Oh well, there always next year.

I kind of suspected things weren’t all hunky dory below ground.  The manky state of things above ground was a kind of given.  My garlic harvest for the second year running will be sent to the compost bin without even seeing the inside of the kitchen.  I did contemplate briefly rummaging through the dismal pile for any that could remotely be considered edible.  I’d even be prepared to sit there and peel the teeny tiny cloves with an attitude of ‘if I grew it – then I’ll bloomin well eat it.’  However I need to admit to myself it may not even be worth the attempt.

The shame of it all…. my meagre garlic crop, destined for the compost pile

I haven’t actually taken it to the compost bin yet as I haven’t made up my mind if it is actually worth processing them.  Although I think it is more of a pride thing.  It doesn’t seem right to dig something up that has been in the ground for 6 months and then put it straight in the compost within minutes of it seeing daylight.  I need to acknowledge its above ground existence for a while to justify the enormous effort I put in to reap such a fine harvest.

The best of a bad bunch of garlic

The other disappointment, that should really be a celebration but it feels quite bitter sweet, is the one garlic that grew steadily and healthily in a corner of the bed and held my only real hope.   I had made the assumption that I had produced an anomaly – a garlic resistant to the rust that plagued the rest of the crop.  I was going to treasure it like it was a precious jewel and save it for the next season and start my own lineage of garlic suited to my situation.  The fork slid into the soil beside it and with a gentle tug the earth loosened up and revealed a bulb that under normal circumstances would be one to be proud of.  And as I raised it up with pride and held it up against the blue sky, my heart sank.   It wasn’t the solution to all my garlic problems, it was an elephant garlic – and a small one at that, by elephant garlic standards.  It would seem there are no winners in my garlic patch this year.

Elephant garlic
I’m unsure if I should call this success or not…

So now I need a rethink.  I don’t really want to have to buy garlic in for the kitchen because it is really expensive.  I have to understand rust so I can find a way to avoid it again.  I need to try different varieties to see if some types have the ability to shake it off easier than the variety I use now.  I have some research to do.  I need to get into the mind of a garlic.  This isn’t over!

Empty bed
And at the drop of a hat there was no garlic to be found in my garden – or kitchen for that matter!

Come again soon – let’s just pretend this never happened and we won’t speak of it again.

Sarah the Gardener

26 thoughts on “Oh well, there always next year.

    1. Hi Kalamain. It isn’t the rust that is a problem. As much as I’d like to keep the cloves, they are just too little and not worth it. I want to try some different varieties next season to see if I get a better result.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  1. So sorry to hear about the disappointing crop! Its been a tough year all round for garlic crops in our part of the world, I know so many people who suffered with less than ideal conditions!

  2. It is always sad to loose a crop, especially a lucky dip like garlic. All we can do is try and try again. I am so grateful for every success and nothing is taken for granted. until next year, you have good looking onion and garlic chives don’t take much to grow……a little adjustment to your recipes and you will be fine 🙂

    1. Hi Dina. My onion crop was fab, and I do have garlic chives in my herb garden. And it isn’t quite the same but we do have elephant garlic. Next year will be much better. – It has to be!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi Helen. I’ve seen this post before, and actually met Linda (Garden Betty) last year. She is so lovely.
      As I was battling rust for most of the season, I was expecting it to be a losing battle. And I will be binning them and not into the compost – in my despair I’d forgotten about not putting diseased plants in the compost.
      Thanks for the support.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. We didn’t plant garlic this year but we’d grow them the size you did and we ate them! I was not going to waste all that effort. 🙂 Luckily the local farms in our area have better luck.

    1. HI Virginia. It is just as well it is a relatively low maintenance crop. It is disappointing when you grow something for so long and then don’t get anything back. I’ve had good crops in the past so I know it isn’t impossible. I guess I’ll just keep trying.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

      1. That was reasonI started growing from seed
        If I remember right rust is a fungus and you might be carrying it over. Allow that area to lay dormant for a cou e oif years. Plant something not effect by rust. Burn your garlic rather thannn add it to compose pile. You may be spreading it. Get your seed from garlic that is free from rust. One of the mistakes many people throw disease food into the compost which just spreaaad it.

        1. Garlic won’t be in the same bed for another 4 years in my crop rotation cycle.
          I’ve never thought to grow garlic from seed – I may have to look into this, it sounds intriguing.
          And as my compost system is still quite new I’ve been very fussy about who I let in there. Maybe too fussy!
          : o)

  4. Hey Sarah .. Not good news about your crop. Mine thankfully was a good one .. It is about the only veg that never lets me down. As for elephant garlic, that self seeds here and grows like mad. I just wish I liked it.

  5. I’ve just harvested my Presto garlic and they are disappointingly small, same as last time I used this one, and in spite of copious feeding and watering. I had much better success with Printantor, but this hasn’t been available at my supplier (Mitre 10) Oh well, better luck this year … Hope springs eternal for us gardeners aye.

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