I started this week sprouting the first garlic bulbils of the winter. Of the garlic varieties I grow, Aleksandra, Estonian Red and Valdres are all very similar (I suspect they may be the same) have the perfect size and number of bulbils for sprouting. I counted 90 bulbils on one typical head this evening. They are planted on ordinary garden soil (picture) and covered with a few cm of sterile soil so that seeds in the soil don’t quickly appear. The pot is put in a kitchen window to sprout and the shoots can be harvested two or three times before they give up. Some people remove the scapes (flower stems) of hard neck garlic in summer to get a better yield. I have compared the size of garlic on plants with and without removing the scapes and found little or no difference here. I therefore leave the bulbils to develop on most of my plants. For me it maybe adds maybe 50% to the value of the plants, so more than compensates a small yield decrease! The only ones I remove are harvested for the scapes which are delicious in summer stir-fries.
A nice contrast between the winter’s first shoots on the window sill (sown about 1 week ago) as the storm rages outside :)
These are shoots of bulbils (topsets) of one of my hardneck garlics: either Aleksandra, Estonian Red or Valdres – all produce many medium sized bulbils of perfect size for winter forcing for the shoots which I use mainly with lunch.
This and the edible scapes (flower stems) and good sized garlic cloves make these varieties my favourites. NB! I’ve found in trials that, under my conditions, removing the scapes doesn’t make much impact on the size of the garlic cloves!
Last night (8th March 2017) was the first of two events I had been asked to take part in celebrating the diversity of vegetables that our area has on offer (or could have on offer) even in winter! The Trondheim Kosmorama international film festival are showing two films related to food. Last night, the film “NOMA: My perfect storm” was shown and around 40 people also bought tickets to a fantastic 10-15 course, 4 hour meal (I lost count) at Trondheim’s NOMA: Credo!
I supplied a number of vegetables for the dinner and these are shown here, several being served for the first time in Norway :)
I finally got the garlic planted today after a week of rain and temperatures up to +10C had melted most of the frost in the soil!
Here are the garlic sorted for planting. This year’s varieties : Aleksandra, Estonian Red, Lochiel, Ävrö, Cledor, Thermidrome, Early Purple Wight and Vallelado (the picture shows all the varieties sorted and ready to plant!). I also planted topsets of varieties with large bulbils to bulk them up (planted close together)!
Some had sprouted as I had harvested them too late…it will be interesting to see if they all make it through the winter! I planted deep this year at about 10cm so that can settle in before the next cold spell!
I also sowed parsnip (pastinakk) today!
Every winter for the last 10 years I’ve been sprouting the bulbils of the Scandinavian heirloom garlic Aleksandra. I sow them in soil and cut down about 3 times over a couple of months giving me garlic sprouts most days for my lunch.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden