Garlic…I love it! I love it so much it’s been on my ‘must grow crops’ list for a while so one cold November day last year and with a cup of homemade tomato soup in hand; we set about planting up our chosen bed. I wrote about it here.
Having researched the types of garlic that I thought would do well on our plot and also suit our cooking style (there are SO many to choose from) I selected two different types from the Isle of Wight – Lautrec Wight Seed and Early Purple Wight. On the whole they grew really well, so well in fact, other more experienced allotmenteers would often comment on how good they looked. Beginners luck perhaps?!
Over the past couple of weeks though we have experienced some serious wet weather in the UK following a record breaking wet winter and the poor things developed rust. Rust is a pretty unsightly fungal disease and although not fatal, it can reduce the vigour of the plant so it’s best to harvest sooner rather than later in severe cases. I deemed ours quite sever so out they came at the weekend and don’t they look pretty!
Because I was harvesting the entire crop, I used a large fork and lifted the bulbs with quite a lot of soil around them so not to pierce any. The aim here is to only take off the excess soil and not the outer skin. They won’t be as aesthetically pleasing but they’ll store a lot better and you can take off the slightly scruffy layer just before you want to use the bulb.
I think what worked really well was that they grew in a slightly raised bed with free draining soil meaning they didn’t have an opportunity to rot in the damp winter and spring sodden soil! The bed is also situated at the very top of our plot in full sun so they benefited from maximum daylight and free of any competition apart from the odd opportunistic strand of couch grass.
I’m so pleased with our crop and I cannot even begin to explain the extraordinary smell fresh (also known as wet garlic) radiates. I will be making some garlic bread this weekend topped with some homemade pesto. I’ll be definitely growing garlic again but for now this year’s crop is hanging up in the shed to dry!!