Slow painting

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Getting the garlic in

Just in time too, before the frost and snow came this week. I was even later than usual in ordering garlic this year. Somehow I was trying to avoid my order arriving too early and starting to sprout before I could plant it. Too early turned into too late, and my supplier of preference, the Scottish Really Garlicky Company, had sold out. I did the rounds of the Organic Gardening Catalogue, Suttons, Thompson & Morgan, and finally found some at D T Brown's.

Above, my first foray into elephant garlic. And if you look closely, you can see a little triangular shard of glass just to the left of the bulbs. Where does it all come from?

Below, Tuscany Wight, a softneck grown on the Isle of Wight and said to store well. I hope it stores better than the bulbs I was sent, one of which was soft and rotting. Of course I should have sent it back, but life was far too busy for frills like that, so I popped in the good cloves and will hope for the best.

The Chesnock Wight bulbs below were in much better condition. A hardneck bulb, meant to have a distinctive, strong flavour.

I meant to take a photo of the green manure, but it took all the time I had available to dig over the bed where the garlic was to go. Not much change really - the phacelia and white mustard were growing strongly, the grazing rye most definitely was not, and the alfalfa was being taken over by a vigorous crop of shepherd's purse, which seemed to relish its bed of alfalfa seed.

Soon I expect to feel the first stirrings of winter planning fever, when gardening books and catalogues will suddenly become compulsive reading. It hasn't stirred yet, however. Perhaps it's because of our exceptionally mild autumn. Now that the cold has arrived, I'm relishing it, and want to enjoy the season rather than gloss over it and look ahead to Spring. It feels like a physical lifting of the spirits to have frost and snow. A bit of balance has come back into the world.