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.