Dodging rain showers and dressed up extra warm, we’ve just planted the garlic.
It takes very little work and a surprisingly small area to grow enough for 12 months – and in this household we add garlic to almost every dish, excluding the morning porridge.
A few weeks back we – all right – David weeded a garden bed and dug it over. He would have added some of our compost but it wasn’t quite at the right stage of loveliness.
Then we set off in search of seed garlic. Years ago I once tried to grow Allium sativum, as it is formally known, from supermarket stock and failed spectacularly. It has been suggested to me that the reason for this is that these have been sterilised, so that they don’t sprout.
So, for the last few years, we’ve bought seed from garden centres. Our favourite garden centre, Wairere Nursery, was right out of the stuff when we called in recently, so we had to get some from Hamilton.
And here’s a tip for the unwary – check the size of the bulbs before you take them home. We were dismayed to discover many tiny bulbs inside the packet, way too small to consider planting. And this at almost $10 a bag.
We planted the biggest cloves and hope that growing in sunny Gordonton will cheer the plants up. About 100 cloves does us for most of a year, if they’re hung in a cool, dry place.
All the same, it was nice digging into the chill earth and planning something, and the nearby early daffodils cheered us on.
By the by, garlic, according to Nicholas Culpeper, is a remedy for all diseases and hurts, except those which itself breeds. (Like maybe a bad back when planting.)
It cures, he wrote back in 1653, the biting of mad dogs and other venomous creatures, killeth worms, cutteth and voideth phlegm, purges the head and cureth any plague, sore or foul ulcer and spots. I kiddeth you not.
So there, beyond the obvious culinary uses, are more reasons to plant the stuff.