Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers
I love this title for a documentary film about garlic directed by Les Blank In 2004. It’s said to be a shortened form of the old saying “Garlic is as good as ten mothers… for keeping the girls away.” But I guess it was chosen as a title because of the health giving properties this useful vegetable provides. I am still using my garlic from last year whilst keeping a careful eye on this year’s crop which is filling a small bed on the allotment. It will be ready to lift when the leaves have turned cream and since some leaves were quite pale I decided to inspect the action below the soil. I lifted a bulb and was alarmed to see that it resembled a large spring onion with no sign of individual cloves. There was a moment of panic when I wondered if I’d remembered to plant garlic last autumn and instead had been maintaining a bed of very large spring onions. A quick google showed that this was the immature garlic bulb, perfectly edible and full of flavour, but not ready to be lifted. Over the next six weeks the bulbs should separate into the familiar fat clusters ready to be dried and stored for the year ahead.
A trip to the allotment earlier in the week left me overwhelmed by the weeds that within days had taken over and because the ground is soaking wet it was difficult to hoe. So I decided to cut back a row of Swiss chard for two suppers and to lift and re-plant the twelve stumps in a prepared weed-free bed. It was then possible to thoroughly fork and rake the old bed entirely of weeds and to sow three rows of dwarf borlotti beans directly in the ground. It may not sound like a very efficient use of my time and it means waiting for the Swiss chard to leaf up again but with more wet weather on the way I took a chance. Sometimes weeding soggy ground by hand is unsatisfactory- some weeds break off at the soil surface only to re-grow within days.
There seems to be very little increase in the size of the climbing beans and sweetcorn and as yet no flowers on the courgette or squash plants. My newly laid out square foot bed has poor seed germination in the nine squares but more later on that experiment.
At home the Allium christophii are now in full bloom and making a rather lovely contrast in form to the clipped edges of the parterre that they are planted in. A peternyssen.com/ bulb catalogue arrived yesterday and I’ve already started making notes for an autumn order and a chance to try some white alliums next year.
Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’ with its lovely blue- mauve flowers and a scent of apples is rambling along two walls and mingling with a honeysuckle Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ and both are in full flower.
This week I cut ‘Love in a Mist’ with Rosa ‘New Dawn’ and the unidentified red rose plus leaves from Rosa rubrifolia for its coppery-mauve foliage.