This is the time that we start to look for garlic bulbs to plant and get them in well before Autumn before the soil freezes and harvested in late spring.

We used to be able to plant the garlic bulbs that we buy in the supermarket but because most of our garlic now comes from China it is irradiated so will not grow when planted.

Buy your bulbs from suppliers like www.livingseeds.co.za or www.soughtafterseedlings.co.za and then you will be sure to get a good healthy crop of garlic. Hadeco sell bulbs in early March.

They can be grown really closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature and can easily be grown in containers of sufficient depth. They make pretty flowers and are wonderful as companion plants amongst roses and other perennials. They grow in a wide range of soil conditions and PH levels but do like a good amount of compost.

There is quite a lot of folklore about garlic and medical information. My own father used to make a sandwich of garlic layered on brown bread before he went into the bush. They would sleep under the stars so needed to be sure he did not pick up a cold and believe, he never had cold. He also had his friends at arms length because the smell of garlic was overbearing.

This is the time of the year when we start to think of harvesting the summers bounty. Be it veggies, fruit and even our ordinary plants. So don’t forget to take some envelopes and go into the garden and start collecting seed. Don’t put seed into plastic as it ferments and they will die. Use paper. Newspaper folded into an envelope, will be fine but remember to label and date the seed. Do this every week or two as the different seed ripen. Seed is best ripened on the plant. I also keep empty glass bottles and fill these with seed.

If you have too much of a particular veg or herb, preserve them for the winter months.

Basil and Rocket – make pesto and freeze in ice trays.

Make tomato sauces and relish with tomatoes.

Preserve all the beans that grow so quickly with a lovely curry, garlic and chillies. Delicious as a cold salad.

Bottle peppers and layer them in bottles with lots of oil.

Also a good time to take cuttings of certain roses, lavender, hydrangea, fuchsia, daisies, geraniums, salvia’s, etc.

Time now to look for SWEET PEA seeds and get ready to plant these.
Recipe to follow next week.

ICELAND POPPIES – they are such a superb sight in spring and really easy to grow from seed. Do not cover the poppy seeds. Just sprinkle over the top of your ‘germination mix’.

PRIMULA – chill the seeds in the bottom of the fridge for about a week which will assist in speedy germination . Really easy to grow from seed and you should get them into seed trays right now.

STOCKS – as your stock plants grow and you would like to have double ones then remove all dark-leaved seedlings. Apparently, “doubleness” is linked to plants with light green leaves and grown in temperatures below 10 degrees. Interesting!!

LARKSPUR – these also need chilling for about a week in the bottom of the fridge. Once you have them in the garden they should continue year after year. Just let them go to seed in ‘situ’ and when you pull them out at the end of the season, shake the seeds off. Mine have come back in the same place for many years.

There is still time to throw in some seeds of Zinnia or Marigolds to fill in the gaps and have a bit of late summer fun. Also sow another batch of Rocket, basil and coriander.

Please be careful of pesticides that are harmful and toxic. Rather look for the “Natural” products that are becoming more available and use them more frequently. I think the use of harmful and toxic chemicals should be abolished.