Posts Tagged ‘Onions’

Know your onions?

August 11, 2011

I am a very impatient gardener and for weeks now, I’ve been itching to dig up the onions (grown from sets).  And finally, the big day arrived!  I did rather underestimate the volume!  Three large containers later, they were all out of the ground and in the car ready to go back home to allotment central to ‘cure’.

onions curing in the sun

What a lot we got!

Last year, our onions didn’t keep well, which is why we decided to try growing some from seed too.  However, I have since found out that ripening onions in a greenhouse is a bad idea!  It seems they cook rather than cure in the intense heat.  So I’m looking forward to storing my onions without them rotting this time round.

Champion-sized onion

What a whopper!

The onions grown from seed are progressing!  I still wonder if they are worth the effort as we’ve had some corkers from this year’s sets.  But they are still growing and have at least gone past the pickling onion size as previously reported!

Freezing vegetables without blanching

A couple of weeks ago on the blog, I mentioned the potential for freezing veggies without blanching them first.  Two different people had recommended this for runner beans.

As promised, I’ve had a go and here’s the results: the broccoli was ‘interesting’, shall we say.  The flavour was excellent, but it didn’t pass the tenderness test. It was rather like eating broccoli-flavour chewing gum.  So back to the drawing board with that one!  But … the runner beans were quite a success.  They had a good flavour, kept their colour fairly well, and were only slightly chewy, but not enough to put me off freezing them this way.  A result!  The next experiment will be French beans and courgettes … watch this space.

Maris Piper potatoes

Our first Maris Piper potatoes

Confession time

OK … I know I was meant to leave them another couple of weeks, but I’m afraid curiosity got the better of me.  Yes … I dug up a potato plant.  Now I’ve seen what’s going on under the surface, I’m satisfied.  The remaining seven plants are now waiting for a little girl who is very excited about digging up Nanna and Papa’s potatoes.  And there’s only 10 days to go before she can!


Can you help? Growing onions from seeds

April 8, 2011

For the first time I’m going to try growing onions from seeds. Previously, we’ve grown them from sets and they don’t seem to store well.

I’ve been reading up on the subject and found loads of information, but my big question remains unanswered:

How deep should they be planted?

I would be very grateful if an informed allotmenteer, gardener or  grower could advise me please.

I know you plant onion sets with the top showing to prevent ‘thick necks’.  But onions are quite shallow-rooted and I’m worried if I don’t plant them properly, they will wither and die.

If you know the answer, please leave a comment here.  Oh … just to be on the safe side, I’ve planted some sets too …  she of little faith?

8th August – Broad Beans Galore!

August 9, 2009
WORD-right's Broad Beans

WORD-right's Broad Beans

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear – ideal conditions for working on our allotment (William Fowler Allotment Trust, Chipping Norton).  We didn’t rush, it was a Saturday after all, and we finally arrived up at the plot about 9.30.  Much to our surprise, there were only two other people on our section … we had expected it to be ‘rush hour’! 

At last the weeds seem to be slowing down, even the rampant bindweed which seems intent on taking over the entire plot.  I work on the assumption that every time I yank some out … I’m winning the war!  But considering it hadn’t been weeded in a fortnight, it was remarkably under control. 

Ripened onion strings

Ripened onion strings

Saturday’s mission was to strim the paths and edges (David’s department!), while I dug up the remainder of the onions.  Last year, onions had been stolen from some allotments when they’d been left to ripen on the ground.   We decided not to take any chances, and so we take our onions home, where they cure nicely in the plant house. 

Most of Saturday’s efforts focussed on harvesting.  Always a very satisfying job!   We’ve been gradually taking some of our 2nd sowing of broad beans – Bunyard Exhibition – for a few weeks now.  But the remainder were just about all ripe for the picking.  With nearly 5kg in weight, there was a lot of podding and blanching to be done when we got home!  The freezer will soon be groaning under the weight of all our home grown veggies. 

As ever, the perpetual spinach was ready for its weekly ‘haircut’.  We’re picking around 1kg a week at the moment.  As it keeps well and is quite delicious, we don’t mind the glut, which is just as well as we’ve already had more than 6kg since the middle of June! 

Our Cosse Violette, a climbing French bean, is starting to produce a reasonable crop.  The deep purple beans turn green when cooked, which is a great shame – they are the most stunning colour when raw! 

Saturday was a red-letter day as we picked the very first of our runner beans.  We were late planting them and the weather hasn’t been kind, so these are probably a month behind last year’s crop.  Having grown Enorma last year, we opted for a different variety this year and went for Red Flame.  We were disappointed with the Enorma, although the growing conditions were far from ideal in 2008, which might account for it!  It’s early days, but the Red Flame plants are covered in flower and the first beans look beautiful.  We’re trying to work out the yield (and quality) we get from different varieties, and hope this will help us in future seasons. 

Although not on the allotment, time had to be allocated at home to planting.  This seems to be like a full-time occupation!  Because we want to make full use of the allotment, our goal is to grow a continuous supply of fresh vegetables.  This weekend’s planting consisted of spring greens, Durham Early cabbage and some Winter Density lettuce, which should all be ready in March or April.  We planted them in module trays and will transfer them up onto the allotment when they’re large enough to handle … and we can find some space! 

For the first time, we’re also having a go at growing some winter salad leaves: Winter Purslane, Lambs Lettuce, American Land Cress and Endive … to name but a few.  If anyone has any experience of these, I’d be delighted to have a few tips!

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