Breaking rules gets garlic in

Kelly Dyer doesn’t like lawn. Since moving into her Chartwell home, she and husband Mark Willoughby have been transforming it into a source of abundant fruit, veges and herbs – complete with chicken tractor. Starting from today she will write about their gardening trials, tribulations and triumphs for N8N. Welcome Kel!

I’ve been reading a bit about garlic lately, seeing as the shortest day of the year is tradtionally the time you plant it. Unfortunately, the biggest thing I’ve learned from this research is that I should have been doing the research six or eight weeks ago.

All the gardening guides suggest that you prepare your garlic bed about six weeks before the shortest day, filling the bed up with compost and other good things and letting it sit and stew for six weeks before planting your cloves. Not much use when you’re reading said guide with only two weeks to go.

Not that I’m letting that stop me.

I saved the best cloves from the garlic I grew last year and have pinned my hopes for a good garlic crop on fifteen fat, juicy cloves (my crop last year was a bit of a failure, I planted about 30 cloves and only got about eight bulbs to show for it).

The bed I’ve planted them into had our chicken tractor on it for a while, so hopefully that and a dressing of worm tea will give the cloves a bit of a fertiliser boost. I’ve planted them in three rows of five, with a decent spacing between them as the books say they don’t like competition.

That’s another thing I did last year that I won’t be repeating this year – overcrowding my cloves. I grew carrots around my garlic last year, and if the books are to be believed, that’s what caused a dismal crop. We shall conduct an unbiased and scientifically rigourous test this year, with the results being judged on a “Well, I think that’s more than I got last year” basis.

Wish me luck!

(N8N does, and feels very bad about the fact that our garlic is no nearer to being put to bed. Maybe tomorrow…)

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N8N

Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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