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.
Owing to the late/cold spring, there hasn’t had much of a salad crop yet. Last week was the first time when I could actually make a lunch based on salad leaves. The roll call was as follows: rocket, chive flowers, Welsh onion, flat leaved parsley, pea shoots and mizuna. I added some ham and Roquefort, plus a dash of mayonnaise – it made a nice and civilised lunch!
My last attempt at planting elephant garlic was in 2011. It wasn’t totally successful – I got a crop out of it, but the bulbs I ended up with were the same size as normal garlic. Put it this way, there was nothing “elephant” about them. This time round, I’ve used bigger pots – ten inches in diameter rather than 6 or 7. Hopefully this will do the trick. I planted the bulbs last October, and as you can see, they’re doing pretty well:
Top tip: I grew mizuna from seed in the same pots as the garlic. So while the garlic was sprouting last autumn, I also had a crop of salad leaves.
Well, after three good courgettes, we’re back to the tiny ones with blossom end rot. Maybe that’s the way of things with courgettes – you get a few good ones, then about twice as many rubbish ones, then a few good ones again… I am going to pound up some chalk in their water and see if that makes a difference (the chalk being a source of calcium, which is one of the possible reasons I found for the blossom end rot – see earlier post). Anyway, this post isn’t really about my tiny limp courgettes, it’s about a major success story, pictured below. I bought a 39p packet of mixed leaf lettuce seeds from my local Aldi supermarket back in March, planted them in April and from May onwards, I was harvesting cut and come again salad leaves. I still am in fact, in the middle of July – and they show no sign of slowing down or bolting. (Apart from one of the leaf varieties, which is a sort of spicy mustard type thing. They bolt like anything once the temperature goes up a notch.) I will be planting another lot of mixed leaf lettuce in early August, and am going to have another go at growing mizuna then as well, which was spectacularly unsuccessful the first time I tried it due to the fact that the local snail population treated it as their friendly neighbourhood restaurant.