Patio Raised Beds

  • Grow at Home - Garlic

    Used in everything from stir fry to Shepherds Pie it is pretty rare to find a household that does not have garlic in their kitchen cupboard. But, despite it being relatively easy to grow, many gardeners do not include it in their planting.

    It is a hard working plant that does more than just give a delicious crop though.  Like most of the onion family, garlic is great for companion planting.  Plant between rows of vegetables especially carrots and its scent will deter pests.  This gives a natural boost to your garden's pest protection.  Also, garlic is pollinated by bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects too so great for encouraging wildlife onto your plot.

    Types of garlic

    There are two main sorts.

    Softneck

    Softneck (Allium sativum var. sativum) is the garlic which most supermarkets stock.  The bulb has a slightly hotter flavour than the Hardnecks, produces more smaller cloves and stores very well. Since the necks are soft, this is the sort you want if you have the time and energy create a garlic plait.  They also sprout relatively quickly so are satisfying to grow for the garlic novice.

    Hardneck

    Hardnecks (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon) are closer to wild garlic, with more complex flavours. These garlics have subtle flavour differences created from the soil and weather patterns in the region where you grow them. The advantage of Hardneck varieties for the cook is that their skins usually slip off easily.  They do not store as long as Softnecks though.  Cure and eat them within 3 to 10 months, depending on the variety.

    Garlic_bulbs_with_flowers

     

    There is some debate about hardiness with some believing that Softneck will grow only in the warmer parts of the UK so if in doubt in the coolest parts of the UK it might be a better to choose Hardneck.  Which you choose is up to you though as there is anecdotal evidence of both thriving in areas of the country where they should be struggling.

    There are many varieties of each sort to choose from depending on the flavour and bulb size you would like to produce.

     

    Planting

    When to Plant

    Garlic needs a long growing season.  The cloves can be planted in late Autumn or early Spring but you will get a bigger crop if you plant in Autumn.

    Garlic_plants_in_bed

    Whatever variety you choose, to grow well, it needs a cold period of at least two months. For Autumn sowing, it is therefore essential to sow from early-October to allow the roots to develop before the cold weather sets in. With this in mind Hardnecks should be planted at the beginning of October but Softnecks can wait until around Christmas time. 

    The  Hardnecks will be slower to show themselves so even with this planting timetable you may see the Softnecks appear first.

    Where to plant

    We recommend growing garlic in a rotation system with carrots, onions, leeks, and other root vegetables.  A classic rotation is tomato family, broccoli family, onion family including your garlic.  But as a companion plant we find it makes a great space filler between carrots, sweet peppers, spinach, lettuce and parsnips, roses and other flowers too.

    How to plantrows_of_garlic_growing

    Garlic is rarely planted from seed with the cloves used instead.  These are readily available from seed companies and garden centres but you can use pretty much any garlic cloves hanging around your kitchen ... just gently break apart the bulb and each clove will produce it's own plant

    It can be planted directly into the soil but if you suffer from pests such as birds ripping out your young plants then sowing into Rootrainers first may help your plants survive.  See our recent Overwintering Onions Blog for the full story.

    Plant in fertile, well-drained soil. A Raised Bed works very well. Remove stones from the top 6 inches of soil. Work several inches of compost or well-rotted manure into the bed, along with your fertiliser of choice.

    Planting
    1. Break up the bulbs no longer than 24 hours before you plant them.  Be careful not to bruise or damage them.
    2. Sow the individual cloves 10 cm below the surface, root down (pointy end up) around 4 inches apart to give the bulb room to grow.
    3. Hardneck garlic loves to flower.  Cut off the stem close to the base of the bulb once the flower stem starts to coil.  This will concentrate the plants' energy into the crop beneath increasing the size of the bulb.
    4. Once the leaves go yellow/brown stop watering the plants.  Harvest 2 to 3 weeks later (June onwards)
    5. Try to harvest when the weather is dry.  Loosen beneath it with a fork to prevent bruising the bulb then pull up like a weed.  Leave the plants on the surface of the soil to dry in the sun for a few hours.  Move to somewhere warm and dry, to cure for 3 weeks.
    6. Thoroughly dry the bulbs then store them in a cool, ventilated place away from sun.

    Eating Garlic

    Garlic is unbelievably good for you.  It can lower blood pressure, fat and cholesterol levels.  It can also combat bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

    There are lots of opportunities for the gardener growing their own garlic to plant a few extra and leave it to flower or to experiment with young garlic, picked before it has matured.

    As well as eating the bulb the leaves and flowers are also edible.  They have a milder flavor than the bulbs, and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. You may see "green garlic" in the shops.  This is immature plant that has been pulled rather like a scallion.
    When green garlic has grown past the "scallion" stage, but not fully matured, it may produce a garlic "round", a bulb not separated into cloves like a mature bulb. This imparts a garlic flavor and aroma in food, minus the spiciness of the mature bulb.

  • Haxnicks Releases New Range of Patio Planters

    It's still freezing outside, and Spring seems a thousand miles away, but it's time to get growing - and we would like to get some opinions from you our customers.

    This season Haxnicks has several new additions to its hugely popular Patio Planter range. There are now available from Garden Centres up and down the country and of course as usual on our website.  But we want to know what you think, we want to hear from you.

    Most Patio Planters come in a range of attractive rustic shades, and we are trying to brighten up the range when they are sitting outside the back door. But what colours do you like, should we try using patterns.  Do you have a favourite?

    Vegetable Patio Planters from HaxnicksRaised Bed Patio Planters
    We making 3 Raised Bed planters - a full sized Patio Raised Bed, one special half-sized Balcony Raised Bed, and a quarter-sized Space Saver Raised Bed.

    No matter what space you have available to you, we are trying to ensure as many of our customers as possible can get their green fingers working!

    But are we missing a size? Is the depth right? Are they strong enough (they should be!)?

    Patio Planters from HaxnicksCane Support Patio Planters
    We also thought it might be fun to get some upwardly mobile growing going on on your patios, so we have introduce a Three Cane Patio Planter and a Six Cane Patio Planter, for all the peas, beans and tomatoes you could want.

    The Patio Planters have pockets in built that you can slot the canes into, giving a strong and easy to assemble feel to the product.  But we would love to hear from you our customers. Are these flexible enough? can you grow all the plants you want to? is it strong enough?

    Haxnicks' Patio PlantersCarrot Patio Planter
    Finally, we thought the carrot deserved some recognition - So here is a carrot-coloured planter, with sufficient depth to grow your own delicious carrots.

    It is a generous 11" (30cm) deep which should be enough space for downward growth, we've tested, we experimented, but now we want your opinion? Deep enough, wrong colour? Please let us know.

    However tight you may be on space, there's now a way to grow a huge range of vegetables with minimum difficulty - and the patio will look great too. Please view the whole range of Haxnicks Patio Planters.

    Happy Planting!

  • Growing Carrots And Parsnips

    Haxnicks' Vigoroot Pots Full Of Life
    Carrots and parsnips are sown directly into the garden but they can be sown in our Patio Planter range and then they can be either left outside the Kitchen door or on a Balcony for easy access or transplanted when they reach a suitable size.

    Both Carrots and Parsnips are crops that can be grown all year round (as is the leek) and will grow in all conditions except extreme heat. A crop rotation system with leeks, onions, garlic and other root crops is very recommended if you have the space to spare. (However with Patio Planter this is not necessary)

    If you do plant out it is a good idea to intersperse the rows of carrots with rows of onions or garlic as the smell will keep pests away from the carrots.

    Once the seedlings are about 2” tall they should be thinned out to about 1” apart and when 6” tall to 2” apart. At this stage excessive or overwatering should be avoided as it will tend to crack the roots.

    Remember if you still have carrots and parsnips in the ground by mid-November they should be lifted before the heavy frosts and they can be stored in a cool place for up to 5 months.

3 Item(s)