Here in the East Midlands it's been raining heavily for the last couple of days, I haven't had much chance to get out and do anything too productive in the garden besides tending to my compost heap, keeping my greenhouse happy and getting some seedlings going on the windowsill. But now is a perfect opportunity to tell you about what I've put in the ground outside.
Growing Winter Garlic
The main "crop" I've got on the go this winter is garlic. Take each clove of a garlic bulb, which will in turn become a new bulb, and place them around 2cm deep (so not very) in well and deeply dug over soil clear of weeds, stones and general rubbish. The area should be well-drained but the bulbs need plenty of water and need to be packed into the soil so they can absorb moisture and expand. I'll keep you up-to-date on growing winter garlic, if you do go for it though, take plenty of care of the patch, regularly weeding and hoeing in between, to encourage drainage and absorbing of moisture, when the bulb start to show the plant you might have to encourage the top opening up gently, and look out for flowers that need to be snipped and take nutrients away from the bulb. The more you care for your cloves / bulbs the better and more flavour-some your garlic should taster. But garlic does grow wild so you can sow your cloves and chance it, but chances are you'll end up with a sour soggy little bulb, not the best addition to your home-made loaf.
A simple addition to your winter garden and happy little plants all year round are potatoes, just stick sprouting potatoes that have been neglected in the cupboard for a while. A few things to avoid, make sure the potatoes are not turning green, it's a minute possibility, and you'd be very unlucky but the chlorophyll that forms in potatoes could be poisonous, don't let it kill you, just thought I'd say but it's seriously not a big worry! A few words of advice, avoid supermarket potatoes, or anything packaged in plastic (should be a general rule of thumb anyway), you don't want your crop affected by chemicals or bleach that they use to make your potatoes supermarket fresh, or at least aesthetically pleasing for the shortsighted. The best place to go is farmer's markets, your local market or a friend with a potato patch. Support Local Produce!! Again, they love the water, love the moisture, don't need much attention aside from clearing pesky weeds stealing their nutrience, although potatoes are pretty hardy, you should find yourself harvesting some broth filling in no time at all. And again, chop off the flowers ...
Flowers? Tulip bulbs for spring!
Withthe weather it might look ad feel a bit drab outside at the minute but just wait, a little preparation and you might have a wonderful array of colour come spring. Now's the time to get your bulbs in to germinate and gain nutrience over the winter. Care for your bulbs, whether tulip or daffodil, I have a preference for tulips is essential, before you plant them, make sure they're kept in a dry, warm area, you wouldn't want them trying to grow in your kitchen cupboard would you.
Also, I've got the kitchen windowsill and greenhouse as an extension of my patch, I'll tell you about them next time ... ooh, and my multi-coloured heathers.
And for now, keep listening, just done a little facebook update, doing loads of radio sessions and acoustic shows, it's all good, going to add more videos to my youtube page soon, including some teasers of new stuff and general japes, also, been recording some of my favourite little oldies on my new toy / iPhone, debating whether I should share them will the general public, and as readers of my blog, hence, biggest admirers I'll let you decide ... first though, My Life needs more views, I've only earned a few quid from YouTube so far ...
Matt Henshaw Gardening
Henshaw's Horticultural Blog
My Life / It Ain't Easy
Bye For Now x