SoS: A Busy Week – The Garlic Experiment

My SoS (Six on Saturday) for this week is a bit of a mixed bag. I’ve been more active in the garden and we are more or less back on track planting vegetables, clearing weeds etc. I’ve yet to scratch the itch of walking around a garden centre so perhaps we can add that to the agenda for the coming week. I should explain that garden centres in the Algarve are nothing like the garden centres in the UK. The garden centres I frequent just sell plants, pots and sundry items. They don’t have coffee shops, pensioner lunch deals of the day, kiddies playgrounds or a Santa’s grotto.

1. Planting Garlic

We went to the local hardware-cum-garden-supply shop looking for iceberg lettuce seeds but no luck. Apparently, while iceberg lettuce are sold in the supermarkets (imported from Spain) there is no equivalent grown in Portugal.

However, we did stumble across some seed garlic heads which I’ve been searching for for some time. We planted these the next day as the guy in the shop advised us we were right at the end of the planting season. I will also plant some supermarket garlic to see if we get different results

Olho Roxo
Olho Roxo
garlic cloves
garlic cloves

We planted twelve fleshy cloves in a crate and another 20 or so in the old herb garden.

Growing garlic in containers
Growing garlic in containers
planting garlic
planting garlic

According to the internet you plant them a thumb deep and a hand width apart.

This was my attempt a few years ago. Yes, that is a cherry tomato and the garlic heads are not much bigger!

End of July: The foliage had died off so I eagerly dug up all the heads of garlic. What a disappointment they were not much bigger than my cherry tomatoes!
End of July: The foliage had died off so I eagerly dug up all the heads of garlic. What a disappointment they were not much bigger than my cherry tomatoes!

2. New Lime Tree, New Challenge

….. As we were leaving the shop, clutching our bag of seed garlic heads, I spotted a baby lime tree. Yes! It had a good shape, healthy leaves and priced at only €7.50 I made a snap decision and bought it. A bargain!

lime tree
lime tree

Our intention is to plant in a sunny, sheltered corner of the garden in a large container. For now it will acclimatize in a sheltered spot for a week before planting. We also need to get some decent compost.

3. A Strawberry in February

Okay, I am easily pleased.

Growing strawberries in containers - Feb
Growing strawberries in containers – Feb

My job for next week is to weed all the strawberry containers, clear dead leaves, feed and add cloche covers for extra protection. I should have had more than one strawberry by now, but I have neglected them so we reap the effort we sow.

4. Agave

Agave
Agave

5. Rhubarb – Timperley Early

I am relieved to see the rhubarb I planted last year has reappeared! I was rather concerned a few months ago when the leaves rotted and died off.

We can’t buy rhubarb in the supermarkets here, so if want a rhubarb crumble we need to grow our own rhubarb.

Did you know you should never put rhubarb leaves on your compost heap because they are poisonous? No, neither did I.

Rhubarb Timperley early
Rhubarb Timperley early

6. Physalis

A couple of months ago I planted some Physalis fruit in little pots and left to seed. I meant to cover the fruit with soil. Distracted I forgot. Result, the birds enjoyed a free lunch leaving me the empty pots. This week I found another fruit which I planted in the container where it will remain. This time I covered the fruit with soil. Actually, writing this, I will leave nothing to chance and also cover with a plastic container. The blackbirds like to dig with their beaks.

growing Physalis in pots
growing physalis in pots

That’s it for this week. Please check out The Propagators Blog to see what’s been happening in other gardens around the world.

27 thoughts on “SoS: A Busy Week – The Garlic Experiment

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  1. I had a similar experience with garlic when I had a go at planting it and never bothered again. Maybe I shouldn’t be such a quitter and have another go?

    Kismet? I was also reading up on the diferences between Lemon and Lime tree yesterday evening, and thought might like to have a go at growing one./ We have five lemon trees and a bitter orange). Reading your post this morning has made me decide to look for one the next time I’m out and about.

    Haven’t had Rhubarb pie since I was a kid at my gran’s place!

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    1. I only want to grow limes as they are so expensive to buy. And garlic… I was tempted by a fellow gardener to give it another go. This time we’ve really pushed the boar out. Soil, irrigation system and seed garlic. If I can grow onions successfully, I must be able to grow garlic. Find out the planting timeframe then give it a go.

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      1. Very nice six, glad you are getting about more. Someone else has probably said, but jist on case – while you can’t eat rhubarb leaves, toxic as they are, you can certainly compost them. The toxin breaks down in the decomposition process. Happy composting!

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  2. Oh, garlic! I don’t plant it, it came with my house, and had gone “wild” in the asparagus bed. I am still, seven years later, trying to get it all out! It survived in the compost pile, where now and again I’ll harvest it.
    My grandmother grew huge rhubarb plants. She just composted the leaves. I am growing some to plant under my fruit trees (just “learned” about guilds!) and rhubarb is one recommended as a mulcher. Just cut the leaves a few times a year and leave them there. So, if they can be used that way, how can they be bad for a compost pile? I’m not doubting your word, just wondering since it was just recently I read about them as mulchers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa, I always composted the leaves until an old gardener friend said I should not do that. I just took his word for it. I am still fighting nature and what will grow in this micro-climate of salt winds and high humidity. I’m now on about my 12th rhubarb plant so we will see if I can keep this one alive.

      Garlic, is proabably like mint. It will grow like a weed where it wants to grow

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    1. IT is a bizarre range of plants I grow here. Some plants are perfectly happy but others… I should have given up on rhubarb years ago but the thought of a rhubarb crumble keeps me focused.

      I’ve had that agave for about 10 years. Every year it flowers and the birds love it when the flowers change to seeds/berries

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  3. A life with rhubarb doesn’t bare thinking about. Rhubarb and strawberries make a rather good combo in a crumble. Your garlic did better than ours which didn’t split into cloves for some reason. Hoping for better results this year. The lime tree is rather exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Agave or Aloe? Whatever, it is very nice. I like the way you use containers. I have some crates that are similar, I guess you line yours with plastic? Old compost bags? And make drainage holes? I’m thinking I could do this in my car park area which gets full sun and grow veggies.

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  5. Like me, you planted your garlic cloves. We will see our result.
    About the lime tree at 7.5€, it’s a bargain! I‘m sure you‘ll get some fruit. Here I would need time if I had one. In Portugal, you‘ll have more luck quickly …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I recently read that I should plant my garlic in March or April. I have been planting it in June. Apparently if you plant it too late, you only get very small heads and this is what happened to mine. Keeping in mind I’m in the Southern Hemisphere, that’s the beginning of Autumn for me. I’ve yet to try it though and will have to wait until later in the year to see if there’s any improvement. I do like the sculptural flowers on your agave.

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  7. Rhubarb is so uncommon here that I get the impression that it is passe. Yet, it seems that it is popular in many other regions. Mine is the same rhubarb that I got from my great grandfather before I was in kindergarten.

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