Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Allium Overdrive

We must be either mad dogs or Englishmen, because it was sweltering in the midday sun on Saturday. Having been frolicking up in Northumberland (of which more in due course) during the first of two weeks off work, the weeds required tackling. As did the autumn-planted onions and garlic, as the first really substantial harvest of the season was undertaken in earnest.

Here's something you don't really think about until you get round to doing it; harvesting decent quantities of veg takes quite a long bloody time. A not-insignificant proportion of our onions and garlic rotted only days out the ground last year, so I took some care getting all these up, keeping the roots and skins intact wherever possible. Those that were in tip-tip condition were either laid out to dry in the shed (see pic at top of post) or on the ground on the plot. Those with blemishes us home and will become either soup or pissaladière in the coming days.

I've read various, often conficiting, advice about curing onions. Lets see which of these methods is more successful. Overall I'm super chuffed with this onion crop, as once upon a time I was sorely tempted to sack them all off and replant their plots as they seemed to be doing nothing at all. Oh me of little faith. And, we've still got the spring-planted ones to come, all of which are swelling up nicely.

Garlic was a bit more of a mixed bag. I'm buggered if I can remember which two varieties we planted, but one certainly did a lot better than the other, forming nice clean bulbs. Our garlic always goes rusty as hell, and quite a few of the bulbs had rotted, perhaps things were just to moist for it in that patch.

Some of the bulbs had done this weird thing of starting a second bulb halfway up the stalk (see above). Don't think I've seen that before.

In non-allium news, the yearly courgette glut is about to kick into gear. Time to scan around for new things to do with courgettes again...

And, in what I'm claiming as an epochal triumph, our first ever home grown carrots have been sampled! We haven't thinned or covered these at all, but the roots are nice and clean with no sign of rootfly attack. Bloody hell they taste good. We grew Yellowstone and some standard orange number. Raised beds appear to be very much the way to go here.

What else? Looks like we'll be getting to sample some artichoke, if only a couple of tiny heads.

Both Moneymaker and Roma tomatoes are starting to kick out a load of fruit. After last year's debacle I'm determined to score a decent (red, not green) crop from these.

I stripped the last of the blackcurrants from our bushes, which need seriously pruning come the autumn, and bumped into this determined looking character. What is it?

After having felt earlier this year that the amount of graft we were putting in was in no way proportionate to the reward, I'm going to make a point of enjoying these next few weeks in which we'll be carting a tonne of thoroughly decent veg off the allotment. Hurrah for the harvest!


  1. Our autumn onions did well too this year and the spring ones are almost ready to lift.

    My garlic bulbs were disappointingly small but I have often had the bulbils in the stem. I've wondered what would happen if I planted them.

    1. This has certainly been the best of our three years so far for onions.


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