Regarding Allen Grain's appeal for banana shallots (KG March 2006). I recently came across some in the fruit and vegetable section of a Waitrose supermarket in Billericay, Essex, though whether they will run straight to seed will only become apparent this coming season.
I did also find some in a supermarket in Ostend, although it's rather a long way to go for shallots. It would seem that they are available if you hunt around enough, although they are not yet in seed catalogues. P J Hood, Basildon, Essex
I have a Crittall Goodlife greenhouse, but
unfortunately some bolts and all the glass clips missing. Is there a local supplier in Telford in Shropshire or can any readers supply from spares they may have? Bill Ranson, via email
HAS MY GARLIC GONE WEST?
I usually start my garlic in mid-October and get an excellent crop. However, last year in mid-October the ground was bone dry and hard as iron. After October, extreme weather conditions varied from very wet to very cold, meaning that it was early December before I could plant any garlic.
The individual cloves were planted at the usual depth in Rootrainers and the whole tray put in a greenhouse that has a fan heater set to 'frost free'.
They have now been planted for nearly a month with still no signs of life. I am worried that I will get a crop of the quarter to half-inch sized bulbs resulting from a spring planting because there is usually a three-inch high shoot at this time.
Do you agree? If so, is there anything I can do to hasten their growth? I am loath to push the thermostat higher for fear of either rotting off the cloves or affecting everything else in the greenhouse. What is your advice?
David Falcon-Steward, Finchfield, Wolverhampton
Steve says: I reckon you should check the cloves to see if they are still healthy and if so plant them out once the soil conditions allow in March/April. Of course they will be delayed, but if we get a good summer you should still get a reasonable crop. What do other readers think?
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