This is less of a blog post than a simple reminder. There aren’t many pressing jobs in the garden this month – things stay fairly calm until April. Late autumn and winter are a good chance to catch up on pruning, tidying, designing new beds, building log stores etc, all weather permitting, and thinking, planning, and ordering seeds for next year.
However, there are two crops which really should be planted in November for best results – garlic and broad beans. If you’re local, you can buy garlic bulbs for planting from the garlic stall at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. Alternatively you can find garlic at Wilkinsons in town, or Pound Farm Garden Centre on the way to Gloucester at Whaddon (opposite Wynstones School). If you grew good garlic this year, you can re-plant the cloves from your best bulbs. Probably best not to plant normal supermarket garlic as it will have been grown in warmer climates than ours, so may not do so well in the UK.
Aquadulce is the variety of broad beans to plant in November. Some other varieties are for spring planting, so be sure to buy Acquadulce (or another autumn-sowing variety if you find one). Plant the seeds about an inch deep (or deeper, see comments below), in double rows so that the plants help to support each other. Leave about 6 inches between seeds, and the same between the two rows. The next pair of rows should be about 2 feet away from the first pair of rows. A problem with planting broad beans seeds is that they sometimes get eaten by mice before they germinate – so, if you have enough seeds, you might want to sow them a bit closer together to allow for losses, then thin them out. (If they all get eaten, which is unlikely, sow them in pots in the early spring and plant out when the baby plants are about 4 inches tall).
I’m sowing saved broad bean seeds, and a mix of saved garlic and new bulbs of Isle of Wight varieties from the Farmers Market. If you have any trouble getting your garlic and broad beans locally, Tamar Organics is a very efficient small mail order company. I’m always amazed at how quickly they send things out, and their postage charge is very reasonable (£1.60, but free over £20).