Wednesday 30 July 2008

Allium Harvest


It's the time of year to lift the onions, garlic and shallots. These onions were the first to mature, grown from some inadvertently created sets when I started seed in the spring of last year and failed to plant out the resulting seedlings. They stayed in their modules for a year, baked in the sun of the greenhouse and were finally planted out this year. They've put on good sizes but the first one I tried had a brown skin halfway through the bulb. Experience shows that onions like that rarely store well.

The rest of the onions, started from French sets at the usual time are nearly as big and will be coming out to dry in a week or so, but the red onions, started from seed this year are pretty insignificant. A couple of jars of pickles perhaps.


The early planted garlic; left just a week or two too late and the sheaths are rotted and blackened. The garlic is fine though and the bulbs (and the cloves in them) good sized. The late planted garlic is much smaller as well as being riddled with rust. The early crop came from culinary garlic originating in Spain, the late crop from proper 'seed' garlic from the garden centre. If the difference in size due to growing periods is disregarded I think I know which method to choose next year. The Spanish actually seems much healthier.


The shallots also came from the same garden centre. To be fair they were almost too late to be planted so any crop at all is surprising but it must be said they are a bit weedy. Normally I would save the biggest bulbs for planting next year but none of these seem worth it.

Also, the chives are putting on a second spurt of growth after I rescued them from the mint and the Babington leeks are making their usual bulbfilled flower heads with abandon. I really need a bunch of leek seedlings from the market but may not be able to persuade myself to make the trip to town in time. Those deer are overfed as it is.

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