20 Tuesday May 23 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi SELWYN TIMES Gardening Essential tips on how to grow Should you plant on the shortest day, or is this based on myth more than merit? Steve Wratten provides the answers THERE’S NO doubt about it – garlic is certainly worth growing in your vegetable garden. In fact, our neighbour Sally plants 52 cloves to produce a head of the stuff for each week of the year – sensible Sally. She probably knows these little bulbs have antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer properties and they even delay the development of atherosclerosis. They contain allicin (so do onions and leeks) that protect against stomach and colon cancer. You can always buy the bulbs from the supermarket, of course, but it often comes from Mexico or China and is dry and shrivelled, dusty and tasteless. So, let’s explore how to grow good garlic. WHERE TO BUY IT? I get mine from farmers’ markets if possible. It’s likely to be local and therefore grown under conditions similar to those of your garden. Look for firm heads of the stuff, ideally with pale lilac-coloured streaks and fat individual cloves. Failing that, see if a neighbour had a good crop last year and can spare a few that he/she has saved for planting. If you do buy some, go to a good garden centre; some outlets sell tiny, peeling heads of the stuff, which can cost $1/bulb, in little bags of red plastic mesh. Avoid. You can also plant some of your own crop from last year. HEALTHY: When buying your bulbs, look for firm heads with pale lilac-coloured streaks and fat cloves. HOW TO STORE IT I cadge or buy from the supermarket those gossamer-like bread bags in which the shop puts still-warm bread before it goes on the shelves. They have hundreds of tiny perforations to let the steam out but, when used for garlic storage, they keep the bulbs aerated (five or six/bag, I suggest) to minimise rotting in storage. You could store them loose in trays in a shed but the rats get mine. Hang the bags from the shed roof, away from direct sunlight, and they stay aerated and free from rodents until you need them. gardening without guesswork Question: I have just got some feijoa plants, and I wanted to know how to care for them with the frosts and snow. Do they need a frost cloth? Yum! I can smell the delicious Answer: aroma of feijoa and apple crumble already! Feijoa plants are quite hardy, so they do not need to be protected with frost cloth. Our local expert says that he has not done this before, and his plants are doing very well. Heavy snow may cause some branches to break, but the plants will make plenty of new growth in the spring. If this does happen, they may need a bit of a prune to tidy up any broken branches but that’s about all that is needed. WIN! a $50 INTEllIgrO gIfT VOuchEr! Send us your question and BE IN TO WIN! Email to: email@example.com or post your question on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/igro.co.nz New questions received by Tuesday 30th May. for more information, check out our website: www.intelligro.co.nz or visit our facebook page: www.facebook.com/igro.co.nz Thanks to sach for her question. feijoa and apple crumble INGREDIENTS Crumble: • 75 g butter, diced • ½ cup flour • ¼ cup thread coconut • ¼ cup rolled oats • ½ cup brown sugar Fruit Base: • 12 ripe feijoas, peeled and sliced • 2 apples, peeled and sliced • ½ cup Maple Flavoured Syrup METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2. To make the crumble place all ingredients into a food processor. Blend or pulse until combined. 3. Place the fruit in a soufflé or baking dish. Pour over maple syrup to sweeten, and mix. Top with the crumble mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit is cooked and crumble crisp and golden. QualITy prOducTs frOm ThE WEB TO ThE shEd!
SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Tuesday May 23 2017 21 good garlic WHEN TO PLANT IT? Books and websites keep copying each other and chant the meaningless mantra of ‘plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest!’ Don’t they realise that our garden soil is at its coldest in July and August? Why submit rootless and vulnerable cloves to that challenge by planting in June? I wanted to find out what the professionals do so I phoned John Murphy of Phoenex Garlic in Marlborough, for advice. His first words were “I ignore that shortest-day advice.” Well, that was a good start! He plants his in August or early September – to get bulbs of an even shape and good appearance. They may be a little smaller at harvest but the market cares more about shape and appearance. For home gardeners, he recommends July. I asked about varieties – I have never seen a garlic label giving this information. John said he grows ‘Printanor’ (derived from the French word ‘printemps’, meaning spring; there’s another clue as to planting time). He also grows ‘Presto’, which goes in around July. In Canterbury, and further south, late July or early August would not be too late. HOW TO PLANT IT? I do something which I think John does not do. I dig a shallow trench where my garlic is due to be planted, put some compost in the trench (I use the cheap stuff which comes in 25kg bags from megastores; I paid only $3.80/ bag a few weeks ago), mix the extracted soil into it within the trench. Add some wood ash or bought potash fertiliser. You will then have a mound of friable, noncompacted planting medium in which to press the cloves so they are buried at twice their length. HOW TO GROW IT First, don’t over-water. If you do, onion white rot may clobber your plants. Early yellowing of the leaves, before the bulbs are anywhere near the right size, is a tell-tale sign that something’s up. Some gardeners dip the cloves before planting in kitchen bleach (I suggest a five per cent solution but it’s a bit of a gamble). This is supposed to kill the white-rot spores. Definitely do not grow your garlic in the same place as in previous years – white rot spores persist in the soil for ages. So, minimise the threats to your having a great garlic crop each year and look forward to a mildly-garlicky mayonnaise, stuffed and grilled half-shell mussels or a garlic chicken casserole. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW When to sow Plant the single cloves (not the whole bulb!) in late winter/early spring. Where to plant Full sun, in a slightly raised bed, for drainage. Plant spacing 15cm apart. Time to maturity Around seven months. Where to buy A good garden centre or a farmers’ market or use a few good bulbs left over from the previous season’s crop. 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