Glory be – what garlic!

The garlic is almost as tall as an elephant’s eye, says garden writer Kelly Dyer.

A few months back, right when the weather was coldest and I really didn’t want to do any kind of gardening, I forced myself outside and planted garlic.

Five months later and it’s probably about time I updated on the progress of the experiment in growing.

What I planted: fifteen big cloves saved from the previous year’s crop. They were planted into a bed that the chicken tractor had recently been on. The Garlic Grower’s Guide said that the bed should be fertilised six weeks before planting with compost, but really, who has time for that?

I was despondent for a time, for my cloves took forever to sprout, and were much later coming up that those of some friends who planted their selection somewhat later than I did mine.

Each sprout noticed was hailed with cries of “It’s ALIVE!” and eventually all 15 cloves had sent up leaves. Compared to the last season, where I had about a 50% sprout rate, I’m doing well.

Mostly I’ve ignored my garlic plants. They’ve been weeded a couple of times and they’ve had a couple of worm-tea feedings, but really, I haven’t paid them much attention.

So I’m rather surprised that they’re the size that they are. I have a couple of little weedy plants with a stem less than two centimetres in diameter, but I also have some seriously stonking ones growing. You would be forgiven for mistaking them for leeks.

Of course, I have no idea what size the bulbs growing underground are, so there is still a chance for disappointment to snatch the rug out from under the feet of an epic garlic growing season.

It’ll be at least another month before that could happen, so for now I shall bask in my glory and exclamations of ‘OMG! Your garlic is amazing.’

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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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