Monday, December 10, 2012

The garlic bulbils

Well, after a weekend of being particularly good and writing, the weather is very unusual for Flinders today - there seems to be no wind. Unfortunately high tide is 15 minutes before sundown, and 3/4 of an hour before dark, so while it might be excellent for squid, it's not for flounder.

The first of my garlic has been harvested - a little early, but I wanted to see how it was doing and it did in that tank seem to be in danger of dying back and being lost. That produced 4 pretty good looking heads with around 10 fat cloves to each. I think, in all, I will have around 40 heads, which is a bit mingy for us, especially as I have to replant, and we like a lot of garlic. I don't have to work in a crowded sweaty office

I gather they will grow single bulbs from the bulbils on the flower-stalks, which, if you replant them the next year, will give you normal garlic, and more bulbils... I think I will try this, as it's always useful stuff, garlic. Good for vampires. Or rather, bad for vampires. If you want to actually know why you'll have to read Bolg, PI: the Vampire Bride, which will tell you why vampires fear the antibiotic properties of garlic. Or Silver.

Speaking of the writing side of my life, I was misled. The publishers put the original release date for THE STEAM MOLE as the 4th when putting up the notice on Amazon. They find it impossible to change this (it is not. Just a LOT of hassle, as I know from when one of our books was put up with the wrong title) Then they changed their minds and made it the 11th of December. Amazon has however been shipping since before the 4th.

One of the critcs posted this: "“The Steam Mole” is something of a love-letter to Freer’s adopted country and a whacking good tale" (Otherwhere Gazette)
I can live with that :-)


  1. What I do is cut the flowers off half of the plants. You'll get more then enough bubils for next years crop and the ones with no heads will then put all their energy into making nice fat bulbs.

    In our little 1M by 1.5M bed I'd cut the front half one year and the back half the next. More then enough garlic for us just pulling the 1/2 that was cut. Shake the bubils on to the ground that you dug up and turn over the soil. Or, if you're more meticulous then I, store them in a jar with no lid and plant in rows in the late fall.

    Bonus: The scapes that you cut off are great to eat. They're like scallions with a built in garlic flavor. Scapes with a strip of bacon wrapped around the lightly peeled scape and then fried in a cover pan. Scape Pesto. Anything you'd use scallions in.

    All they really need is a nice grass mulch. You'll grow the fattest bulbs if your soil is at a neutral PH. Wood ash tossed on top of the beds in the winter is a great way if your soil is too acidic.

    1. I promptly went and cut the scapes that had developed least. How close do you plant them, Quilly? I have a feeling I was a bit wider-spaced than I have to be.

  2. When planting bubils remember you are sowing as Mother Nature intended the plant to propagate. They don't have to be planted bottom down they can be two or three inches apart and covered with just little earth. An inch or so is fine. Some of them are not going to come up...that is the blessing and the curse of garlic you propagate yourself. They adapt very quickly to your specific soil condition but making the first cut can be brutal. For that reason I would save some cloves from your first harvest and plant them in your front row. Three inches apart. This will be the row you for sure want to cut the scapes off next spring.

    The children of the first generation of Flinder Freer Garlic will be the bubils from this years planting. Grind up the heads and entrails from the fish you catch and make an emulsion; apply and cover with hay. This is when you should check your soil ph and apply wood ash if necessary on _top_ of the hay. Pull the hay back when they pop their first shoots out.

    Cold affects the growing cycle. In the southern climes of America and Europe a two year cycle yields fine results. In Canada they recommend three. But even if you totally forget about them, in early summer you'll have a bunch of garlic. But the main benefit of putting just a wee bit of time in is how greatly it expands the yield; and that allows enough extra to give away. People are ho-hum about a sack of extra tomatoes, but give them a few cloves of fresh garlic? Happy Happy.

  3. Our fish heads and guts usually go into the sea (we clean there). The frames I've been using to make dog-broth (and sometimes fish stock). Is there something I should know about using fish as fertilizer? Is it superior in some way? (I can always catch scrap fish for this if it is.)

    Our soils tend to the acidic, so I have been adding ag lime? Is that good or bad?

  4. For garlic lime can make the soil too far in the other way. Wood ash tends to be less base and bring the soil more neutral. Fish emulsion is a natural 5-1-1 fertilizer. It adds calcium and a quick nitrogen boost. It's other benefit is that it encourages the growth of microbes and fungi that are good for the soil and the plants. Throw some seaweed in it for additional trace minerals. Rinse the salt off.

    Native Americans on both coasts used to plant seeds with fish parts and shredded seaweed. It's better then chemical because it contains all the trace elements. It repels slugs and some caterpillar. Right before the hottest time of the summer we'd gather some up from the river and cover the area around the tomato plants. Keeps the soil moist and the slugs and cutworms away. Tilled in after the tomatoes are harvested.