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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011 THE VANCOUVER COURIER

garden

Best time to plant is in October

Garlic ‘seeds’ really tiny bulbs

Q: My mother, who lives in Saskatoon, grew some purple garlic and the end of the stem had a mass of seeds. At least, that’s what I think they are. Can I plant these seeds, and if so when and where?

thick rigid stem that stands straight up. The other has a smaller bud and a thinner stem. Any thoughts?

A: Garlic doesn’t make true seeds. Instead, it makes a head of tiny bulbs at the end of each stem. These are called bulbils. They can be planted, but in my garden it was two years before I could harvest garlic clusters from them. I planted them in October and the following August each bulbil had produced one bulb that looked like a small onion. They tasted like normal garlic cloves. I stored some in my cool, dry basement and planted them again in October. The following August I found they had grown into normal garlic clusters that could be split into cloves and planted to continue the cycle. In B.C., garlic gets a really good start from October planting because it can make roots all winter. But if

The World In A Garden and FarmFolk CityFolk present

PLAN A PLAN

annemarrison garlic is planted in spring, the resulting clusters are often smaller than those of fall-planted garlic. It’s possible that bulbils planted in spring might need three years of growing before producing normal garlic clusters. Garlic’s favourite conditions are a sunny spot and rich soil.

Q: I have been trying to figure out which varieties of Oriental poppy I have in my yard. Based on some old tags I found, I believe one is Turkenlouis and the other Pizzicato. But I don’t know which is which. One has a larger bud before flowering and a very

A: Pizzicato is described by sellers as being semidwarf and having a very strong stem. So that’s probably a positive ID. Turkenlouis is a poppy with a fringed edge to the petals. So if your other poppy is fringed, that will be Turkenlouis. But it’s easy for old tags to migrate. If the smaller, thinnerstemmed poppy doesn’t have a fringe, it may be some other kind of poppy you bought or even a seedling. Often people let Oriental poppy heads dry on the plant, hoping to use them for dried flower arrangements in winter. If you’re just a little late in gathering them, you can get quite a few seedlings next spring. The smaller bud and thinner stem may indicate a very young plant. Send your garden questions to amarrison@shaw.ca.

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Vancouver Courier November 4 2011  
Vancouver Courier November 4 2011  

Vancouver Courier November 4 2011

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