One day at a time

THE GARDEN: GROWING GARLIC

In mid-June I planted out a few rows of garlic, and I am so excited about it that I think I should have planted a few more rows. I do not mind if I become the crazy garlic lady with garlic hanging in her laundry to dry, garlic sitting on her kitchen bench, and garlic shoots in the fridge ready to add a powerful punch to her stir fries and curries. I just think garlic is wonderful, mostly for its versatility in the kitchen. It has now been about 5 weeks since I planted my garlic, and the first shoots have started to sprout (I have to admit I did have to rummage around the pea straw to find them).

While the shoots are only a couple of centimeters tall at the moment, I thought this may give you more of an idea of what to expect when they are sprouting, as well as how long it can take for garlic to grow in the dead of winter in a temperate climate. At this stage, you still want to keep the shoots mulched, not only to help them grow in the cold, but also to keep birds away. I am not sure if birds like garlic, as I cannot imagine it is that enticing for them but never hurts to protect them. It will also stop weed invasion and other garden pests like slugs and snails.

Weather

Over the last month we have had a number of frosts, some of them quite powerful, including the frost this morning. When I planted my garlic, I did cover the garlic in about 3-4 centimeters of pea straw, and this would have helped keep the bed warm. The soil I planted the garlic in was very dry, and I only watered it in a small bit with planting. Over the last month the weather has been relatively dry, with the odd late winter shower.

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Last weekend however, we had a record rainfall of about 150mm rain over a 24-hour period. Needless to say there was a lot of flooding and when I took the pictures of the garlic the raised garden beds were saturated. Hopefully, this won’t cause my budding garlic to rot in the ground. At the moment the garlic shoots look healthy so hopefully I am in for a good return in November/December (late spring, early summer for New Zealand).

Elephant Garlic

The Elephant Garlic I planted has not sprouted at this stage, although I was only expecting 3 out of 4 bulbs to sprout. It may be that the weather has been a bit too cold for the Elephant Garlic. I think next year I will look at planting this earlier, and buy a few more bulbs to give me better chances of at least 1 sprouting. Anyway, at this point I have nothing to report.

Companion Planting

Garlic, like the majority of plants has a large variety of plants it likes growing alongside. As it is now July (mid-Winter) and there are a few more plants available to be planted in my climate, it has been time for me to start thinking about companion planting for my garlic. This year I have decided to go with Kale, Nasturtium and Radishes. While radishes aren’t considered a companion plant to garlic so much as Kale or Spinach, they can basically be planted alongside almost anything in the garden, and I love adding them to salads. Other companion plants for garlic include apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, dill, eggplants, geraniums, kale, marigolds, peaches, peppers, potatoes, roses, spinach and tomatoes. Garlic is almost a super companion, and for the most part spends it’s time protecting others from a host of diseases like ants, aphids, beetles, snails and spider mites.

 

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