Garlic Harvest 2012…

I’ve just pulled all the garlic and just in time, it would appear, as for the first year ever, they have started with rust.

The bulbs are unaffected so once dried off a bit, instead of plaiting them, I’ll simply snip off the stems and put all the foliage into the recycle bins (ie not the compost) and store them in a bowl instead.  I usually do this with the smaller bulbs anyway, just so long as the garlic has dried enough to form a seal at the top of the bulb before really trimming them down.  At the moment, the shallots growing alongside the garlic are rust free, it’ll be interesting to see how they go as we are still in the midst of very strange weather, a mixture of hot sun and then torrential rain.

So, back in Autumn, I planted 4 large bulbs of ‘Albigensian Wight’ and some of my own bulbs stored from the pervious harvest.  I would normally plant a mixture of ‘Solent Wight’ & ‘Albigensian’, but I opted for just the one variety this year.

They have been harvested about 2 weeks later than normal, but how produced smaller bulbs, not a bad size and all, but definitely smaller.  I might try just ‘Solent Wight’ next year and see if this makes a difference (last year I had some huge bulbs but I couldn’t remember which cloves had been planted where).

I also planted much less than last time, as you can see, I still have some of that harvest left (along with the final shallots), the one good thing is both varieties are really good keepers.  I just don’t have enough space to plant huge amounts of garlic and there’s no point if we can’t eat it all.  I’ve tried pickling it in the past, but again, if I still have plenty of fresh hanging in the kitchen there’s not much need for the pickled version.

There is quite  a lot of work to do in the garden, the trouble is it’s either tipping it down or blazing so brightly that I can’t bare to work outside.  I am not a big fan of hot summer weather unless I’m on holiday, or relaxing, I find it difficult to be very physical in the heat plus my (new-ish to me) hay fever is really bad this year, even having the windows open in the house makes my eyes itch and sting, despite doubling up my hay fever tablets.  Soooooo British, ‘weather…moan….moan…weather!’ 😉

I’m off to cook a chicken for the boys, I plan to stuff it with last year’s garlic, I hate waste so I’m making a determined effort to use it up before this year’s is ready.

The top garden 2012…

It’s like Watership Down out there, there are more rabbits eating our lawn than is even normal for us, 8 as I write this post and they have a permanent wet looking coats with all the rain we are getting, so I feel sorry for them but in return they are getting some very lush grass to eat.

I was worried that some of the sun-loving plants would be unhappy with this permanent cloud and drizzle but it appears not to be the case, the tomatoes are growing really well and are now being fed weekly with a Tomorite solution.  The sweetcorn and peppers are less happy and have now been covered in cloches to create a warmer environment.  I am generally worried about the sweetcorn, they are so far behind schedule I’m not convinced we’ll get any decent cobs this year, but I refuse to give up.

This is a photo of the vegetable patch taken from the glass fronted extension on the side of our house.  The upper floor of this extension is where my studio is located, so I get to see this view every day, when I am busy working on sewing projects for The Linen Cat.  I’m not sure how clear it is but the ‘lawn’ has a nice stripe to it, this is where I, very badly, but a feed and weed solution on recently, the pale stripes are the bits I missed and they are pure clover and moss, it’s something we really need to get on top of as the moss started to creep into the vegetable patch last year and it’s quite difficult to get rid of.

The whole veg patch is surrounded by a fence that is rabbit proof, for the reasons above; I have then grown common box, which is finally getting large enough to shape into a low hedge, in front of the wire fence to hide it and in between there are rosemary, lavender and fruit bushes.  As you can see the fruit bushes are getting a little large, I need to decide what to do there and I’m excited about finally shaping the box into a nice neat square.

The gate is an old stair gate from when the boys where young, covered in wire (again to keep it rabbit proof), it has stone slabs underneath so the rabbits can’t dig under.  I do plan to put a proper gate on one day, and the ugly frame above is normally covered in sweet pea flowers, something I didn’t get sown last autumn and am badly missing.

This is the border area, which has very mean borders (I think!).  If it were up to me, we would have separated the whole garden up and it would have sections, like rooms; with ideally a pond, an orchard area etc, but M has always been adamant it should be left as grass for the boys to play on.

This is about one third of the garden (the border area plus the veg patch together), it folds around 2 sides of the house, the rest is grass, trees and shrubs and we are an end of terrace with 3 neighbours.  As you can see the border is a bit messy and lacking in colour, I was sad to notice that very few of the Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ appeared this year, I think it’s time generally to re-vamp the borders.  I recently bought some new plants to add to give more seasonal colour and varied height, where needed, but I think that should be a separate post.

There is still much to do in our garden structurally, we just find it difficult to spare the time and money when the house itself is still incomplete.  We’re getting there though and I’m in no real hurry, I quite like the slight wildness of it all.



Squash 2012…

I planted this list of squash seeds back in April:

  • Dill’s Atlantic Giant
  • Marina di Chioggia
  • Crown Prince
  • Turk’s Turban
  • Queensland Blue
  • Gem/Rolet
  • Hooligan
  • Sweet Dumpling

As happens every year, only a couple germinated and I got bored with waiting for the rest.  Some of the seed is quite old, so I assumed, as with quite a few things this year, that they wouldn’t come to anything and I planted other crops (like tomatoes) in my giant containers that I usually reserves for squash and courgettes.

Then, weeks later,  they nearly all germinated.  How annoying.

So, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting everything out of the greenhouse and planted outside and that includes the squash, I’ve put a couple in each of the garlic beds as I figure these will be ready early this year (they are growing very well, I think the early rain followed by lots of sun is their kind of weather).  I’ve squeezed a few in other places, often right at the edges of the raised beds as all my beds are directly on top of soil so the roots will happily run underneath the paths and I can fit more in the actual bed.  I hope.  I’ve pretty much lost track of which squash is planted where, the boys keep pulling up my labels…grrrrr….but I figure they all need treating the same, lots of feed and water and hopefully we’ll have good squash crops this year and not a repeat of last year’s pathetic attempts.