12 Sept 2011

It's not exactly garlic ...

I've got so much catching up to do, I hardly know where to begin.  I want to write about my successful plan to dry onions outdoors (no space inside), my beautiful cerinthe flowers still pulling in the bees, my bountiful harvests, my Tornado tomatoes that are not quite what I was expecting, winter planting, onion storing, a great tomato sauce with fennel seeds, my Fat Baby Exploding Cucumbers (can't wait!) and so on.  For now, though, I have limited access to my laptop due to my son's A levels so I'm lagging behind and will (hopefully) catch up during the week.

So, this is less of a post and more of a conundrum that has me flummoxed:

To the normal eye, I expect this looks like a pot of tomatoes and two leeks. Yes? Err, no. Well, it may be.  At least the tomatoes are a certainty but the leeks are a real puzzle because they're meant to be garlic.   I've waited and waited for the leaves to turn yellow but, as the onions are all out and bad weather has been forecast, I thought I'd get on with lifting my garlic yesterday and starting to dry it ... and this is what I dug up. Lovely leeks. I swear I planted garlic cloves; I know they're all vaguely related, but this is a stumper - and it's wrecked my experiment.

I had resolved this year to try a garlic test:  One bulb of Scottish porcelain garlic from the supermarket, 7 chunky cloves from garlic grown by me last year and 14 Sicilian Red cloves from T&M all went into one raised bed in neat rows.  I wanted to test various theories about growing supermarket cloves versus grower supplied and also to see how my home-grown would adapt (they're supposed to improve year on year as each successive plant adapts).

And the results of my very non-scientific experiment:  T & M cloves -  none at all grew (could be the weather), my home-grown garlic clove became the smaller spring onion sized leek and the Porcelain Garlic turned into the big leek.  I haven't dug the rest up yet because, frankly, I don't need leeks today.

I would absolutely love to know what everyone else thinks about this! There was a small disturbance in that raised bed about a month after planting (at the time, attributed to a fox/pigeon punch up) but that only accounts for the T&M sicilian garlic going awol - unless we have some very clever gardening wildlife who know how to plant in very orderly rows ... (I'm discounting the gnomes and fairies.)

P.S. The forecast hurricane is not quite happening in North London - yet.  It is a very blustery, but dry, day here though!


  1. You'll have to cook something up with your Gar-leek (haha ;) and let us know how it tastes.

  2. Oo what a mystery, are you sure you're not going senile!

  3. I think that Elaine is being a bit cheeky saying that!
    How strange though but such things do happen from time to time. I offer no explanations except to say that I think that you'll have to retry again next year.
    Flighty xx

  4. I can't shed any light on it, they do look like leeks rather than garlic though.

  5. Elaine I know it was! Flighty xx

  6. Good grief, the only explanation I have to offer is that you fell victim to a very strange piece of gorilla gardening...

  7. Oh how I've chuckled at all these comments!

    Tanya: I love the merging of the two names to "garleek"; I cooked some into a veg casserole and they look, cut and taste just like leeks!

    Elaine: I'm never sure about that! xx

    Flighty: I love Elaine's cheekiness and take it as I'm sure it's meant, in good humour and friendship. My gar-leeks will have to remain a mystery and I'll definitely try again next year! xx

    Jo: You're right, they do look exactly like leeks and they didn't have any scapes either. I think I have to accept that nature stepped in somewhere to change my plans!

    Alex: I think you may be right - in which case, Waitrose are selling elephant garlic under the wrong label!

    Janet: It's interesting that no-one else has experienced this so perhaps you're right! I guess we'll never know!


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