I’ll take short for now

… if it means long for later!

Oh what a glorious morning
Oh what a glorious morning

Today made a spectacular entry that made my early morning eyes go “wow” but then my foggy, half asleep brain remembered “red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning.”  Once the beautiful glow faded from the sky the real nature of the day showed itself.  It was grey and gloomy with clouds encroaching beyond the horizon and hugging close to the ground.  It didn’t feel all that warm either and it stayed that way all day.  Strangely it never did rain, but it seemed like it was never really that far away.

The hope of a season lies in these small garlic cloves
The hope of a season lies in these small garlic cloves

It was hard to discern what was special about the day.  How can you verify it is the shortest day with the least amount of sunlight of all the other 364 days of the year if it is so gloomy you can’t even see the sun?  If it was to show its face the boffins have worked it all out and we would have been basking in its light for precisely 9 hours, 37 minutes and 58 seconds.

Always plant your garlic the right way up
Always plant your garlic the right way up with the pointy end at the top and the flat end at the bottom

The great thing about the shortest day is winter is only three weeks old and it has already decided to make the turn about and lengthen the days.  By the end of the month the boffins assure us that the days will be a whole 3 minutes brighter and by the end of July we will have a whopping extra 38 minutes of daylight.    This all brings us closer to summer and is a comfort as we ride the winter roller coaster of the worst weather I know is destined to be thrown at us yet.

Use a dibber to make holes
Use a dibber to make holes about 6cm deep. If you use the clove to push into the soil you could damage the root plate.

It was a bit cold today…  well I did the obligatory winter moaning about how cold it was, and it is cold if you compare it to Tahiti.  But by normal standards the boffins are also saying it is the warmest shortest day and it got up to 18°C.  The soil wasn’t all that bad either.  At 14.3°C I didn’t feel the need wear gloves at all as I popped my garlic into the ground as per the old wives’ tale of planting on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest.

good spacing for garlic
Each grid is 5cm square, so that puts the garlic at about 10 cm apart and each row is 15 cm apart. The trellis can stay on the ground until the garlic is established to deter cats using my garlic patch as a litter box!

Thanks to a generous friend I have a wide range of different types of garlic to try in order to defy my gardening nemesis – Rust.  I am so over it.  For the last two years it plagued my crop and weakened my plants to the point there was nothing to harvest.  This season I’ve carefully enriched the soil and tested it to make sure it was good.  I’ve increased the spacing distances from what I would normally do to improve the airflow and I’ve put them in a bed that hasn’t ever seen garlic or onion or anyone remotely related to garlic.  I’ve done my best and my hopes are high.  I’ve had good garlic before and I’ll have good garlic again.

Healthy garlic
Soon the newly planted garlic will catch up to the early cloves planted earlier. Garlic needs the cold weather to grow leaves and then when the days get to a certain length and gets warmer the garlic switches to fattening up the bulbs. I stored my garlic in the fridge for a few weeks – just in case it doesn’t get cold enough.

Come again soon – it’s downhill to summer from here on.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

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