Back in March I wrote about my "scientific" experiment to try to work out the secrets of growing good garlic. You can read about it here. Even though not all the garlic I planted is ready, I thought it was time to do an update on the obvious outcomes so far, although I should really start this report by warning that my brain is not geared toward scientific preciseness...
To recap, we planted a variety of garlic types in a variety of garden beds over several months, to see what would be most successful. Luckily I noted vaguely what types they were in the earlier post, because I didn't actually remember to write the details on all of the tags!
I'd have to say that we've had mixed results so far. Some apparent successes, and some complete failures. Here's where it's all at:
- The early planting of market garlic in the City Garden has almost entirely failed. This was due in large part to the plants in the vegie garden not being far enough inside the chicken-free zone, so they were given constant haircuts. What has remained of them seem to be going rotten at the base of the stem. I don't think they got enough sunlight. The plants in the polystyrene box seemed to do a bit better for a while until we suddenly realised that the chickens had taken a liking to EATING polystyrene! I put the box up high enough so that they couldn't reach it, which went OK for a while until they jumped up and tipped the entire box over (and started eating at it again...). Before this happened, the plants had been badly attacked by aphids - the first time I've had them in such quantities in the City Garden - which I couldn't get rid of, and they'd pretty much killed the plants anyway, so the chickens really just put them out of their misery. 0/1
- In the Country Garden things are going a bit better. The early Diggers garlic planted in polystyrene boxes under a eucalyptus tree and in rough dirt in barrels are going quite well. They seem to like not being too wet. The photo above is from that batch, and although not yet fully grown I think they will be OK. 1/2
- The various types of early Diggers garlic planted in one of the large garden beds was doing really well until recently when the more slender varieties all got rust and attacked by aphids and keeled over. The heads of garlic on those ones are still quite small and not yet properly formed, and they seem to be going rotten at the base of the stem too. The large garlic varieties in that same bed are doing much better and nearly ready to harvest. 1.5/3
- The success story appears to be the late planted garlic from the local grower that I put under the rose bushes in mounded up but rubbish soil. It has large bits of tan bark, pebbles from the adjacent carpark in it, along with roots from the roses. So it's dry and well drained, and I suspect that might just be the key to growing successful garlic, at least during wet winters like we've had. It's even managed to succeed against attacks from the local rabbits (who'd probably taste great from eating all those leaves if we could just catch the buggers!) 2.5/4
Has anyone else noticed particular conditions that your garlic has thrived in this year?
|The Country Garden bed with a mixture of types including|
some very sad looking aphid-nibbled specimens
|So far so good...!|
ps. The chickens are still alive and don't seem to have suffered for their love of eating polystyrene ;)