Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garlic Day

I wasn't even planning to grow garlic this year, but I've just planted some garlic this morning. And it felt good. It felt like I was breaking the law, in fact. Well, sort of.

I had just completed my usual morning rounds of the garden, watering this and that pot, picking a few weeds, checking how things are going. I wandered back into the kitchen to wash a freshly harvested radish or two and I spotted in our wire garlic and onion basket a head of garlic which was sprouting its head off. Why not plant them out and see what happens?

That's the 'law-breaking' bit. Law 1: might be a bit early for garlic, still too warm. Law 2: only plant varieties suited to your climate. Law 3: don't tell me, please don't tell me it's common, vulgar Woolies supermarket garlic? Yep, it's from Woolies, and that means it's probably from Mexico, Chile, Argentina and various other places they get garlic from. Well, at least it isn't the bleached-white, bland, awful Chinese garlic which all the horrified garlic aficionados bang on about (and which is disappearing fairly rapidly from our supermarket shelves, anyway).

Here they are: healthy fat little people just bursting with life.

It was easy enough to find a spot for them, as the curly parsley
was on the way out. So after clearing that space and several
good minutes of digging with my nifty Niwashi digger, I planted
each bulb into a shallow trench, just shallow enough that when
I backfilled with soil, the top tip of the shoot was at soil level.

A side dressing of chicken poo and mulch of sugar cane.

Water in well with a watering can, some
Seasol (seaweed, to stimulate root growth) in a
few days from now, and so my unexpected
little law-breaking Garlic Day patch is born.
I'm increasingly attracted to the idea of growing food plants from the food plants you're already eating. Sometimes it's not a good idea. Supermarket tomatoes, for instance, are mostly what they call 'F1 Hybrids' and their seeds won't produce the same tomatoes you bought. But buying heirloom tomatoes from an organic farmer's market and sowing their seeds should work perfectly well.

Some other foods sold in supermarkets would be worth harvesting seeds from. Chillies are a good example. Seeds of supermarket Habaneros and JalapeƱos will produce Habaneros and Jalapenos next season. I must explore this idea further, next spring. In the meantime, today is Garlic Day, and I look forward to watching how things progress over the coming autumn, winter and spring.


Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Hehehe! What a rebel! Love it. Last year I planted out (1) certified organic bla bla garlic and (2)a few heads of supermarket garlic (sprouting like you described). All of them produced really well. I did the same thing with ginger....and had small but nice tasting rhizomes.

Jess said...

Hi Jamie - I too love to get more from the vegies I get from the supermarket/fruit shop.

Our favourite trick is to buy bunching onions/shallots/spring onions which come with roots and plant them. They come right back if you chop them off at ground level.
You can also do this with the hydroponic lettuces with roots that they sell.

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