200 snowdrops, 100 gladioli byzantinus and 22 cloves of garlic, that’s how many…
The last of my bulb orders arrived today (150 tulips, 50 crocus , 50 alliums and an uncertain number of daffodils went in late last year). Buying snowdrops ‘in the green’’ like this makes them more likely to establish well, and more quickly, but it does mean you really need to get them in the ground quick smart. Around about planting the 75th snowdrop I started to question my choices, given that it was freezing cold and raining. I’m sure I’ll be glad when they flower though – which might not be this year, though the ones I bought this time last year did flower very well immediately after planting. The gladioli are not the blowsy cultivated type Morrissey used to twirl around, but a more delicate species type, smaller blooms in a bright magenta which will perrennialise and spread itself nicely (I hope), bridging that occasionally difficult gap where Spring segues into Summer.
It’s that time of year when I bang on about seedheads. I cleared the dead stems too early last year – the garden looked bare for ages and I destroyed habitat for overwintering beasties. Trying very hard to be a little more patient this year – I’ll start clearing, gradually, towards the end of the month, rather than slashing across the border in one fell swoop.
Last year I also started sowing too soon – I started too many things off indoors and ended up with sorry leggy seedlings that couldn’t go outside when the weather refused to warm up. This year I will resist the temptation to get cracking with these and I’ll hold off sowing any indoor crops until at least St Valentine’s Day, when the day length dramatically improves and the light is kinder to seedlings. This is one of two seed orders placed for this year… of course I don’t really need seed but the catalogues are just too tempting!
We’ll never manage to be fully self-sufficient, but it is certainly possible to have at least one item fresh from the garden for dinner every day of the year. Left to right: cavalo nero, various chards, and more chard, with beetroot below. All continuing to produce, despite really torrential Welsh rain for what feels like months.
A thoroughly scientific experiment here. Garlic planting time. In the picture on the right, the bed is half Solent Wight garlic planted directly in the soil and half the same garlic, from the same batch, potted up into pots before it goes into open ground. In theory, it will enjoy better drainage and put on a good healthy root ball before being planted out – this may or may not make it more able to resist white rot, rust and other diseases. We’ll see. To be honest, I discovered last year that even with some disease, if lifted early enough, a decent crop can still be obtained. We won’t make it through a whole year being self-sufficient for garlic from last year’s crop like we usually do but we won’t be very far off – the stored bulbs are still going and I probably have enough left for another month or two (we are a VERY heavy household for garlic use!)
Published by Notes from the Under-Gardener
Keen amateur gardener, tending a large home garden growing flowers, fruit and veg, ably supported by husband and dog.
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