Thursday, January 17

Knowing our onions

This year our onion crop was poor. As you will have seen if you visit Martyn's blog the race is on to use the onions before the rot sets in.

The worst performing onions were the heat treated sets. It wasn't the heat treatment that was at fault - we have grown heat treated sets successfully for years - it was just that these sets are available later than untreated ones and this meant that the sets were planted later so they missed the better growing conditions when the untreated bulbs were planted. 

This posed a dilemma, to order heat treated bulbs and risk another late sowing or risk untreated sets and hope that not too many bulbs bolt. I the end we have opted for untreated.

We have chosen four varieties of sets,Red Karmen (which is suppose to store well) and Rumba (which is suppose to have improved vigour) are  new to us. Then two varieties that we have grown most years namely Sturon and Stuttgart. Both have performed well most year's and also did better than most this year too. We also have a free packet of Bedfordshire Champion seed so we may have a go at raising onions from seed - something we haven't done for a while. 
One lesson from this year was to plant any spare sets closely together in a row as this produces a supply of small onions that have actually kept better than the large ones.
We've chosen two new varieties of shallots for this year - Golden Gourmet (this is claimed to have a high resistance to bolting which affected many of our shallots last year) and Red Sun. The shallots actually did better than the onions last year and we also used them instead of spring onions that seem to grow so slowly. I don't know what has changed but spring onions always were easy to grow until the last few years when they have been very reluctant to perform.
As for leeks we're sticking with old favourites - Giant Winter, Blue Solaise and Lyon 2 Prizetaker. 



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

19 comments:

  1. Hi sue, I had a look at your list of seed suppliers and see you get a lot if yours from Kings, who I must confess I'd never heard of. Is this because they are local to you, or have you had success with their seeds/sets, or some other reason?

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    1. Lee, Kings operate a discount system if you are a member of the NSALG Seeds can cost up to 50% less. Many allotment associations join their scheme which costs £2 per person per year membership. We no longer have an allotment association but about 20 of us have joined as a group membership. A group has to have at least 10 members. They do offer individual membership at £20 a year. So basically we buy lots of seeds from them due to the large discount.

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  2. I have had a similar experience with Spring Onions - they always seem very reluctant to do anything. My shallots last year were quite good: I had "Longor" (a long slim type) from T&M. I never grow any onions because I don't think they represent good VSR. We use huge quantities of onions in our cooking, so we'd have to devote about an acre to them if we were to be self-sufficient!

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    1. Strange, Mark we always used to be able to grow spring onions OK but suddenly things went pear-shaped!

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  3. I'm having a go at growing onions from seed again this year, though I think I'll put a few sets in too.

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    1. Just hoping for better results this year, Jo

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  4. I have red onions & shallots in the ground from an autumn sowing, space restrictions mean I don't plant any other. I do have a few shallots to go in tubs & some pickling onion seeds to try though.

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    1. We often start our onions and shallots in pots and plant them out to give them a bit of a start, Jo

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  5. Hi Sue any tips on growing leeks.? I have not grownn them before but fancy having a go this year

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    1. Hi Debbie - I've written about how we grow leeks here on our website which may be of some help.

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  6. I only have a handful of onions left in store now but have just bought this years sets can't remember the name at the moment.

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    1. It's a race for us, Elaine as to whether they turn soft faster than we use them

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  7. Hope you have better luck with them this year Sue. I am going to try shallots from seed this year, first time. They are so wretchedly expensive in the shops, the thought of growing my own is very appealing, but I can't quite persuade myself to make room for their bigger brothers.

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    1. I think if space was limited we maybe wouldn't grow normal onions, Janet.

      There are other things that you can't buy equivalent quality and taste in shops that would take priority

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  8. Whoa big leeks! I don't think I can grow as big as yours only can dream the size of a pencil ;). Your onions still look very good to me.

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    1. The photos were just after we lifted them, Diana but are now going soft and mouldy - some went very quickly after lifting.

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  9. I'm just impressed with the quantity of crops you produced last year. Thoroughly enjoying your current series of posts as my new 'veggie patch' might be ready for some planting by early summer.

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    1. Looking back generally crop production overall wasn't bad at all Bilbo

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