Gadzuks, what garlic!

Whoppers!Astonishing even herself, Kelly Dyer harvests whopping garlic.

Seven months ago the garlic cloves that I saved from 2011’s rather disappointing crop went into the ground.

One month later, hopes were low as only three sprouts could be seen, but eventually every clove put out leaves and a sigh of relief was breathed by all who had been worried – namely me (the husband – and editor of this article – not really caring for garlic). (Number 8 Network: How can anyone not care about garlic?!)

Over the course of six months the garlic grew, even though I paid minimal attention to it, save beyond watering on the one occasion when it didn’t rain last winter.

I had read garlic would do better if well fertilised and not competing with other plants, so I pulled up weeds growing around the plants every now and then, and I think I gave them two drenches with homemade worm tea (no worms were harmed in the making of said tea, although I believe one choked on a crumpet).

My onion crop got similar treatment; we planted two punnets of seedlings, one of brown onions and the other of red. I have read that you should never transplant root crops, that they should be sown directly where they are to grow. Sound advice, and so of course we ignored it; seedlings are much easier to deal with – just hand them to the husband (Husband: she hasn’t planted her own onions for years now!).

By the time November rolled around we were receiving compliments galore about the garlic, and exclamations of “oh my!” over the onions. Somehow the lack of care translated into garlic that resembled leeks and onions that could be mistaken in bad light for small pumpkins.

At harvest time I eagerly pulled up all 15 garlic plants and found out that the bulbs underneath the ground matched the growth above it. I’ve never seen a garlic bulb as big as a metric fist before, but apparently they can grow that big, since I have four bulbs exactly that size. A few of the plants produced little baby bulbs, and the rest were about the normal size.

We’ve also proved that onions are one root crop that doesn’t care if you transplant the seedlings. We pulled up a crop of onions where they averaged out at the size of both my fists together and definitely won’t be buying onions for a while. Some of the crop has been given away, and one person made French onion soup out of them. She reported herself as nearly passing out due to the overwhelming deliciousness. One hopes she sat down to take the first taste.

There is only one problem with such a good harvest. Expectations for 2013 are now sky high!

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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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