Mowing, Onions, Greenhouse & Cat Fight

Despite the weather forecast we actually had a decent day so gave the repaired lawnmower a workout. Happy to say it’s running very well now and the sharpened blade is cutting like new. The grass is growing like mad with warm weather and enough water so it was a double job. First of all on the highest setting and later, once the sun had dried it out, run over it again on a lower setting.

The grass cuttings were used to mulch the potatoes in the raised beds. I must admit to not really liking raised beds for potato growing, it’s not really possible to earth up and harvesting is more difficult and slower than when they’re in conventional rows. Next year it’s back to normal for me.

I’d hoped to make an early start but it wasn’t to be. I was awakened about 5.00 am by the furious sounds of a cat fight. Pulled on my dressing gown and went outside to find our little blind cat battling with a big feral tomcat who is twice her size. I don’t think she knows that he’s big but she wasn’t doing too well.

He ran off when he saw me but she continued to fight, twisting about and slashing with her claws for another minute in case he was still about. I kept reassuring her and eventually she calmed a little, smelling my finger. So I stroked her but she was so full of adrenaline that she reacted by attacking my hand.

She went back into the house, still yowling, and I followed to run my hand under the tap, apply anti-septic and band-aids. A calming hot chocolate and realised it was now nearly half past six, so back to bed. Except I looked out to see a pair of sheep heading for the herb bed.

Back out to shoo them off and close the gate I’d stupidly left open. Oh the joys and peace and quiet of the countryside! So back to bed at 7.00 am and disbelief when the alarm went off an hour later, followed by my convincing imitation of a zombie.

The onions are bending over naturally now and it won’t be long before they’re up and on the drying frame. Considering I was late planting out sets these are amongst the best onions I’ve grown. I know we’ve had above average weather but I’m convinced it’s the soot and salt trick what done it.

I had an email asking me for help from someone growing onions for a show wanting to know how to get them to swell which I answered only to get another email asking the same question today. So for the benefit of all, here’s my answer.

Onions are sensitive to daylength and once the year has turned at the summer solstice so the days begin growing shorter, you won’t get much growth. If you want large onions you need to sow early, use artificial lighting and heat. There’s a series on show growing onions on the site here: Growing Onions for Show

The greenhouse is continuing to produce well. The tomatoes are ripening nicely, we’ve peppers galore and we’re getting a small cucumber a day from two plants. I’m not growing any chilli peppers this year as we’ve enough dried chilli peppers for 10 years! In hindsight it would have been nice to grow one plant though as fresh peppers are best in some dishes.

The Roma plum tomatoes are producing some flowers now so fingers crossed for a good bottling crop. I think this is one year I could have grown them successfully outdoors but it’s more certain in a greenhouse.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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