An interesting year, 2016. The cloves I planted back in September 2015 were from my own harvest and did very well indeed. They grew strongly and I got an excellent crop. I also, as an experiment, grew some that had sprouted late in the spring, which grew into large single bulbs, since they did not get the cold required to divide them.
It’s a great crop, but being hardneck, it doesn’t last as long as softneck varieties and I know I’ll get more sprouters. I know they say hardneck tastes better, yada, yada, but really – if you’re sticking it in a dish, does it really taste much different? I am prepared to be persuaded, but decided to try a softneck for 2017 in the hope it will last longer. Maybe I’ll find out the hard way.
I bought a couple of seed-bulbs of Picardy Wight from The Garlic Farm at the Hampton Court Flower Show. I confess to being a little worried as, as of last Sunday (Nov 6) I still hadn’t seen any growth at all from them. Having planted them at the back end of September, I’d have expected a few shoots by now – the random hardneck I grew for 2016 was more than six inches tall by this time last year. If I don’t see any movement in a week or so I’ll plant some of my own harvest as backup.
As an aside, something very odd happened with the rose that overhangs the bed I grew the garlic in this year. It’s said garlic is a great companion-plant for roses; I found the exact opposite. All the leaves fell off the rose, leaving entirely bare stems with a few naked blooms at the top. I can offer no alternative answer to the leaf-drop than the crop below it; all my other roses grew as normal.
Garlic score: 8/10 – loses 1 point for not being a keeper, and 1 point for killing my rose.