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