When I Googled it I got conflicting information: it was either today or tomorrow and the sun was shining today – well kind of – when it wasn’t raining. So there was nothing for it – it was garlic and onion planting day!
This is such a special day anticipated from the day when the weather first started to get cold… from here on its downhill to summer! YAY! It makes the cold, wet days more bearable knowing the days are going to start getting longer and eventually warmer.
Onions and garlic can be planted any time from May to September, but I love the ritual that is getting out there in the dead middle of the year and doing some purposeful gardening. It makes a change from all the pfaffing about that I’m normally doing to make myself feel like I’m gardening. So today I dressed warmly and put my gumboots on and squelched across the garden to the lovingly pre-prepared bed. It was all soft and fluffy, with lime, blood and bone, general fertilizer, sheep poo, and a dash of ash for good measure all dug in and left for all of 3 days to settle in, with 3 days of heavy rain assist in the process.
Then I completely immersed myself in the task of planting out my seedlings and cloves that ended up taking most of the day. Which doesn’t really surprise me as I planted 14 elephant garlic and 90 normal garlic cloves, 144 Pukekohe Longkeeper Onions, 33 Sweet Red Onions, 12 Borettana Onions, 16 shallots I grew from seed this year and 15 shallots I grew from seed last year. They are probably squished in a little closer than recommended, but not half as bad as in previous years.
The last thing I had to take care of was the pest control. I think the biggest risk to my onions are the family of pukekos (birds) that have taken to hanging about. They don’t actually eat seedlings – they just get curious and pull them out to see what they are and then leave the seedling on top of the soil so dry out and die. So I put some bamboo stakes about the bed and tied plastic bags to them. It’s not all that pretty, but it’s worked before.
Then as I stood back to admire my handiwork, my attention was drawn to the big black clouds looming down by the loud crack of thunder, that was too close for comfort. So I raced inside knowing my newly planted plants were getting well watered in.
Come again soon – it will be spring before we know it!
Sarah the Gardener : o )