A great big pile of steaming horse hockey may not be every girl's dream Valentine but I was quite excited by today’s delivery. Next week I am tasked with building a hotbed and the pile of fresh, (has to be fresh to generate heat), strawy stable manure will be the base for the frame. It’s a traditional, low tech way of producing undersoil heating to get an early start on seed sowing. More of all that next week – just wanted to share my excitement and whet your appetites. (Bleurgh!)
I’ll let you into a little secret – I don’t own the garden! (Just in case you were thinking I was a fabulously wealthy landowner with a penchant for historical recreation in my garden). My employer doesn’t want to be identified – this might also be the moment to say that all views expressed in this blog are my own and not those of… blah bla blah etc
Yesterday the soil had dried out enough for me to prepare a planting area for some shallots and garlic. I raked the bed out, top dressed it with a bit of bonemeal then planted 3 rows of garlic ‘Solent Wight’ and 3 rows of shallot ‘Golden Gourmet'.
|nice fat garlic cloves|
|shallot 'Golden Gourmet'|
The shallots are just snuggled down into the soil with their noses peeking out – I cover them up with a few pea sticks to try and foil the pigeons who like to tweak them out and hurl them about for sport. The garlic goes in a bit deeper – I use a stick as a dibber to make holes to drop the cloves into; pushing them in can bruise the clove or damage the root plate. Plant the fattest cloves and the biggest shallots you can get hold of to produce a generous crop for harvest in July.