My fourth post on backyard gardening in Cape Breton!
Previous posts are here:
If you are new to gardening and want to try something pretty much guaranteed to grow, then plant garlic, parsley, and chives. A treat for the cook in your house too! I also think parsley and chives are pretty and use them as border plants.
- There are two main kinds of garlic - hardneck and softneck. I'm not going to go into the differences - easy to find online. I've only ever grown the hardneck variety. The garlic found in most groceries stores comes from China and is the softneck variety. Garlic goes in the ground in late fall and pops up very early the next spring. It grows very tall with a strange curving spike at the top, called a scape, which is also edible. I break the scape off so that the energy of the plant goes to making larger bulbs. If you pick the scape early, it is much like chives and can be cut into salads. If left longer, then it can be a bit tougher and is better cooked the same as garlic bulbs. Leave one or two plants with the scape on. It will eventually straighten out and that's when you know the bulbs are ready to harvest!
- Parsley and chives are planted in the spring and come back each year. If left to flower, they will reseed themselves... little baby parsleys will pop up everywhere :-) Don't worry about these stray parsleys, though ... just pick'em and eat'em! Not much else to say, other than plant as much as you can because once you get used to adding them to your meals, you never want to run out.
I use an old wooden sandbox as a raised bed. This sandbox has no bottom, so it works perfectly. Last year I planted sunflowers in it. When the sunflowers were done (early fall), I pulled them out, topped up the bed with manure and top soil, planted the garlic bulbs and then finished it with a layer of mulch. And the sandbox seats now holds parsley instead of kiddie bums!
I bought Bogatyr Garlic from Vessie's Seeds.
Parsley and chives came from Farmer's Coop.
Photos - taken May 12, 2016.
Converted sandbox, with hardneck garlic and parsley.
Parsley used as border plants around roses and lilies. Each plant will grow significantly, creating a lush green border.
Chives used as border plants - have to plant more soon!