Wednesday, 23 January 2013

happiness is a full seed box

More seeds arrived today - that’s nearly everything that I ordered.  There’s a few of the more arcane things left to come from Thomas Etty. I do have moments where I think I should alphabetise my seed box – but I think maybe that’s a guy thing (correct me if I’m wrong).  It’s as much as I can do to keep all my cabbagey things together without having them filed under ‘k’ for kale, ‘c’ for collard greens and ‘b’ for broccoli. Also does corn salad go under ‘c’ for corn, ‘s’ for salad or ‘l’ for lambs lettuce?  See!?! – Bored with it already! 

The other very exciting thing that arrived today was the shallots and garlic – Yay!  In spite the old adage to ‘plant on the shortest day - harvest on the longest day’, I usually get mine in some time in early February.  They need a long growing season with a good cold spell at the beginning, which helps the bulbs split and form a proper head.

The garlic is ‘Solent Wight’, a softneck variety that reliably produces good size heads and stores really well, and the shallots are ‘Golden Gourmet’. It’s worth getting your garlic from a garden centre or mail order – planting stuff from the supermarket means you’ll be growing varieties that prefer hotter climates.  The varieties with Isle of Wight names are better adapted to our cooler, shorter growing season.

After harvesting in late July, I like to plait the garlic and string the shallots, which makes them look very fancy, (but it’s easy when someone shows you – I’ll teach you some time).  Hanging them up in a cool shed is the best way to store them. I know some people like to put them in old tights instead of stringing them -  now I’m no Martha Stewart, but I don’t wear tights, and even if I did I wouldn’t want my old ones hanging up in the kitchen with onions in them!

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