A week before Halloween, I planted garlic. Early winter is the time to plant it, as it gets a head start and so once summer rolls back around, the bulbs are plumper than spring planted.
Garlic has been not only used to ward off vampires, but cholera, flu and even the plague. Now it is accepted that it is good for our blood and hearts. But most of it all I grow it for its pungency and deep, versatile flavour.
On my own and on client’s plots, I have planted ‘Solent Wight’. It has been bred in the UK- the Isle Of Wight- and so is used to our grey days and chilled winter nights.
Planting them is as simple as it comes- break up the cloves, dig down a few inches and space them 6 inches apart. As I planted them, their heady, thick fragrance filled the autumn air.
Garlic is good grown as a companion plant- a plant that can be grown alongside other plants to keep pests at bay. Growing without synthetic chemicals and fertilisers means you have to look at cultural methods and view growing as a more connected, linked up affair. Growing garlic alongside other crops- such as carrots to befuddle carrot root fly- is an example of this.
Come early summer, there should be plump, fresh cloves for roasting with cherry tomatoes, for slicing paper-thin into salads and for frying in yellow, creamy butter.