Go Organic: Don't forget to plant garlicBy James Ashford
August 28, 2012
Pretty soon we’ll start seeing spring-flowering bulbs appearing in the garden centres.
There are few easier ways of providing a splash of colour in the garden and if you look after them they’ll reward you with years of service.
But while I like tulips and daffs as much as anyone, the bulbs I really look forward to growing are pungent rather than pretty.
Garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow in the organic garden because it is so robust. Not much eats it. It doesn’t need a lot of space and it doesn’t take a lot of looking after. And it just tastes so good.
Fresh garlic is a real treat for all the senses and it tastes quite different from bulbs from storage.
The trick to growing good garlic is to select the right variety. Garlic is a member of the allium family and like most of its cousins is very sensitive to day-length. Here on the northern fringe of Europe we need a variety specially developed for our long days and long nights.
Garlic is planted towards the end of September and grows slowly through the winter months. It needs a spell of cold to develop properly and it is harvested at the end of the following summer.
It used to be quite difficult to source garlic for growing, but thanks to the patient work of specialist growers we are becoming spoilt for choice.
You can plant and grow bulbs from the supermarket, but because they are bred for Spanish conditions they won’t be very good.
The Organic Gardening catalogue has a couple of suitable varieties but if you want the widest choice you need to take a (virtual) visit to the Isle of Wight.
The Garlic Farm celebrates this wonderful bulb in all its forms and uses and has just had its annual festival. You can buy all sorts of oils and dressings, condiments and chutneys, garlic beer and even garlic cheese.
But most importantly you can buy garlic to grow. In fact you can choose from 16 different varieties.
Visit www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk for more information or call 01983 865378.