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Garlic and heirlooms

Last year I planted garlic. Twice. At different times. In different places. Planted in full sun, part sun, shade, full shade. Guess how many sprouted? Not one!

First I read on Alan’s blog that Garlic must be planted in Autumn if you want it to grow successfully. That was my first Garlic Ah ha moment. The second Garlic Ah ha moment came when I read a few weeks ago that the garlic we buy from our local super market is genetically modified to be sterile (so that if you plant it will not grow). That’s quite funny actually. Here I was faithfully planting the finest bulbs from my garlic purchases thinking they would give me wonderful garlic plants. They didn’t stand a chance. Now I know why.

The last time I visited Barbie’s garden I was completely blown away by the size and quality of the vegetables she had growing in her garden here and also here. The tomatoes tasted like real tomatoes, her baby marrows were the size of giant cucumbers and the butternut squash was beautiful and tasted like no squash I buy. Delicious! I wondered a little how she did it and decided it had to be the wonderful full sun she has going on in her veggie beds. Until I stumbled on a sentence in a newspaper article in which Barbie and her garden was featuredHer new venture is to use heirloom seeds. “I’m very interested in buying and swapping seeds. The second-generation plants of the commercial seeds are weak. It really upsets me that seeds are being manipulated like this. It means you can’t collect your seeds from year to year, but have to buy new ones each time.

A bit of scouting around and I came across a South African site that sells Heirloom Seeds*. I spent quite a bit of time on the site and read their story which inspired me to try growing a few more veggies. (Note to self: but more pots for veggie plants). Each vegetable or herb featured on the site is accompanied by useful tips and instructions on when, where and how to sow, etc.

Long story short, I placed a small order with them which arrived and I now eagerly await the weekend so that I can get outside and plant!

Living seeds parcel

[one_half]The seed packetsThe seed packets[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pink Egyptian garlicPink Egyptian garlic[/one_half_last]

[one_half]White Egyptian garlicWhite Egyptian garlic[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Giant GarlicGiant Garlic[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lovely, plump garlic seedLovely, plump garlic seed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Parcel from Living SeedsParcel from Living Seeds[/one_half_last]

I have to commend the guys at Living Seeds. I’ve bought quite a few seeds and gardening things online. Ordering was fast, secure and communication was great. The seeds arrived in the post (it took ten days from Gauteng to Cape Town, but that’s the SA Postal Service for you!). They were beautifully packaged and arrived with more printed info and tips again on how to get the most from my garlic seeds. Best online seed buying experience by far!

The instructions for planting times are pretty clear. The Egyptian garlic should have been planted by the end of March and the Giant or Elephant garlic should be planted out by mid April.

In case you are wondering what’s in the seed packets … I also bought Borage, Red Creole Onions and Echinacea. It says this on all the seed packets: We encourage you this season to become more sustainable. Plant these seeds with the intention of saving some seed for the following season. I like this company, their service and their product. If you are a South African looking for superior quality seed, please try them. **

* Heirloom Seeds (definition courtesy of Heirloom vegetables can be simply defined as any plant that has been handed down from generation to generation. However there is much debate and discussion between various organisations and bodies that try to place limits and stipulations as to what defines an heirloom plant. We believe that any plant that is firstly open pollinated, secondly has a history of private exchange and thirdly has not been subject to a plant breeders rights claim to be worthy of heirloom status. This definition is however not cast in stone and is open to constructive discussion.

** Please note that this is an unsolicited review. Living Seeds are not aware of my intention to blog about this order and I paid for my purchases like any normal customer.

Barbie's garden Do it yourself Gardening Products

Basic organic pesticide

Organic pesticideI have been using this basic organic pesticide in my garden, especially on my lemon tree, and it is working wonders. I know we both hate using these harsh chemical pesticides and with the help of Margret Roberts, I have been successful with this mix.

Take a bucket (I’m not quite there yet with this huge quantity) of basil or any pungent strong herb. Pour 1 to 2 buckets of boiling water over this and leave to draw and cool overnight. Next morning, strain this and add 1/2 cup grated Sunlight Soap (the dishwashing green bar) or Sunlight Soap powder – it is the pureset you can get with no added detergents. Mix well and then splash on plants.

I use a spray container and spray liberally and then rub it gently onto the infected leaves upside and underside of the leaves. You can also pour around plants and down ant holes. Evenings are usually the best time to spray the organic pesticide because all the good bugs (like the bees and the lady bugs) have gone to ‘bed’. Eventhough it is safe, I just take extra precautions.

Try it out – I am sure you will find it safe and effective!

Happy gardening xxxxx