Sunday, 17 February 2019

Knowing your onions

No dig beds - covered to stop the birds unseating the early sown sets.

A couple of happy hours at the allotment on Saturday mean that we now have all our onion and garlic planted up ready for harvesting in the late summer and early autumn. I say we - I broke up the garlic cloves and wrote out the bed labels whilst J did the rest, of course! This week our Red Baron and Sturon onions went in the ground alongside the Shenshyu Yellow sets sown back in October/November. We've also got some of both varieties left over and will sow those in modules here ready to fill in any gaps that emerge over the next few months. The Garlic bulbs are Vigour which is a new one to us and acquired through the Transition Loughborough Potato Day order last month. They are supposed to be happy planted later in the growing year than other varieties but we still hope to get sufficient cold to cause the bulbs to split into decent sized cloves when we harvest in July. Our autumn sown ones have a head start on this in theory but there aren't that many showing in the beds at the moment. We're just hoping that whatever ate them last year can't find the new bed! We still have to find a bit of space for the leeks to go out in late Summer but other than that we now have all our allium beds full - let's just hope the gods, voles, pests and weather are kind to us in the months to come!

The garden compost bins finally reached capacity at the weekend and due to the cold weather aren't processing the waste as quickly as they will later in the year so J emptied out several bags of half-done compost and used them to fill up a bean trench at the allotment - the waste will decompose over the next couple of months and then provide some much-needed warmth to give the climbing beans a good start in May. It also means I now have some room for kitchen waste and the early year tidy up of the strawberry pots that is now due.

privet prunings make a base
then the part done compost
then a layer of soil & a bean bed is ready

I may not have been doing much in the way of work but I did have a chance to check on the transplanted cornflower and spinach beet and admire the catkins and wildflowers that are gracing the plot right now. The early flowers are incredibly important to the bumble bees and other insects that start flying now and we leave them alone as much as we can - only clearing those that are in active beds to give the critters as much of a chance of survival as possible.

Spinach beet and self-sown but transplanted cornflowers
Glorious golden catkins
sparkling speedwell

red dead-nettle

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