With the weather being relatively mild, I have taken the opportunity to sink a third batch of Garlic. What you see above is the rather abundant crop from last year, and the foliage that the autumn planted garlic had sent up before Christmas.
The varieties that have been dibbed in are as follows:
- Lautrec Wight
- Early Purple wight
- Solent Wight
- Tuscany Wight
I had taken the decision to sink some more as it felt like I didn’t have as many cloves sunk as in previous years. This batch like the first batch sown in Autumn has been placed into raised beds. There is an additional batch that is open ground further up the plot to offer something of a a contrast. All of the garlic sown will get used, it is not as though there will spare unwanted garlic in the kitchen. I am sure that of the varieties sunk, some are old favourites and others are very new to the plot. Some of the varieties are quite mild, creamy cloves that you might need a few of on a dish. Others are thick cloves, very pungent and not necessarily needed in a great quantity. I do like the purple and pinked skinned ones though, these seem to have some character.
In my observations, garlic does take time to get going. This was often a cause for concern for me in the past, as I would worry that the cloves had been sunk and didn’t appear to be doing anything at surface. What I hadn’t considered that below the surface the cloves were sending out roots and establishing a system to anchor themselves in and gain nutrients. Over the autumn months, slowly but surely the green foliage started to rise and poke through the soil. These are my observations with autumn planted garlic, I have only previously sown spring garlic once before. Even then, the open ground in which it was sunk was entirely boggy and not particularly conducive at that time to the garlic. I have waited to try again, and kept in line with previous experiences by planting into raised beds.
For me, having raised beds has been very useful. Cloves are still planted deep enough, with a hole made by a dibber and the tip only just being visible. Drainage is improved and there is reduction in the likelihood of water pooling around the clove, collecting and causing the seed to rot. That said, cloves of garlic do appear to be fairly resilient, and the garlic sunk into open ground is only a matter of weeks behind that sat in the raised beds. The foliage is present and correct, just a little shorter. If it is difficult to have raised beds, I see no reason why garlic can’t be sown in containers. In fact, the first time that I grew onions and shallots; they were sown into and grown in containers.