The Cottage Smallholder


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The Garlic Lovers Collection from The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight

 

Photo: exciting garlic seed packages

Photo: exciting garlic seed packages

“The great thing about working from home is that I can eat as much garlic as I like and not have to worry that I reek.”
Danny was savouring some chunky garlic cloves in a baked vegetable dish.
“As long as you eat some garlic too,” he added as an after thought.

I will never make the mistake again of not eating garlic when Danny is devouring it. The two days in non garlic purda were very long indeed and strenuous as I had to breath through my mouth.

We eat a lot of garlic. In fact our consumption has rocketed over the last two years so much so that we have nearly eaten all the garlic that I harvested in early July – over twenty heads.

So I decided to invest in much more garlic to plant in November. I spotted that The Garlic Farm were selling The Garlic Lovers Collection  online for £25.00. Now I know that it sounds a lot to invest in just garlic but as the collection comprises 9 different varieties with “the potential to grow in excess of 100 plants”. In fact rather than the 10 heads and 2 elephant garlic cloves offered, I received an extra head to my joy.

Good home grown garlic tastes divine. Fresh garlic is a real treat – so expensive in the shops. And I’ve never seen elephant garlic for sale anywhere – apart from The Garlic Farm stall at Borough Market in London. In fact, if all goes well, this garlic collection will have a market value of around £80 – £90. An excellent return on our investment.

The Garlic Lovers Collection arrived this morning and the kitchen smalls deliciously garlicky. It came complete with excellent instructions for planting, harvesting and drying the garlic. Some heads will be ready by May next year. I didn’t know the perfect harvesting time for each variety and always have dug up all my heads in July.

One thing that everyone agrees on is that October – November is the best time to plant garlic as it loves to be frosted over winter and a deep freeze will produce much bigger bulbs than garlic planted in the spring. I’m going to try putting some in cloves in chunky pots this year – outside to get deeply frosted until spring then I’ll move them into the Solar Tunnel for a n even earlier harvest.

Next year we will be able to compare and contrast the different varieties and hopefully have enough heads to be able to dry and plant some of our own home grown garlic. Somehow with Danny at the helm of the garlic lover’s boat, I doubt that he will allow any of the precious cloves to be replanted.

There are some good collections being offered by Dobies and Suttons – 8 bulbs of 4 good varieties on special offer for £13.40.
I’ve just noticed that Thompson and Morgan are offering a collection of 10 varieties and five elephant garlic cloves for just £19.99. And their postage is cheaper too.  Sob!

I must admit that I can’t fault The Garlic Farm collection – the heads look perfect, beautifully packaged in good old fashioned brown paper bags, with clear care instructions and even a few recipes thrown in. Can’t wait till next summer and gently lifting the first heads in May.


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7 Comments

  1. The Garlic Farm sell wonderful garlic and last year I had bulbs that were more numerous and bigger than anyone else at work because I grew the Solent Wight, which is sold by the Garlic Farm for British weather. I know other people sell it but I bought mine at the farm and they looked beautiful. Definitely worth the price. An Italian friend went absolutely nuts over the taste of the green garlic I offered him!

  2. Campervan Man

    Our pack arrived yesterday and it’s amazing. Particularly looking forward to the Elephant Garlic! The plan is to see what grows/tastes best and save some of those bulbs and plant them out next year…what do you think?

  3. The other great thing about planting your own garlic is that you can eat the greens and flowers as they grow. (In fact, it’s preferable to pluck the flowers before they open so that more energy can go into making the bulb bigger.) I find these garlic greens to be such a treat.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Chai Chai

    I nipped over to your blog and saw that you have snow! Perfect for starting off garlic!

    Hi Campervan Man

    I’m delighted with my pack. I usually buy garlic seed from the garlic farm at Hampton Court Flower Show but couldn’t make the show this year. Their garlic seed is always successful.

    Hello TW

    It’s not really advisable to plant supermarket garlic although organic is probably fine. The point is that I don’t want to grow the type of garlic available in the supermarket – I want to grow a range of varieties. The Garlic Farm seed garlic has always grown well for me – good chunky heads that would certainly be worth more than 33p each if they were available to buy.

    Incidentally, I bought two elephant garlic cloves (Suttons)for £2.99 – TGF is selling 12 for £10, which looks like a bargain to me!

  5. I’m not sure I follow your “profit” calculation.

    Ocardo will sell you 3 heads of “organic” garlic for 99p = 33p a head. IF you get the 100 plants promised by The Garlic Farm you get 100 heads = £33 so you are ahead of the game, but not by much.

    I had a look at the Garlic Farm website: they will sell you 3 heads of garlic (Early Purple Wight for example) (as “seed”) for £8 which I have to say I think is pretty steep. The collection is a bit better value, but not by much.

  6. Campervan Man

    Went out looking around the local garden centres yesterday but couldn’t find anything for some late planting. This sounded so good that I couldn’t resist buying a pack! Told my other half and, small world, she’s actually been to the farm!

  7. Chai Chai

    OMG, We love garlic here as well. The idea that it grows well once frosted/frozen in the winter is a plus here for us.

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