I planted all my garlic last week, about 60 cloves in all. I always do it at the autumn equinox. Unfortunately, last year’s harvest wasn’t good enough to replant and I’ve had to buy new bulbs. I’ve been getting miserably small bulbs over the last 2 years. I don’t think I’m feeding it enough.
When I first started growing garlic, I did what most references I read said to do—plant cloves on the shortest day and harvest on the longest. Those first bulbs I got were so disappointingly tiny that I was ready to give up. I must have missed harvesting one, because it re-sprouted the next autumn and eventually grew into a giant! So from then on, I’ve planted my cloves in autumn (at which time they sprout within a week) and harvested them when the leaves brown and wither. Longer growing season = bigger bulbs (in theory).
This year I’m ‘doing’ peas. They’re so easy to grow and so useful to have in the freezer, for adding to soups, casseroles, stir-fries, risotto and pasta dishes.
So far, I have 11 varieties to try—for flavour, yield and ease of growing.
Angela’s Blue (also has purple pods)
Alderman (also known as Telephone)
* I call these Field peas for want of a better name. They’re an unknown variety that came up in bales of pea straw I bought for mulch years ago. I saved seeds and have been growing them each year ever since. They’re really a semi-dwarf variety and they bear reasonably well.
I’m growing the climbing varieties in my wire circles where it’s easy to put up a tepee for them to climb on. These are Purple Podded, just starting to head up the strings:
The dwarf varieties are being tried in wicking boxes and wicking tubs and some will also go into wire circles. These are Blue Bantam, in a wicking tub, sown 16th February. They’re flowering already, after 34 days. Looks like I’ll get an early yield. The wire circle helps keep them confined and the crossing sticks give them something to grab on to:
As soon as I pick a handful of peas, I take them inside, put a small saucepan of water on the gas, and while it’s coming to the boil, I shell the peas. Toss them into the boiling water, give them a minute to blanch, scoop them out into a bowl of iced water to cool and then it’s into the freezer. Couldn’t be easier!