I find half the fun is not planning, or worrying too much, and simply seeing what happens.
I was given some sage advice early on that most of what you plant in the ground will grow if you watch and nurture it. This has turned out to be true with generally an eighty to ninety percent success rate. And some wonderfully epic failures. Sometimes my fault, sometimes not. All of which I have learned from. I love live and learn gardening.
Take garlic. Last spring I tried growing it from seed. Nada, nunca, nothing. (Ditto onions by the way.) Didn’t help that I also planted at the wrong time of year. One great gardening friend suggested growing (most of) my plants from purchased seedlings, rather than seeds, and where seeds have failed I have gone this route. Garlic, onions, celery, leeks, peppers and aubergines all fall into this category. On the other side, carrots, beans, courgettes and cucumbers from seed seem to be inordinately easy. I do love that I have managed to bring them from a seed to my table when I eat them. There is real satisfaction in that.
Our local garden store is great about having the seedlings available when they should be planted, and not out of season (observant me finally noted). I duly purchased garlic bulbs when they showed up and planted them, in the autumn. Success! Heading into summer and we now have garlic almost ready to harvest.
Then Pumpjack mentioned curing or drying the garlic. Ah.
Well, I suppose, if one thinks about it, it rather makes sense. (Ditto onions again it turns out.) After all, when I looked at the bulbs they looked very fresh indeed. And how is it that garlic lasts such a wonderfully long time unless something is done to it?
One internet search later and I now know how to braid my garlic in bunches. I will be hanging them in the barn as I prefer air drying. But more importantly, I had also read that hung garlic keeps the mosquitoes away. Maybe that is where the vampire legend actually comes from?
Gardener Gifts from Our Shop
Because I have discovered a later in life passion for gardening, I do try to find the odd, fun or particularly French, garden-related item for our Shop. Here’s a taste:
(Simply click on an image if you would like to see more.)