With record temperatures recorded in this area at the moment after a mild winter when all the cold spells coincided with good snow cover means that the soil was hardly frozen all winter and garlic shoots had appeared a few days ago at least two weeks earlier than I’ve recorded before and I also found the first ground elder (skvallerkål) shoots – welcome back my friend and, be warned, I will be eating you until the autumn! It’s the marbled purple stripe garlic varieties that I grow that appear first: Aleksandra, Estonian Red, German Hardneck and Valdres!
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.
Continuing my series of veggies harvested from the garden. this time used in a baccalao with parsnip (pastinakk), potato (potet), bulb onions .(kepaløk), Jerusalem artichokes (jordskokk), (bought) organic tomatoes and chili. Greens used from the garden: Urtcia dioica (nettles/brennesle) Aegopodium podograria (ground elder/skvallerkål) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach/stjernemelde) Rumex patientia (patience dock/hagesyre) Taraxacum officinale dandichokes (dandelion /løvetann) Ficaria verna (lesser celandine/vårkål) Allium sativum shoots (garlic/hvitløk)