During the Winter I spend a lot more time on the house and housey things than I do in the garden. For obvious reasons. The garden is hibernating, dormant, and not pretty to look at unless covered in a blanket of snow or dusted with frost. The house is much more inviting and cosy. But the time for me to be outside more is almost here. I could tell that last week as I worked on my almighty Spring clean. The windows were open, it wasn’t as bitter as it had been and the signs of Spring were everywhere, on the trees, on my hydrangeas and on the roses too. It’s exciting, it’s hopeful and it also reminds me of the work that I have coming up. Well I say work, it’s not work at all really as I love to garden, but there is lots to do, that’s for sure.
One thing that I am sad about is the fact that I didn’t get a chance to do any real prep in the garden last Autumn. The babies were very young, we were still coming to terms with an entirely new schedule and way of life and I didn’t have the wherewithal to be out in the garden planting hundreds of tulip bulbs the way I did the year before. It doesn’t matter too much, I had other things to think about, but I do find myself wrinkling my nose and wincing slightly as I see the beautiful Spring flowers appearing in the shops. I like to plant in the Autumn because my garden rewards me, for a much cheaper price, in the Spring with fabulous bunches of flowers that I bring indoors. But this Spring I’ll be relying on bulbs that have been in the ground for some time. I can already see the hyacinths poking through so all is not lost.
Flowers were not the only thing that I didn’t plant last Autumn. Garlic was also forgotten. But although it is best if garlic is planted in the Autumn (it gets longer to grow and produces bigger heads and more cloves per head) it is not a disaster if you want to get it in the ground now. You just have to be quick about it to give it a really good chance.
Your garlic will arrive or be purchased looking like the type of garlic heads that you’d buy at the Supermarket. But don’t be tempted to get your garlic from there. You need garlic that has been grown virus free and I got mine from Dobies of Devon.
Tear the heads of garlic apart…
…and separate the cloves.
Choose the biggest cloves and discard the smaller ones.
Garlic is best grown in well prepared, free draining soil. A raised bed is perfect for this as there is no chance of it becoming waterlogged. I prepared a small area, in fact I only used a quarter of the entire bed. The beds were almost weed free and the soil is in great condition if a little stony.
I planted each clove a few centimeters beneath the surface of the soil.
Pushing down gently.
And then I carefully covered it over again.
Each clove was approximately six to eight inches apart in each direction. I have two rows of Garlic in total.
As you can see I had help with the second half of planting which meant the whole thing only took about ten minutes. Robert had Friday off work and he came out to help.
You can’t see this too well but I really did only use about a quarter of the entire bed to plant my garlic. We eat a lot of garlic but I believe that this will be more than enough to see us through the Summer. That tells me that garlic is great to grow in smaller spaces and if you like it then I would highly recommend dedicating a small area of the garden to it.
Garlic is also rather perfect for growing in pots if you don’t have a garden. Use one clove per six-eight inch pot, planting about an inch below the surface of the soil, use a seed/potting compost, water well but don’t allow it to become waterlogged.
Officially my garlic will be ready to harvest in late July or early August as I’ve planted it rather late. I’ll wait until the leaves have turned from green to brown and then pull the heads from the ground. Of course if it looks like some decent sized heads have formed before then then I’ll pull a little earlier but when the garlic is harvested early it is harder to store for any length of time so it will have to be used straight away.
Another garden project that we started this weekend was the planting out of four fruit trees. I bought these trees on a ‘heavily pregnant with twins’ whim last Spring. They have been in large pots for a year now and are doing really well for potted trees but I want them in the ground and we have to act fast on this as we need to get them settled before they really do spring in to action for the year. I have pear, apple, plum and cherry trees to be planted and Robert and I began preparing the ground in the back garden yesterday. We didn’t get it all done so we’ll have another go next weekend and I’ll take lots of pictures to show you.
The babies liked being outside with us although they kept kicking off their blankets. It’s exciting to think that they will be running around soon. Hopefully they’ll have four fruit trees to hide behind but I’ll let you know about that one depending on how well they do. Fingers crossed.
If you have grown garlic or planted out potted fruit trees I’d love to know how you got on. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.
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I am….I think! *yawn*
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