Garlic is in the spotlight at the mo, both on the telly and the allotment.
Last week, Clarissa Dickson Wright and the Great British Food Revival implored us to eat British garlic, and help support our few producers.
Getting hold of British garlic is quite tricky from a shop, but the good news is pretty much anyone with outside space can grow it for themselves – and now is also the perfect time to get the overwintering bulbs in.
Garlic in Florist Buckets
I planted my Solent Wight a couple of weeks ago. I put a row in the ground, but also some in a florist bucket. I really like florist buckets – they’re free and easy to get hold of, and manageable size so I don’t end up using loads of valuable soil filling it up.
This year I’ve grown parsnips in a few buckets, and they’ve done well. I won’t win a competition with them, but they look true and pointy, rather than the stumpy, stunted examples I get in my stony main beds. Going to try early carrots in the next year, maybe under some sort of cover.
I put a couple of holes in the bottom, add a few stones, and fill the lower third with allotment soil. I then put my own compost into the middle third and top up the bucket with multi-purpose compost.
Well Drained Soil
This is good for garlic as they like well-drained soil, so if I don’t overdo the watering, a pot should work well. I’ve broken up my Solent Wight and planted the 7 bulbs around the edge and in the middle of the bucket and they’ve made a great start to life.
The beauty of growing your own garlic is that keeping one aside for planting again the next year is a dead easy way of creating bulbs that will adapt to your own climate and daylight lengths.
This is why growing bulbs from the shops is not particularly successful as they are likely to have been grown abroad in hotter climates, and won’t like the shorter, cooler British days.
Cheering Me Up Now its Dark Early
It is also lovely to be planting something at this time of year too. When the clocks change and suddenly its dark at half four, planting a garlic bulb can be a therapeutic antidote to the clocks going back.
I couldn’t think of a better way to combat the winter blues, knowing that when I’m harvesting these little bulbs, spring will be in full flow again.