Get gar­lic in.

NZ Gardener - - Grow Your Own -

Get gar­lic and shal­lots in the ground.

Gar­lic and shal­lots tra­di­tion­ally go in on the short­est day (which this year is June 21) al­though any time this month or next is fine. Give gar­lic a spot with rich and free-drain­ing soil, and bury the cloves about 3-5cm deep and 20cm apart. ’Prin­tanor’ is the most com­monly avail­able gar­lic va­ri­ety, but if you are a gar­lic en­thu­si­ast, look out for heir­loom va­ri­eties to try – I rate the gar­licky ’Ajo Rojo’ (also some­times called ’Span­ish Red’). Un­usual gar­lic va­ri­eties can be hard to find – Koanga Institute has a good range but tend to sell out very early – but check out what’s on sale at your lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­ket. Most shal­lots sold in New Zealand are ’French Red’, and heir­loom or un­usual shal­lot va­ri­eties are even harder to source. Shal­lots also need good soil and drainage – they can rot in boggy con­di­tions. Don’t bury them, but plant them half in and half out of the soil with the pointy end up. Space them about 10-15cm apart. Both gar­lic and shal­lots will ben­e­fit from feed­ing over late win­ter and spring, so pile on blood and bone, worm wee, com­post or what­ever other de­li­cious or­ganic mat­ter you have on hand.

Plant a few more cold hardy crops.

Un­less the ground is frozen, you can plant sil­ver­beet, spinach, cauliflowers, cabbages, broc­coli, bok choy, kale and all win­ter let­tuce seedlings. If you think the ground is too cold, plant them in pots in­stead. In colder places, cos­set newly planted seedlings in a cosy cloche at night while they get es­tab­lished, or rig up a tent of frost cloth over a whole row.

Sow more broad beans and peas.

Both will still ger­mi­nate re­li­ably in cold soil al­though don’t sow them if your soil is frozen solid, or so wet they are likely to rot. Be aware that the growth will be slow for weeks, but they will take off like the clap­pers as soon as it warms up. Sow broad beans in a block rather than in rows – I sup­port these tall plants by ty­ing a long piece of twine around a block of them so they hold each other up. And give climb­ing peas some­thing to climb, like a trel­lis or fence. Oth­er­wise they pop up while you are not look­ing and grow into an im­pen­e­tra­ble knot!

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