Sunday 12 August 2012

How not to grow garlic

I'm a bit of an anarchist when it comes to gardening - whatever grows, grows. It's survival of the fittest in my backyard.

I watched a cooking show last year where in one episode, the chef visited a couple of teenage boys who were growing garlic in their mum's backyard and selling it at the markets. I thought that if they could grow it, so could I.

So next time some garlic sprouted in the pantry, I pulled the cloves apart and planted them.

And then pretty much forgot about them. Sure, I had a look at that spot every few months to see if anything garlicky was poking up, but nothing ever seemed to come of that experiment. I guess I planted them at the wrong time of year, or in totally unsuitable soil.

Earlier this week, I started digging the garden over. The annual anarchy is coming to an end - it's time to napalm the lot and start again. Since each garden bed looked like it was a combination of expired tomato plants and weeds, I've had no compunctions about digging it over in the dark, as there appeared to be nothing left worth saving.

I was digging the last bed over today when I spotted some white bulbs. I thought nothing of them, as I dig them up every year. But after turning over the last shovelful, I had a close look at one.

It was clearly a baby garlic head - instead of being one smooth bulb, like an onion, it had lots of little bulbs poking out the sides - each destined to be a clove of garlic. After at least 6 months (maybe longer), the little bludgers had finally decided to make something of themselves.

Too late. 99% of them are now in the bottom of the green waste bin, and I'm not going to bother with ferreting them out and replanting them.

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