The four cloves of elephant garlic, ordered from someone with the eBay user ID grahamdn1a (presumably not his real name lol), arrived today. Total cost including postage: £4.80. This might seem a lot but I am hoping that these babies will be the gift that keeps on giving, year after year. When there’s a break in the rain, I plan on planting them outdoors in similar (but deeper) containers to the ordinary garlic I planted at the weekend – there should be just enough fully rotted home made compost left!
There’s nothing much going on gardenwise at the moment, although I was glad I watched Gardener’s World the other night, because there was an item on planting garlic. (If I hadn’t seen the programme, I’d probably have forgotten.) Last year at thsi time, I planted a single trough with half a dozen cloves of ordinary supermarket/greengrocer garlic. This July, we wolfed down our garlic harvest in next to no time – they were lovely and tasty, and I wished that I’d planted some more. So this year I’ve done two troughs (each one of which is about 65 cm long by 12 cm deep). I’ve also ordered four cloves of elephant garlic off eBay. I’ve never had elephant garlic – apparently it’s a bigger, milder version of bog standard garlic. Sounds as though it would taste fab roasted as a vegetable.
If you’re wondering what the chicken wire is for, it’s to keep the cats off until the garlic sprouts!
I picked about three pounds of green tomatoes today – they’re hardly going to ripen off outside in the middle of October and in any case my OH has offered to make chutney out of them! (I would have been foolish to turn this offer down, because I didn’t fancy making the chutney myself as it would have involved spending several hours in a very steamy, vinegary-smelling kitchen.) Plus my tomato plants are going brown and wilty looking (I believe the technical term is “dying” LOL), and many of the remaining tomatoes are acquiring a frostbitten, bruised look – see the bottom pic in this post.
I wasn’t sure whether I should compost my dying/dead tomato plants, because there’s always the risk that I could pass on disease to next year’s crop. Given that I will almost certainly be growing next year’s tomatoes in pure home-made compost, I have decided to err on the side of caution and throw the old plants away. I’d be keen to hear any thoughts from other tomato growers out there though.
On the tomato front, that is. We must have made about five or six pasta/chilli con carne dishes solely out of fresh, home-grown tomatoes (with a dash of tomato puree for good measure). As I write this on October 2nd, the tomatoes have definitely “peaked”, but we’ll still be eating fresh ones for the next couple of weeks, I think.
At this time it’s a good idea to review what went well in the garden and what didn’t. So here goes:
Tomatoes: huge success
Salad leaves (rocket, spicy leaf mix, oak leaf lettuce mix, sorrel): big success
Chard: Not bad
Rhubarb: success. It was definitely worth planting some in a corner of our raised bed, which doesn’t get much light and wouldn’t have supported much else
Spring onions: success. This is another crop (like salad leaves and tomatoes) which is well worth it, even if you don’t have much space. You can pick them a couple at a time, rather than buying a bunch from the shops and throwing half away
Runner beans: got some nice ones, but on the whole a huge disappointment
Carrots: epic fail – an unidentified pest ate all the leaves.
Courgettes: almost complete fail, although we did get a few small ones
Herbs (mint, chives, thyme, sage etc.): success.
Still picking plenty of salad leaves even now, and am looking forward to next year!