• Kay

Onion harvest

Updated: Aug 12, 2019


It is a good fine day, and I take the opportunity to dry two loads of washing on the line - I love drying clothes outside, I dislike my tumble dryer and will always avoid using it if possible - I do not have any affinity with machines/gadgets - no microwave, no mobile phone, no dishwasher, and a very underused freezer. I must also remember to bring in the onions whilst they are reasonably dry, before we get more rain.

I decided to only water the poly-tunnel, auriculas, pumpkins and cold frames...I watered the containers later, because the day became quite hot. I finished the back section of the fruit tree border today and it looks so much better. It will also be a lot easier to water now its more clear, if the temperatures go up again. A warm wall to grow against has many advantages, but the biggest disadvantage is that it becomes dry, except with heavy rain.

I spent ages rearranging the Achillea's to try and make them look presentable. It is a bit of a losing battle, they should have had the higher support from the beginning and then they would have grown straight upwards, but now I'm dealing with bent, contorted stems...I am hoping that there is time for the stems to straighten naturally, but this might be asking too much of God and nature! It is a shame because the effect of the alternating colours of yellow (achillea) and purple/lilac (Russian sage/Verbena bon) is beautiful.

Andy came today, and I asked him to weed the Kale bed, which was a fiddly job which he did beautifully. When James and Aideen came outside they did lots of dead heading...Aideen is determined to train James to deadhead all of the plants, so she has a co-worker!...I'm not sure how enthusiastic he is about this job! However, it is a good thing they are doing it, because otherwise flowering will fade, dead heading is practically a full time job on its own! - it is becoming abundantly clear how gardens of this size, employed teams of gardeners in the past. I have always known that as we remove each section of 'weed suppressing' polythene and create more areas of garden, I am creating more work for myself. This is why I aim for 'prolific planting' to suppress/hide weeds and I don't try to achieve a 'manicured' effect - little chance of that!

I then dug up the whole potato/borage bed - the borage was finishing and beginning to look messy. This bed of early potatoes has not produced a bumper harvest, this could be because of the overwhelming 'borage invasion' but to be fair, the early potatoes especially when the weather is dry, do not produce spectacularly. I continue removing big weeds and the dreaded field bind weed from the other potato beds and suddenly remember at about 5:00pm, that I haven't harvested the onions. For the next 3 hours I bring in almost all of the onions, remaining garlic and shallots. I lay them out (grouped in varieties) on the polytunnel bench. It is quite a good harvest, some very big onions lots of medium sized onions and not too many small. The garlic is variable, and still quite small - I need to research how to improve results, the shallots are excellent. The white variety of onion 'Snowball' which started so well, had started to rot in the ground and go to seed - this is very disappointing, because they looked so lovely to begin with - I salvaged what remained of them and used them up in the dinner. Patrick then came outside, and they (Pat and James) put sand on the floor of the mushroom house and constructed a tarpaulin roof to go over the top, to keep out the rain. James and Aideen then carried on fixing organ pipes to the pumpkin patch fence - there are a lot of organ pipes. I used the white onions, the last broad beans, potatoes and courgettes in the chicken pasta dish and I also made some courgette soup. Unfortunately one variety of courgette has a rather tough skin, which I should have peeled off and this means there are annoying chewy bits in the soup!

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