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Posts Tagged ‘Growing Garlic’

On my Allotment things are really starting to grow despite the cool and wet weather.

Onion Sets

The onion sets I planted in March are really doing well, I planted out 7 rows with only one bulb ‘missing’, usually a lot of them are pulled out by the birds but as a deterrent I placed my old autumn fruiting raspberry canes (which I had just cut down) across the bed and this seemed to work, I would recommend covering sets with fleece, netting or cloches until the sets have rooted. Back in November last year I planted some winter onion sets these were not as successful with about a quarter ‘missing’ probably down to mice/rabbits/frost or the wet weather, but I managed to carefully transplant them to make 5 rows. The sets become well rooted over winter with a small amount of top growth but come spring they really get growing a lot faster and produce an earlier crop of onions. My onions and garlic need to be kept weed free and well watered in dry weather, the onions will benefit from a top dressing of general fertilizer such as organic Chicken Poo in about a month.

Elephant Garlic

I bought 3 elephant garlic bulbs from The Recycleworks as I had not grown these before and I was rather curious because of their large size, I planted these at the end of March and I am very pleased as they now have some very strong healthy tops.

We still have some of last years leeks left which are delicious especially in Leek and Bacon Quiche, Leek Parsnip and Potato Bake and Leek Soup.  They will need eating soon before they go to seed and I need their space to grow peas, which is one of my next jobs.

The strawberry plants have plenty of flowers on them but quite a few have been caught by the weekend frosts I would have covered them with fleece if I hadn’t been away.

I planted most of my seed potatoes at the end of April a little later than I intended due to the weather. When their shoots emerge they will need ‘earthing up’ by scraping up the surrounding soil to create ridges along the rows of plants.

Greenhouse Tomato

In the greenhouse I have planted out my tomatoes in their final growing position and provided canes for support as they are indeterminate varieties (this means that I will need to remove the side shoots that grow between the leaf node and the main stem) and they grow taller than bush varieties.

Seeds I need to sow next include: Sweetcorn – singly in 8cm pots. French Beans – singly in 8cm pots. Herbs – Basil, Coriander and Parsley – a few seeds per 8cm pots, Rocket – in a small seed tray. Mixed Salad Leaves – in a small seed tray. Courgette –singly in 8cm pots sowing the seeds on their edge. Pumpkin – singly in 8cm pots sowing the seeds on their edge. Sunflowers – singly in 8cm pots.

Sowing Mustard and Cress

I must remember to ask Thomas if he can sow some more mustard and cress seeds in his Mini Propagator the last batch has nearly all been eaten, they are delicious in salads and sandwiches and are great fun for children to grow too.

Mustard and Cress ready to eat

Must get on, lots to do

Happy Growing

Gill

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Who can refuse a slice of delicious, warm, buttery, garlicky bread definitely not me my mouth is watering now. Garlic bread makes a great starter, side dish or anytime snack. It is simple to prepare with few ingredients and a great favourite with children who will love to help you make it. The taste is so much better if you use your own home grown Garlic.

Ingredients

  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 ciabatta bread or baguette (not too thin)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6
  2. Peel and crush garlic
  3. Cream butter and garlic together
  4. Finely chop the flat-leaf parsley and stir into the butter
  5. Get your bread and make slits about 3cm apart along the top making sure not to cut right through
  6. Generously spread the garlic butter between the slices
  7. Place the bread on a piece of foil and wrap loosely
  8. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, if you want a crusty top open the foil and bake for another 5 minutes

The smell and taste is absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy!

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To me Garlic is the taste of the Mediterranean but it can be grown in the UK so why not have a go at growing your own instead of buying foreign grown bulbs from the supermarket. Garlic is an easy and undemanding vegetable to grow making it ideal for children, with tactile and nicely sized cloves to plant. I am sure they will want to plant it once they know it’s the main ingredient of garlic bread.

Garlic is a fantastic ingredient in cooking, add at the beginning for a milder flavour or later on for a stronger taste. As well as having a lovely and unique flavour it has many health benefits too, being a recognised superfood it has been shown to lower blood fat and cholesterol levels, help reduce blood pressure as well as combating bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Garlic is rich in Vitamins C and B6, carbohydrates, and fibre and is also a good source of several of the essential minerals, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.

Garlic can be planted in Winter or Spring. Spring planted bulbs should ideally be planted no later than the end of March in order for them to mature so get your bulbs ordered now, supermarket bulbs are not recommended as the chances are they have been grown in a warmer climate and will not thrive in our British weather thus giving a disappointing crop.

Garlic takes up very little room and can even be planted between flowers, in window boxes or containers but will need to be watered often in dry spells. Garlic needs a sunny position in well drained soil, to prevent waterlogging and feed the soil dig in plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost, they are ideal for growing in raised beds especially if your soil is particularly heavy. Split your garlic bulbs into individual cloves immediately before planting, make a hole with a dibber to avoid damage to the base of the bulb and plant approx. 2cm below the soil surface, 10cm apart, leaving 15-20cm between rows. Cover with fleece to protect from frost and also to stop birds from pulling them out (until they are established). Water during dry spells and keep weed free. Harvest when the leaves turn yellow, loosening the bulb underneath with a trowel taking care not to damage the bulb. Place the bulbs somewhere warm and dry and they can then be stored for up to 3 months.

So why not give them a go before it’s too late. We have four delicious varieties to chose from all suited to the British Climate, Solent White, Vigour, Germidour and Elephant.

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