Friday, 30 January 2015

Tempus Fig-it, or, my poor confused Brown Turkey fig tree

I brought my very normal Brown Turkey fig tree (because of the usual space problems, I have to grow my fig tree in a pot) in from the garden about three weeks ago thinking that it probably wouldn't survive a frost. So it's been happily sitting in the sunlight coming through the French windows for some time now. But lo, I have confused it! For today when I was walking past it I suddenly noticed a sprinkling of tiny figs all over it! Unseasonal figs in potentia, you might say. There are 16 mini figs at the moment, all of which look slightly ridiculous on the bare branches. The RSPB Butterfly attractor seeds that I sowed last year did their job a little too well and I ended up losing all of my gooseberry, raspberry and fig leaves to caterpillars with seemingly insatiable appetites for leaf. So happily I noticed that it's starting to sprout some leaves too. However, this doesn't change the fact that I now have a fig that's happily fruiting away in January (no doubt down to my balmy 20 degree central heating) and I'm unsure what to do with it. Will it die of shock if I put it outside when the cold snap is over? In summary, hurrah, homegrown figs, but also, argh, I think I broke the fig tree! Help!

PS: Actually I'm going to err on the side of "Hurrah, figs!". I didn't get any last year so I'm very excited!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Planting garlic on the shortest day of the year

Dahlia checking the garlic bulbs pre-planting
Garlic takes a good long time to mature and so traditionally it would be planted on the shortest day to give it enough time to grow big and strong in time for harvest on the longest day of the year. And so it was that on the 21st of December 2014 I managed to find some time to get my bulbs in the ground and so resurrected both my ambition to grow as much of our food as possible and also this blog. 

The clue is in the name of the blog really: I'm addicted to garlic. When I opened the box containing my planting bulbs, my mouth actually started to water at the smell. I ordered ten varieties, and decided to turf out some of the cat grass in the side return raised beds to make space for the garlic.The cat grass grew so fast over the summer that it collapsed on itself and it became ropey and the cats stopped eating it so this year, the raised beds  are going to house my garlic collection instead. 
Garlic cloves ready for planting

I broke the bulbs open to lay out the cloves, ready for planting. I was in a bit of a rush as we were hosting Christmas and Mr Garlic was in the kitchen dealing with both baby Garlic and all of our Christmas admin all on his own. So sadly I didn't have time to label the garlic but rather will have to rely on photos showing where each of the varieties is planted. 

I ran out of space after planting two or three varieties into each raised bed and so as an experiment, I planted one bulb in a normal pot and another into a hanging bag to see if it grows. I very much doubt it'll thrive as I've never heard of hanging garlic but if it does, it could revolutionise garlic growing in tiny urban gardens!