Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Saving for the future

It's over a week since I left Kate at C.L.'s house in the Languedoc but the repercussions of her visit are just beginning to show.   On her return yesterday, there wasn't really time to do much in the garden although we did finish a couple of small jobs.   As I said previously, we increased the size of the vegetable plot by about one third whilst she was here...  However since she moved on I have taken a look at all the things I'm hoping to grow both over the winter and next year and have realised that even 1 1/2 times is not nearly big enough..  So using the technique Kate taught me last weekend, I have now further increased the bed, but do remember I started off with a very small plot - 2.4m x 2.4m (8ft x 8ft) but now it is 7m x 3.6m (23ft x 12ft)

IMG_0257 The new bed is being prepared, initially, for garlic, peas, and broad beans.  The peas are some seed I bought last year and am hoping to grow again this year, saving some seed.  The garlic is some that Patrick, over on Bifurcated Carrots, gave me.   I've not met Patrick but I understand he grows about 100 different varieties of Garlic and I'm very pleased to have some from him to grow on and hopefully get some planting stock from it in the future.  Once I have saved the stock, I shall be happy to join Patrick in making it available to anyone who asks. Patrick gave me three varieties of Garlic,  Cuban Purple creole, Burgundy creole and Tuscan.  I was recently instructed "to plant my garlic on the 15th October" and as the guy who instructed me is both a neighbour and a very successful gardener himself, I shall be following his advice.

Due to an oversight, the broad bean seeds I was expecting didn't materialise so I have now bought a commercial variety which I will grow this year, save some seeds and then grow again next year...  As long as that is successful, I'll have some of those to give away as well...

Patrick also has given me some Dog Beans, a dwarf French bean which I'm hoping to grow next summer.  I grew these this year but had very little success with them...  In conversation with Patrick he suggested that maybe the problem was the seed, however, I have come to believe that the problem lies much more in my own garden with the amount of water, or to be precise, with the lack of water, I have been providing... 

Kate also brought me some seeds from Australia.  Cos Lettuce saved by Joy,  Chrysanthemum Greens saved by Kate and Capsicum Yellow Cornos saved by Kate and Cath, all of which I hope to grow, enjoy and get some seed from.  Joy, Kate and Cath are all members of the Hills and Plains Seedsavers group.

And then when I was down in the Languedoc, C.L. of Olives and Artichokes gave me some seeds for a Tomato  -  Ananas (Pineapple) which she had saved....

I'm saving my first seeds this year... At the moment, I have butternut squash, sweet pepper and Charentais melon.  I'm also planning to save seed from some of my own tomatoes this year.

So here I am, having been growing vegetables for under a year and I find my self entrusted with growing about a dozen varieties of saved seeds.....  I have no problems with growing the seeds I save myself.. If they grow that's good but if they don't I have only wasted my own time....  but now.... I feel a huge friends I've met and to friends I have never met... So Patrick, Chaiselongue, Kate, Joy and Cathy... I'll do my very best to deserve the trust you have put in me...  A big thank you.


Maggie said...

Your garden is looking great Ian, next year you will have a veggie jungle.
Seems to me this veggie gardening is contagious.
When Kate first told me her plan to travel the world and garden, I thought she was going a little crazy, how wrong I have been.
We are all following her journey and enjoying meeting all you other bloggers and yes enjoying watching Kate garden everywhere.
I dont think this journey will ever end as we swap seeds and tales and share each others gardens.

chaiselongue said...

As Maggie says, vegetable gardening is contagious - next year you'll probably want an even bigger plot! It's exciting, isn't it, growing from seeds that others have saved - but also adds to the sense of responsibility. Yesterday we sowed the chrysanthemum greens, cos lettuce and celery that Kate gave me, as they'll do better here in winter than in summer, and I feel very nervous about how they'll do! Kate's trip has really connected us all, around the world.
I didn't know about the 15th for garlic - I'll do that next week then. All the best!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian
So pleased you have really caught the gardening bug! And the garden looks great. I will have a look at my saved seeds and send you something.
All the best.

Patrick said...

Hi Ian,

All the best with the garden!

As far as the garlic goes, you ended up with some varieties that didn't do so well in my garden, but I thought would do better in your climate. If they end up not doing well for you, there are lots more varieties to try. If you get good garlic at your local markets, you might try planting some of that too.

It's not really important when to plant your garlic. October 15 should be fine, and if your friend stands by it, it sounds good to me.

Many people think in terms of planting and harvesting garlic during the winter and summer solstices. In theory, this may be the best time, but like I said the timing is not very critical.

Garlic needs a period of cold or freezing in order to develop bulbs properly, which is why garlic doesn't do well in the tropics. Garlic can be spring planted, as long as you do it while it's still cold enough. For Amsterdam, that's February/March.

I personally plant my garlic in November. This is because there has usually been a frost by then, meaning plants in my garden would have been killed and cleared making space for the garlic. Gardening in the middle of winter isn't one of my favorite things to do, so I usually don't wait until the winter solstice.

Ian said...

Hi All,

I'm really looking forward to September next year when I host the KGI global meet up for 2009, and hope that you'll all be able to make it. I know a lot of people are coming from Adelaide, so I hope you'll be able to come along, Maggie, as well.

Sarah, thank you for your comment, it was nice to meet you with Kate the other day, and thanks for the offer of some seeds.

CL, it was nice to meet you too, as a result of Kate's visit. I've not quite finished the bed yet but will be sowing the seeds in the next week or so. I realised when I got back from your place last week that I wanted some Bamboo and wish I had taken some of the shoots from the area you are going to clear.

Patrick, as always, thanks for your advice and support. I do get good garlic at Villereal market, so I'll buy some and plant it as well as the varieties you have given me.

Laura said...

Hi Ian
It was lovely to meet you at the Potager d'un Curieux with Kate last weekend and very exciting to see you starting out on your ... you might never stop... vegetable adventure, I agree with CL, I keep putting in more beds because I keep finding more veg I want to grow. I am not sure why your neighbour suggests planting garlic on the 15th but I'll do mine too on that date - simpatica - Full moon aries ??? and see how it compares with a second planting i'll do later Do you know what the reason is for the date? My neighbours have annual dates for french beans, potatoes etc and I follow them and it usually comes out good. If you are burning garden debris sprinkle the soot over the garlic beds my neighbours say it helps deter worms in the bulbs and it supplies potash.
You might find this site usefull for what to sow when and other stuff
Good luck and looking forward to seeing it sall blossom.

chaiselongue said...

I'll bring you some bamboo shoots next September if you like - you could have had lots when you were here. I hope you've got lots of space for them as they spread everywhere here and we have to keep cutting them back. We never have to buy canes for the tomatoes though! If you can get some ail rose de Lautrec (pink garlic, the variety that keeps for a year) that should do well where you are as Lautrec isn't very far away, so must have a similar climate.

Kate said...

Maggie, I hope this is just the beginning of all these wonderful connections and I will volunteer, hard as it is, to be the one to travel forever and make more! Someone has to do it!
7 people have commented here and I now have met them all. You are all my friends now and that is lovely indeed.

Maya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maya said...

Hi Ian,
Kate also came here with gifts of Hills and Plains seeds. I took some of the chrysanthemum greens, which were new to all of us here in Maine, as well as some of Cathy's celery, daikon radish, and the red peppers. It will be interesting to see how they fare in such completely different places!
As for the October 15th garlic date, we haven't planted ours yet because local wisdom says you need to have the first hard frost before planting, and it is supposed to happen this Saturday night. The idea is that roots will develop in autumn, then shoots in the spring as soon as the ground thaws. It's the second thing up for us, after the chives, often poking through the snow. Obviously winter solstice planting is out of the question, as the ground freezes quite solidly around a week before. Last year we had a big snowstorm on the solstice. In any case, good luck with it. I find garlic oddly satisfying, some sort of silly proof that we can garden in winter!

Ian said...

Laura, nice to meet you as well. Thanks for the encouragement and the link although I'm actually a member of the forum on that site, which is where I first met Sarah. I shall use your tip about soot and woodash.
Chaiselongue, I look forward to that bamboo, and yes, I have plenty of room wher e I want to grow it.
Kate, well volunteered, as international restrictions prevent us from posting seeds to each other, I think you should come every year and bring us seeds....although you are still not allowed to take any back with you....
Maya, welcome to the blog. We had a frost the last couple of nights so the garlic should be ok. I look forward to hearing how your Australian seeds do. I'm expecting to be in Maine myself during 2009 so I might look you all up... Be warned.