Saturday was too hot for the plot, well for me at least. Spent the afternoon under the shade of an umbrella in the garden with a book and some cool drinks. By about 4pm I decided it was OK to do a bit without imitating a vampire caught in the sunlight.
Way back I salvaged some decking, which is by the shed, some wood and a couple of large wooden gates with weldmesh on them. So one of these has been pressed into service as a drying rack and the shallots were lifted. Despite the rust and a bit of rot, it’s been my best year ever for garlic and the shallots are my best as well. Usually my shallots are so small they hardly seem worth the bother of peeling them but quite a few decent sized ones this year. Really pleased.
How Not to Grow Onions
My onions from seed, however, are a disgrace. It’s my own fault and this is what I did wrong.
- First, I sowed them too late. Onions need to time and unlike many crops that catch up, onions react to the day length so as we’re past the solstice there is nothing to do. They are going to be small.
- Secondly, I started them in 40 to the tray modules rather than 15 to the tray. This has proven to be a very false economy. Didn’t allow enough room for them to hold whilst waiting to plant out.
- Thirdly, I let the weeds grow and shade them for a bit. Onions need light, space, food and water. I didn’t give them the light.
Weeded the asparagus bed. I’m quite pleased to see some of the roots I’d thought were dead have produced fern so maybe next year I’ll be able to have a few spears.
Took down the broad beans from the deep bed. They were on the other half from the shallots so now that bed is cleared.
Sunday was another scorcher, hotter than Saturday in fact so I amazed Val by offering to go into town to the shops. Without a gun at my head or an electric cattle pod to persuade me.
There was an ulterior motive, Therese from plot 1 had mentioned Wilkinsons were selling off some gardening equipment at 50% off. Since the cleared raised bed was going to have cauliflowers, it would need netting. Well, whatever had been reduced had left the building but I noticed some good black netting in 4M x 2M packs, perfect for my 4M long raised bed. Picked up 2 packs and some fripperies like dishcloths.
We left the world of cool air-conditioned shops for home and sorted out a dozen cauliflowers for the plot, along with some tools and nails etc as well as my netting.
Each cauli went in with a sprinkling of lime around the hole and pelleted chicken manure around the plant. Brassicas like a high pH and plenty of nitrogen.
Now much as we like cauliflowers, the pigeons like them more and without netting there would just be skeletons left. By the raised bed I have upright 2x1s so fitted cross-bars above the bed and got the netting out. Now my raised beds are exactly 4M long. That’s the size the wood came in and the exact width of the plot. The netting would not stretch down the length. This gave me a major problem, without netting the crop would be pigeon food and gone by the morning.
Much fiddling around, cutting of bits to fix on the ends and use of various bits of net from the shed has made a really untidy, but I hope effective, pigeon barrier.
A letter is winging its way to Wilkinsons. Edit On rechecking – Mr Wilko’s size was correct and I was having a senior moment. My deep beds are 4.8M long. Thank goodness no letter has been written! I will now blame it on the heat.