Friday, October 17, 2008

Planting Garlic

A couple of weeks ago I visited a neighbour who is a prolific vegetable gardener with many years experience here in the Perigord.  During our chat he advised me to plant my garlic on October 15th and as Wednesday was October 15th I decided to follow his advice.

I have spent a few days enlarging my small vegetable bed as I'm intending to grow more things next year and also looking to get some winter crops in.

Although, now, it is all one bed, I have created planting areas which are 1.2M (4ft) wide.  This means that all the plants can be easily reached from paths.  Kate from Hills and Plains Seedsavers visited me here a couple of weeks ago and advised me that my paths, made of broken roof tiles, were a harbour for snails and slugs.  So up they came to be replaced with dead leaves which will simply compost down.

In the expanded bed, I set aside a piece about 1.2M (4ft)square  for the garlic in the same area as the leeks and onions I planted earlier.


I was given several varieties of garlic by Patrick (Bifurcated Carrots), so I prepared the bed, split up the heads of garlic into individual cloves and dropped them into 2" (50mm) deep holes, 150mm (6") apart and then filled the holes back up with some compost.  Once that was all done I put about 200mm (4") of mulch over the top to shield them from the winter frosts.  For the mulch I used dry leaves, brushed up from around he garden.  In the photo you can see the leeks and onions and the area in front of them, covered in leaves is where the garlic is now.

I planted about 50 cloves in this patch.  I was surprised at the number.

Over on the far right of the picture, you can see the area where I am going to sow some broad beans, hopefully today... The only problem is that I have promised to join some friends for lunch and, well, this is the Perigord, food and eating is a serious business...


Maggie said...

Sounds good Ian, we have bought red cedar saw dust for our paths, it smells great when wet.
Wow Patrick certainly knows a lot about garlic, I hope yours does well.

Patrick said...

It all sounds great Ian!

Ian said...

Hi Maggie, I bet that red cedar saw dust does smell great. At the moment I'm using dead leaves. As I have three large walnut trees, a large horsechestnut tree, and about 30 fruit trees in the orchard, all of which are deciduous. I have no shortage of dead leaves at this time of year. It's funny how different our various experiences are. Whilst Kate was here recently, I was surprised at her exclamations about the colours of our trees as they took on their autumn shades prior to shedding their leaves. She explained that there are few deciduous trees in Australia so this was a new experience for her, something that I see every year...

Patrick, thanks again for your support... and for the garlic. I was recently asked on another forum I belong to about planting garlic and passed on your advice. I was surprised to hear that the majority of garlic for sale in the US comes from China. Living here in France I forget how far some food travels in other parts of the world. I checked and all the garlic in our supermarket came from France and the bulk of it from south west France.

Patrick said...

Even here in Holland most of our garlic comes from China.

In the US garlic comes in by the container load from China. When a gardener shows up at the border with a few bulbs from their garden, customs will usually confiscate it. Which do you think is more likely to transport diseases? US customs are really hypocrytical!