Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 7 March 2016

Garlic Trials

Potted garlic in the garden ready to plant out
Garlic 'Bohemian Rose' showing strong early growth. It's leaves are reputed to grow over a metre high 

No allotment season at VP Gardens is complete without an experiment or two, and this year is no exception.

First up this year is a garlic trial using 3 new-to-me varieties courtesy of Marshalls, where one of the trio (Red Duke) is reputed to have some rust resistance. I didn't grow any garlic last year because rust was so rampant on my plot in 2014. I did harvest plenty of usable bulbs back then, but of the fiddly, hard to peel kind, rather than the bulging fat cloves which are a joy to cook with.

Winter's been constantly wet here in Wiltshire, so I've been unable to get onto my plot to plant out my cloves. As you can see that hasn't held me back as I've resorted to my usual potted solution instead - handy for anyone who gardens on clay and loves their garlic.

The pots mean I've also been able to take advantage of the few frosts we've had - a necessary ingredient if my planted cloves are to become full heads of garlic themselves*. As you can see I've spaced out my pots so they've had good air circulation around them. It's now time to plant these out before they become pot bound.

I had plenty of cloves left over, so the smaller ones are planted up in large pots to give me plenty of green garlic before the bulbs are harvested in the summer.

The varieties I'm growing are Bohemian Rose, Mikulov, and Red Duke, all are hardneck varieties, so they should be good for flavour. What garlic - if any - are you growing this year**?

* = something I learned when I visited The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight a few years ago and asked why my garlic had just one clove.

** = there's just enough time to plant some if you haven't already. Make sure you buy spring planting varieties; mine are autumn planting ones.

14 comments:

  1. I'm growing the same three varieties from Marshalls, and I've just planted them out after starting them off in modules. It'll certainly be interesting to see if the Red Duke is rust resistant and if the Bohemian Rose makes it to over a metre tall.

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  2. I will be interested to see how 'Red Duke' fares VP. I didn't plant any last year after similar problems with rust in 2014 and am inclined now to wait until autumn before planting.

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    1. I'm interested too Anna - this could make all the difference.

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  3. It will be interesting to see how the different varieties do and think I will give the green garlic in pots a go. Do you think it matters what type of compost you use for it? My own compost can be a bit variable, to say the least.

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    1. Hi Sheena and welcome to Veg Plotting :) I've always used fresh peat-free compost. The key thing for green garlic is to make sure there are plenty of healthy leaves. As these get harvested quite early on, I've not had to worry too much about feeding them, but I'd keep an eye out for any yellowing and feed accordingly if needed. Good luck and let me know how you get on!

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  4. I'm not planting garlic this year, but I have set out my onion bulbs.
    Hope we all have a great gardening year!
    Lea

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    1. Thanks for the reminder Lea - I need to plant my shallots! I love this time of year - the season is full of promise :)

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  5. I did not know rust could damage the garlic. I fore see some trouble! I have planted elephant garlic and serpent garlic. Not for eating, but for their looks. Groetjes,
    Hetty

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  6. Elephant garlic gives ginormous cloves Hetty, happy growing!

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  7. Those are new varieties to me. I'm growing Solent Wight and Germidour, saved from last year, and also elephant garlic.

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    1. Solent Wight's one of my usual picks too CJ. I haven't tried Germidour... yet ;)

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  8. Good luck with your trial. Its been a few months now. Can you see any results?

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    1. Thanks for asking and welcome to Veg Plotting :) I'll be harvesting later this month, so that's the time to fully asess how things have gone. Judging by my allotment neighbour's crop, mine have been slower to succumb to rust and we've enjoyed plentiful green garlic leaves from the spare bulbs in dressings and stir fries over the past couple of months.

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