I don't grow many Alliums - usually just Chives. I don't really consider Onions to have good VSR, and the one time I grew Shallots they never got beyond the miniscule stage. However, inspired recently by a number of fellow bloggers, such as Sue from Our Plot At Green Lane Allotments, Elaine from A Woman of The Soil, and Sara from Hilwards, I have decided to have a go with Shallots and Garlic myself. As you probably know, I don't have a huge amount of space available, so my policy is to strive for quality and diversity rather than quantity.
Amongst my order from Thompson and Morgan therefore was one pack of "Longor" Shallots (18 sets), and one pack of Spring-planting Garlic (4 heads). "Longor" is a French type, described as "half-long". What a strange term. Presumably they are "half-short" as well.
Last Friday I had a day off work and I decided that since the weather was nice and the soil conditions were right I would plant out most of both types. I was mindful though that a return to much colder weather was forecast, so I kept back a few of each - hedging my bets just in case the first planting didn't make it.
Following my crop rotation plan, the Alliums went in the bed in which last year's Parsnips and Beetroot were grown. Due to shortage of space I am limiting myself to only what will fit into half of one of my raised beds, so not a lot! I have managed to squeeze in 12 Shallots and 23 cloves of Garlic.
Yes 23 is a strange number, but it is all that I could salvage because to my dismay when I opened the heads of garlic to split them into individual cloves two of the four were completely rotten!
Not a pretty sight, is it? It could have been worse though, because as soon as I discovered this I rang T and M and they agreed straightaway, without the slightest quibble, to replace the Garlic.
Planting the Shallots and Garlic was an easy enough task. I prepared the bed by digging it over lightly with a trowel (this is practical only when preparing a very small space, otherwise a proper spade will be required), incorporating into the soil the home-made compost I applied last week along with a few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure, and raking it flat. I then pushed the Shallots and Garlic into the soil at the relevant spacing (I used about 12" / 30cm between the Shallots and about 6" / 15cm between the Garlic cloves). They need to be firmly settled in so I ensured that about two thirds of their depth was covered, and then watered them in quite generously. The final stage was to cover the bed with netting supported by plastic hoops, in order to deter the foxes and birds.
Now all I have to do is weed and water occasionally, and wait until about August, when the plants should be ready for harvesting. Sounds suspiciously easy, doesn't it?
I hope they do well - garlic needs a cold spell anyway - unless the spring planted clovers are different. I've always found T&M good at replacing things - remember my fuzzy nectarineReplyDelete
Last year, because it was so dry my shallots went to seed very quickly - I didn't get a single one, so you are right to be suspicious - that said, it is the first time I have had any trouble with them.ReplyDelete
Last year Marshalls insisted I email them photos of any bad plants before agreeing to replace them..so much for trust!ReplyDelete
We had some bad brassica plants from Marshalls ( I blogged about it) - we emailed photos and they insisted they were OK. I spoke on the telephone and said after 20+ years of experience growing veg we knew when something wasn't up to standard. Eventually they agreed to reimburse us half the price - they never did though. Pity as we have had some good plants from them in the past!Delete
I am taking some gardening risk this year too. The weather is so unpredictable, even when they predict it... I think all gardeners have a suspicious vibe from time to time. I finely posted some pictures from my mini garden on Gardening Notes page, come check it out. I hope some of that will grow...ReplyDelete
I always plant my garlic and shallots around the first of October I am very curious how yours do. I hope they do well. I bet think the shallots will be ok.ReplyDelete
Hope your garlic and shallots do well; two items many seem to grow successfully in the UK. I haven't really tried growing them. Your bulbs in your last post looked really fab, so colourful and cheerful. I really liked your lettuce post - hard to believe you have such great looking lettuces this time of year!ReplyDelete
Sounds too easy Mark. My exploits with alliums have had mixed results but we're growin red and brown onions this year as well as garlic so fingers crossed!ReplyDelete
In my experience both are easy, although I did get a lot of black aphids on my garlic last year. We are almost at garlic planting time here too - I usually plant in April, but mine wont be ready until December. For me garlic is almost the most worthwhile crop to grow - I hope your experience with it is good too.ReplyDelete
No. 23 is our favourite number;-). Good Luck with growing shallot and garlic this year. Hope you have fun. We don't plan on growing them this year as we probably be at another place before we can harvest them.ReplyDelete
I am just looking at garlic and shallots myself - as Liz said it's just about garlic planting time here too. I have never tried shallots or onions of any sort so I'm giving them a go. But I'm not too optimistic - for the past two years my garlic has been terrible. Third time lucky. Good luck with yours.ReplyDelete
Oh Mark, you jumped on the bandwagon! teehee :) Shallots was a nice choice too add as well. I'm with you, they do seem suspiciously easy. However, with all the work the other plants entail, I'd be ok with an easy one :) I hope they grow up nice and big for you! Cheers, JenniReplyDelete
Hope they do well for you. I'm still eating shallots which I grew last year, they did really well. This year I'm having a go at growing onions from seed rather than sets, I hope I don't regret it, but it's fun to try new things out.ReplyDelete
I did shallots last year at 5 per square foot and I'm still using them. Garlic went in for the first time in late fall. I'll be interested to see how we do.ReplyDelete
In my first year of growing I enjoyed successfully growing both onions and shallots, then lack of space limited me to garlic, which did poorly. My mother has given me some elephant garlic which I have transplanted in my new garden. Looking forward to seeing how it does. Looking forward to now being able to once again compare notes with fellow bloggers on growing.ReplyDelete
23 is a brilliant number Mark...It's my lucky number for a start ;)ReplyDelete
I tried growing garlic because I use so much but they just seem to disappear for some reason. Maybe the possums like fine french dining?
Garlic and shallots...Mmmm...roasted with some of your other veg, sound perfect to me. Good Luck :D