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Did you lose track of the tomato varieties because the ink I used rubbed off of the plastic? I think I need to use paper labels instead, or come up with a better solution... Sorry about that.

Anyway, it should be easy enough to tell which is which after they grow.

Melanie Rimmer

Ooh, that is a lot. Have you got 5 acres of space, or have you just planted only a few of everything? I always think I should do that - plant more variety and less volume, but somehow we always end up with truckloads of runner beans and courgettes instead

John Curtin

Hi Patrick,

The fault is entirely on my part! I'd left paper labels on the windowsill next to the growing trays and these went! But I can see differences between the plants - vigour, stem colour etc.

Hi Mel,
No not five acres!!! Sometimes I wish I had more but I've quite enough to keep me going. For the veg I've two plots of 30 by 30 foot which is ample to feed two of us plus left overs for the freezer. I try for several varieties to keep interest up - but 13 types of garlic is perhaps a bit of overload! I plant farily close together and can get away with this as I've got raised beds and I also interplant with catch crops etc to get as much out of the space. And of course planting climbing varieties of beans for instance means you also make use of vertical space!


Actually garlic can be very intensively grown. Right now I am growing it about 10cm (4in) apart in rows about 25cm (10in) apart. I have about 1500 plants on about 44m2.

This is twice as many plants as I grew last year in half the space. So far it seems to be doing very well.

I also have a special area where I grow spring garlic. I have been harvesting this over the last couple of weeks. Here I plant it about an inch (2.5cm) apart in all directions.

Hopefully, I'll be able to find the space on my plot to grow it in a 3 or 4 year rotation.


I was just doing a little math.

If you have two 30x30 plots, this is about 1800ft2 total.

I grow nearly 100 kinds of garlic on 450ft2, or use about 4.5ft2 per type (about 15 plants).

You're probably only growing about 5 of each kind, because I only sent you one bulb each, so you should probably only be using about 2ft2 per type or about 26ft2.

26ft2 is only about 1.5% of your total space.

I think you might be growing your plants farther apart than necessary, if you think they're taking up too much space.

john curtin

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the math! 30x30 is the gross area including pathways etc so actual growing space will be less.

But your point is well made - over the years I've reduced spaces between onions,potatoes etc and I should do the same with my garlic. I've also taken to broadcast sowing cut and come again lettuce as I'm looking for young leaves and size or heading up is not the goal.

Interesting when you calculate the area devoted to a crop as a percentage of the land available how some seem incredibly productive for a small space.

I'm now down to 11 heads of garlic from last year 10 Red Toch and 1 Polish White although they are starting to resprout but it won't be too long 'til new season garlic is ready.

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