Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wildings

" I fear that he who walks over these fields a century hence will not know the pleasure of knocking off wild apples. Ah, poor man, there are many pleasures which he will not know."
H.D.Thoreau 'Wild Apples' 1862

Last Saturday I finally got the garlic set out which I got in a trade with Patrick @ Bifurcated Carrots - 'Red Toch' And 'Metechi'. Hopefully I wasn't too late getting them in? I'm planting out the three apples that I grafted back in the spring this weekend. They (2 William Crump and one nameless neighbour) have all grown away quite well I think.
My current project is to grow some from pips. They won't come true of course, the chance seedlings which spring from discarded cores may turn into anything, possibly with echoes from ancient ancestors. In each seed there are lost varieties and potential new ones. Which is what makes me so curious. The 'Reinette de Canada' is thought to be the ancestor of the 'Ribston Pippin'. 'Granny Smith' apparently grew on the compost heap of an Australian woman and 'Keswick Codlin' was found in the garden rubbish at Ulverston Castle. The varieties with words such as seedling or pippin as part of the name have occurred just so.
Well my plan is to grow the pips pictured below and in a few years hence I will plant them in some out of the way locations as I don't have the property to start an orchard. Guerrilla gardening . Once they're fruiting in about 5 or 6 years I'll publish a map of their whereabouts so that everyone can enjoy the results.

4 comments:

Patrick said...

You're not too late at all with the garlic. We were just talking about this on Skippy's Garden. If anything, garlic likes to be planted late November or maybe even December, but really it doesn't matter.

I just got mine in a week ago.

MissHathorn said...

Oh, that's good to know. And some straw covering as well then.

Patrick said...

There's a bit of a trick with straw and garlic. If you put on a layer about 15cm thick it does two things. First it kills most of the weeds, and second it insulates the garlic from winter temperature changes and helps it grow larger.

University studies have shown garlic covered with straw develops bulbs about 10% larger than uncovered garlic. I don't know how important 10% really is in a home garden, but it is nicer to have larger bulbs.

Bulb growers in Holland do something similar with a peat moss layer in order to make their flower bulbs grow bigger.

The thickness of the straw is not very important, and besides you're going to notice a big difference in thickness between right after you lay it and after it gets compressed, so 15cm is just a rule of thumb.

15cm may seem like a lot, but the garlic will just grow through it. Sometimes in the early spring (early April), if I think I might have put on too much straw, I take some off. You'll probably notice the garlic coming through it in January or February, but even if not, don't worry it will eventually.

You also don't usually need to worry about the straw blowing away, because it gets very heavy when wet.

Of course it makes your garden look like a manger, and it can be a little expensive, but it does helps a lot...

MissHathorn said...

Cheers for all the info. I can get a whole bale for a fiver at the stable down near the allotment, and I need some anyway for the artichokes.