Garlic is a bit like marmite except that I love garlic. Personally I cherish it not only because it revives any dish with its potent flavour but also because its health properties have been praised for thousands of years. It is characteristic of Mediterranean cooking and is also said to prevent heart diseases and cancer.
I have tried to grow it in our fenland garden but unfortunately it does not grow so well. I guess the issue partially lies in the nature of the soil which is heavy clay. I read that for heavy soil it is advisable to grow garlic on a ridge, which I have tried and it has grown better but the size of the cloves still is nowhere near what I can buy in supermarkets anywhere. And I so much long for those long plaited magnificent garlic heads which adorn so many Mediterranean kitchens.
So this year I have decided to put it to the test in both by Fenland and my Mediterranean garden, 780 miles apart. I am not a very experienced gardener but I will try to grow the same variety in a similar way in both gardens. Obviously the climate and the soil are different so it will affect the way the garlic grows and I am keen to see how certain factors influence growth.
We do get some frosts in Languedoc-Roussillon which is actually good for the growth of garlic but there is also more light and sunshine and my garden soil is apparently adequate for growing vines.
The garlic varieties which I will put to the test are: germidour and garlic thermidrome.
Last year on the Gardeners’ World programme I watched Alys Fowler grow garlic cloves in pots to get them started in the greenhouse and then she will plant them outside in spring. So I shall also try this method here to see if the garlic cloves fare better than those directly planted in the ground.
If you have any tip on how to grow garlic in heavy clay soil or have other preferred varieties, I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise watch out for my next update on the garlic trial 2009!