I’ve noticed an interesting thing about our elephant garlic plants. Some of them have grown up tall and strong, with flower buds waiting to burst into bloom, while some of them appear to have failed altogether – their stems are yellowing stumps that have become prey to slugs and snails. The failed ones are those which I companion planted with mizuna last autumn. Maybe I left the mizuna in too long (it had bolted, flowered and gone to seed), so that it was sucking vital nutrients from the garlic?
As an experiment, I dug up one of the mizuna-containing pots to see what was underground, so to speak. Answer? an unripe bulb of elephant garlic, which will hopefully have grown and divided in a month or so’s time. I will do more companion planting of this sort next year, but I shall remember to uproot the mizuna before it starts to bolt.
We have two redcurrant bushes. (Well, actually we have three – there’s another one in our front garden, doing its best to disguise itself as an ornamental deciduous shrub.) OK then, we have two redcurrant bushes in our back garden. One of them is in an old dustbin and is doing OK (see bottom pic). I picked a couple of punnets’ worth from the dustbin currant on Sunday, and have put them in the freezer.
The other bush, which is in the raised bed by the back wall, isn’t faring so well. It’s being eaten up by a mysterious pest, which has destroyed the leaves and nobbled any fruit before they had a chance to develop. The back bed is also a haven for snails; possibly it’s these which are responsible for eating the fruit. I confess I have neglected this bed – I’ve let the brambles run riot and I haven’t pruned the redcurrants, because the whole subject of pruning fruit bushes scares me. I’m going to have to get over my pruning phobia if I want to get any fruit off this bush next year, and also monitor the bush more closely in the spring for signs of any larvae/insects.
From what I understand (http://www.gardenseeker.com/pruning/pruning-redcurrants.html), you need to prune in late winter/early spring and cut back the older growth to the ground, as well as cutting any wispy side shoots from the previous year’s new growth. So this post is a reminder to get my secateurs out in early March.
PS: the bonus cat is Magnus. We’re down to just him now, since Lottie the tabby died a month ago at the age of 22 🙁
As of last week I have been feasting off the strawberries in containers in our front garden – although sadly, the ****ing snails are feasting off them too. I make a point of doing a “snail check” every morning and evening, and any that I find get unceremoniously chucked into the shrubbery on the other side of our front path. I don’t use slug pellets (don’t want to cause harm to local bird/cat life), so the snail checks are the price I pay. But the strawberries are worth it. Amidst the strawberries is this fine terracotta strawberry planter, which I’ve planted with… Tumbling Tom tomatoes. My neighbour from three doors down gave me the planter – he doesn’t have time to garden right now so I’ve promised him some of the fruits of my labour. (In case you’re wondering, the two tomato plants growing out of the top of the planter are Gardener’s Delight.) All my tomatoes are doing OK a week after being potted up. None of them have flowered yet though – don’t think we’ll be eating any home grown tomatoes till August.