Big garlic, little garlic

We haven’t been allotmenteering much of late, due to the relentless rain. Not that we’re fair weather gardeners, just that the ground has been too muddy to either plant or hoe the weeds. We’ve learnt from our experience of last autumn/winter, that when it’s nothing but a huge mud bath, it’s impossible to do anything but tramp great clods of mud around and get very cold and miserable. So it’s best to just stay indoors with the weekend papers and bake cakes. Or go to the beach with the dog, as we did last weekend.

But finally we’ve had a couple of dry sunny days, and so I sneaked away from my desk for an afternoon to plant garlic. This year I’m trying some elephant garlic (the huge clove on the left) which as you can see will produce big but very mild cloves, more like a leek really. And then some regular French garlic – Cristo. I’ve planted three heads of Cristo, which made three rows, and just four cloves of elephant garlic which were planted in the herb bed.

The main crop of summer broccoli (calabrese) have finished, but where I have cut the main heads off and left the plants in the ground, they have gone on to produce small side shoots, which develop these mini heads. It’s like a little extra bonus just when you think the crop has finished. These were covered in whitefly, but no damage done, and a quick soak in salted water kills them off. Also, one of my purple sprouting plants is almost ready to start harvesting. Perfect timing.

I also harvested a few leeks and one large savoy cabbage. This is what we’ll mostly be eating over the coming months!

Successes this year – potatoes (except for the earlies – we won’t mention them), garlic, sweetcorn (amazing), butternut squashes, courgettes, cucumbers, beetroot and french beans. Also the sweetpeas and chrysanthemums get 5 stars.

Hopeless failures this year – carrots (germination failure for some odd reason), parsnips (again – I will crack them one year), peas (weevils and then drought), tomatoes (blight), and onions (dry spring I think).

Oh well, there’s always next year, which will of course be the best one yet! Get those seed catalogues out.

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