Thursday, 28 July 2016
Not a good year for the onion family in the garden. Various impediments meant everything was planted much too late and alliums do love their spring growth. This is onion Rose de Roscoff although probably I shouldn't call it that, since we're in Normandy and there is now an Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée on the type. It's probably one of the biggest we have despite being started from a set. Most of the others are going to be more at home in a pickles jar. I dream of the day when I'll have those 300 good sized onions that I calculate we get through in an average year, and then some for the condiments.
The elephant garlic did get an early start and seems to have done well enough, although the plants have taken rust now. I'm never sure whether it will help to remove the flower heads or not, but the insects love them so they're usually left. The leftover leeks are also flowering at the moment and it makes a lovely lilac show amongst the weeds.
The true garlic was in a sorry state when it went in March. The bought in seed garlic was practically dust and the last saved bulb of garlic bought on the market last summer nearly as soggy. As a result there's barely anything to harvest but a few of the market sourced cloves have formed roundels - undivided bulbs - which can be used. If I was desperate to retain garlic I'd grow them on again next year for bulbs with cloves but it's probably easier just to buy some new seed garlic this autumn. The end times haven't got so close yet.
The Babington leeks are in a patch which is achieving a renewed state of nature. Considering the competition from thistles, nettles and grass they're doing o.k. but I should rescue them and replant in a clean bed before the summer is out. The heads of bulbils are still green and tender. They make wonderful flavouring for all sorts of seasoned vinegars and dressings at this stage and are just right to add to jars of fermented pickles as they develop. Take them young or they form a hard skin that is impossible to remove and nasty to eat and keep at least one head to renew your stock with for next year.
The pot of shame. This is the very last walking onion. I thought I'd lost the lot but found this final specimen in a box of discarded compost on its way to the heap. Carefully nurtured it should be possible to turn its fortunes around. I hope that I don't forget it again. The little plant in the pot is an Erysimum cutting that I must have slipped in there at some moment when I'd broken a shoot and didn't know what to do with it. Serendipity is everything in the garden.