Garlic, onions, leeks and mud!

garlic planting garlic sprint cloves

The garlic was planted out on Sunday 1st November. Two hardback varieties – Sprint and Sultop, and an unnamed variety bought from our local horticultural stores, it looks like a soft neck and certainly white variety, but who knows what it is!

As you can probably guess from the name, Sprint is an extra early variety. The cloves had sprouted already and they were chomping at the bit, ready to race.

garlic sprint garlic sprint 2

This is how they looked halfway through the month (top pic) and just today in the bottom pic. They’re certainly living up to their name. The others are just starting to poke their heads tentatively above the ground. At least I’ll have a better succession of garlic next year, and maybe Sprint will out-run the garlic rust that usually arrives a bit later in the summer. They’re all new varieties this year, I had planned on replanting some of my Provence Wight from last years stock, but I decided 5 rows is probably enough.

onions growingcompost trench

So, with all the over wintering onions and garlic in, the beds dug over, compost trenches mostly filled, and green manures sown. There’s been little else to do this month. Which is just as well because …

muddy boots

… it’s been pretty wet and muddy of late. We had our first frost at the beginning of the week, which has seen off the nasturtiums, and hopefully some of the not so welcome pests on the plot. I recovered the lid to one of my compost bins this morning, which must have blown off in the recent high winds (storm Abigail no doubt) and discovered a loveliness of ladybirds (that is the very apt collective noun for them, more here) huddled together in hibernation on the underside. So I put it back where I found it, weighted to the ground with a big stone. They’re as worthy as my compost.


I’m also hoping the recents frosts have benefitted my sprouts and parsnips which are meant to taste all the better for it.

stunted leeks

I’m a tad disappointed with my leeks this year. They’re a bit stunted and pathetic looking. I seem to remember the weather was extremely hot when we planted them out and we had to do a few mercy runs down to the plot with containers of water as the butts had run dry. I’m sure this must have set them back, I know we lost a few of the smallest ones. They did eventually recover, but they’re not the majestic beasts we’ve come to expect in recent years. Never mind, I’m sure they’ll taste just as good with some potatoes and cream in a comforting soup.

You win some, you loose some, that’s very much allotment life.


    • Hi, no I haven’t tried smoking garlic, though I have thought about doing it a few times before, but never got around to trying it. I do love smoked garlic though.


  1. This is will be my second attempt at growing garlic. First years were infected with white rot which I didn’t know existed on my primary plot. This years crop was pathetic. I have opted to try different varieties; Bella Italiano Purple, a hardneck variety with strong aroma so should taste same. Vallelado is softneck and cloves were a good size so hopefully I’ll be able to get good results next year.
    Your not alone with disappointing leeks. Mine along with numerous other plot tenants, were attacked by leek moth and the larvae ruined them plus there was the yearly battle with rust. After much debate I decided to lift all the leeks and dispose of them. All of them were suffering from worms eating through base of stems and slowly rotting which would result in some soil bound disease I can do without on my second plot.
    This year has been rathering disappointing for me. Black fly, blight, poor quality climbing beans, stunted corn and carrot fly. Can’t forget time off work compliments of arthritic neck and side effects to medications. Looking forward to next years challenges


    • Hi Teri, all sounds very familiar. I seem to get more pests and diseases every year, I sometimes wonder whether leaving some areas fallow for a year would be a good idea, to allow the pests and diseases to die off and the soil to recuperate. Trouble is we have to keep the plot cultivated as part of the rules. I do try to rotate my crops so I don’t grow the same thing in the same place each year, but it’s not always that easy. Rust is a real problem on my plot, it affects the garlic and broad beans every year. Never mind, we keep on keeping on!


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