• Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
I am currently growing garlic in my garden and since I found out last year that it was not so easy to grow in my heavy clay soil I decided to do a garlic trial.
English Garden Garlic
Following from my last post on my garlic trial I am having mixed results at present. I guess the weather and the type of soil have had a lot to do with the results.
So far I can report that the garlic in my English garden is struggling as you can see in the picture on the right hand side with the tiny cloves and some onions in the background; in fact some of them seem to have died out.
I am not sure if the cause of this failure was the wet winter followed by a really dry spring.
French Garden Garlic
It also looks like the dreaded rust affected some of the garlic bulbs.
Even the cloves which I planted in modules a while ago and were given a head start in spring suffered badly. And it looks like the garlic variety Thermidrome was mostly affected.
In the meantime the garlic in my French garden was doing fine last month but I have now left it to its own devices and I know that it is getting really hot down there. The harvest time shouldn’t be too far away now and only time will tell.
• Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Following from my Garlic trial 2009 article I recently traveled South to check how the garden had evolved since I last visited back in January.
Garlic Trial in France
As you can see below the garlic grown in my southern French garden is doing well and has grown bigger shoots than the same varieties grown in my East Anglian plot (UK).
Back in November 2008, it rained a lot in Languedoc Roussillon with near floods (5cm of water covered my garden area). Then the first half of 2009 was also a cold winter for the region including some snow.
I also tried to do a newspaper mulch around some of my garlic plants, which was effective in so far as it prevented to some extent the growth of the horsetail weeds. However there were a few annual weeds growing on the soil on top of it. I am really looking forward to the forthcoming period of growth and the result of my garlic trial.
• Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
Today I had a look at the garlic which I have grown in modules (as per Alys Fowler’s tip in my previous garlic article) and compared it with the garlic directly planted directly in the ground back in winter time.
Garlic in modules
As you can see on the picture, the growth of the garlic in modules already looks stronger than the shoots in the ground, and it is now ready to be planted out. Admittedly we did have some cold weather this winter and a lot of rain. I think that the rain and the heavy clay soil were the main factors which constricted the garlic clove and prevented it from growing as well as the module grown garlic.
However, this is just the start. I will need to check out progress over the next months, including in my French garden.
So do watch out for more news on garlic!
• Sunday, February 15th, 2009
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!