An onion, or a clove of garlic, a day, helps to keep the doctor away

Garlic, along with onions and chives, belongs to the lily family, as can be seen from its name, Allium sativum.

The health-giving qualities of these, and particularly of garlic, are legendary.

GROWTH: Broad beans sown now will germinate and make some growth before the cold of mid-winter brings them to a stop.

GROWTH: Broad beans sown now will germinate and make some growth before the cold of mid-winter brings them to a stop.

An onion, or a clove of garlic, a day, helps to keep the doctor away.

FAMILY: Garlic, along with onions and chives, belongs to the lily family, as can be seen from its name, allium sativum.

FAMILY: Garlic, along with onions and chives, belongs to the lily family, as can be seen from its name, allium sativum.

Garlic is easy to grow.

It flourishes in a sunny position and in sandy loam.

Plant cloves of it in spring and autumn.

Now is a good time to start planting.

Divide each knob into separate cloves (you can use the garlic you buy at the supermarket).

Plant each one about five centimetres deep, 15 centimetres apart, and firm the soil down.

Keep weeded and water in dry weather.

The long grey-green stalks and spiky leaves shoot up quickly.

The stems will have big heads of pincushion-like flowers.

These can be used as cut flowers.

The bulbs are ready for lifting five to six months after planting when the plant starts withering.

Dig up the bulbs, shake them free of soil, and hang them up like onions.

Fresh fare

Broad beans sown now will germinate and make some growth before the cold of mid-winter brings them to a stop. Then in spring they will take off again and give you fresh fare from the garden when all else has either finished or has not yet matured.

There’s another use you can put broad beans to now. Sow them as a green manure crop.

In spring when they have made lush growth but have not yet flowered, dig them in.

They will enrich a bed marvellously as they rot down.

This is the spot where you should sow your first leafy vegetable crop.

It can be lettuces, silver beet, cabbages or Chinese cabbage.

PLANTING: Plant each knob about 5cm deep, 15cm apart, and firm the soil down. Keep weeded and water in dry weather.

PLANTING: Plant each knob about 5cm deep, 15cm apart, and firm the soil down. Keep weeded and water in dry weather.

Plant them as soon as you like after digging the bean plants in, to take immediate advantage of the rotting down process.

UGLY DUCKLING: You could call the Chinese gooseberry (kiwi fruit) the ugly duckling of the fruit world.

UGLY DUCKLING: You could call the Chinese gooseberry (kiwi fruit) the ugly duckling of the fruit world.

Any vegetable seeds can also be used as a green manure crop.

Use up any leftover seeds from last season.

Dig them in in spring when they have made good lush growth.

Vacant vegetable beds will also benefit now from a sprinkling of dolomite.

Let the weather work it in over winter

Ugly Duckling

You could call the Chinese gooseberry (kiwi fruit) the ugly duckling of the fruit world.

Its outer wrapping missed out on good looks, but it certainly didn’t miss out on flavour. The flesh is pale green, firm, with many small dark seeds.

When it’s handled carefully, it is not easily bruised because the short bristles on the outside act as a buffer.

The best thing about it is that it grows very successfully in Tasmania.

Actinidia, to give it its botanical name, became known as kiwi fruit because of its broad cultivation in New Zealand.

It is a rampant grower, needing plenty of room to expand, but must be trained regularly to prevent vigorous twining runners from doubling back on themselves, resulting in strangling.

A peculiar feature of the Chinese gooseberry is that, besides being deciduous, it drops its leaves before the fruit is harvested in late autumn/early winter.

The vine is not affected by normal winter frosts, but the site must be frost-free in spring to protect developing buds and flowers.

Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants.

They will be labelled when you buy them from the garden centre.

You need only one male plant to six or eight females plants.

The life of a healthy plant can exceed 20 years, and in this time grow very large.

Thorough preparation of the site is essential for best results.