Thursday, 5 May 2011

Planting, Re-Planting and Pruning

This year I am taking the risk and going to try growing garlic. 
I have heard that there a a lot of chemicals used on imported garlic and while I always try to buy Australian garlic we eat a lot of it and it can be quite pricey.
I have not grown it before and from what I have heard it can be a fickle thing up here in Queensland.  Apparently garlic needs cool temperatures to multiply from the 1 bulb you plant, into an entire head of garlic.  Garlic has quite a long growing season so it would be/possibly will be, a bit sad, come the end of the growing season, to only be harvesting just the one little bulb I planted and it not have multiplied.
But I am willing to take the risk.

I am a Diggers Club  member and have purchased  2 bulbs of each of the following Garlic. Cream (softneck), Oriental Purple (hardneck), and Australian White (softneck).
Soft necks generally do not have a flower head but are the most common grown as they have a longer shelf life in storage.  Hardnecks do have flower heads, a bit like onions, and generally have fewer cloves but the cloves are bigger in size.  Apparently hardnecks prefer cooler winters and do not have as good a shelf life as the softneck varieties
I planted them out in my raised vege beds and 2 weeks later they are growing happily however the Oriental Purple variety seems to be so far much more vigorous than the other 2.

My little Garlic patch, 7 rows in total.
See  how the ones on the left are looking stronger and are bigger than the other rows.

I have also planted out some snow peas as well, twice in fact.
My little helper decided that digging in the garden was so much fun she needed to participate too, the day after I planted my already soaked snow pea seeds, when I wasn't looking.
My little helper
So the second planting have been given some extra protection in the way of gutter guard held in place with tent pegs which has worked a treat and they are all starting to climb.  I think I will let them get just a little bigger before removing the guard.
My Peas protected by the gutter guard
I finally took the plunge and pruned back my perennial Basil (Sorry little Bee's) that I had let get overgrown and flower to feed the bee's.  But it was time for a hair cut or should I saw a crew cut.
The huge pile of pruning from my Basil
I pruned back what were originally 2 cuttings given to me by my father in law and had turned into hedges.  Off to the compost for that lot plus I have taken some cuttings myself and am indeed thinking about a Basil hedge.  I grows so quickly, has flowers for the Bee's if let go and can handle the weather we get here.
The twiggy remains of my Basil, I cannot believe how big they get in just 1 year
As you can see from my photo the twiggy remains of my Basil are shooting so if I am lucky they will come back, if not I will just plant out some of the cuttings I have taken.


  1. I have had great success with garlic but then again I am in Melbourne so we do get the required cold etc. I also found the purple to be the most prolific and it gave the biggest heads in the end. It can be tempting to dig a little around the developing heads to see what is happening down there! Home grown garlic seems to be a lot more pungent than the shop bought variety so it goes further too. Let us know how it goes!

  2. Good luck with the garlic, Fiona! As Hazelnut Tree commented, we have an easier time with garlic down in Melbourne. What about growing them under a dappled shady area for a bit of direct sun protection?

  3. Great vegie garden Fiona. I have planted garlic for the first time also, they are about the same size as your ones. I don't know what they are called I planted some that I had previously bought from the shop (I know, how slack of me). Hopefully mine will do ok as it gets quite cool here in western Sydney. How long does it take to grow?

  4. Mmmm I also tried garlic this year, in the hopes it will get cool enough. Thats the thing about gardening - you have to try things in anticipation not knowing what the weather will do. Your garden is looking good.

  5. Garlic should be ready for harves around November. The instructions I have are: Reduce water at end of Spring (4 weeks prior to harvesting).
    Harvest garlic in summer, when plants turn 90% yellowy brown. Ease bulbs out with a fork, careful not to damage bulbs. If good weather. let them dry in the sun for a few days.
    Hang to dry for 4 weeks in a warm place with good ventilation. Store in a cool airy place. This will prevent the bulbs from rotting.

  6. Thanks Fiona, I didn't realise it took that long to grow...oh well, I will have to buy some for my winter cooking this year!

  7. I like the pea protection. I need to protect mine from mysterious night creatures that eat the shoots to the ground. Hadnt thought of gutter guard!

    What a basil pile! Yumo!


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